Manziel gets the nod for Sunday: Make or Break time

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Photo credit: Erik Drost

Johnny Manziel will get his first start of the season after Cleveland’s starter Josh McCown was ruled out of the game this week with a concussion. Manziel enters the match up Sunday with 182 passing yards on the season. He also has 1 touchdown pass and one interception. His play hasn’t been outstanding but he does look noticeably better than he did last year during this time. Now being the starter and being in the game the whole time we should get a true assessment of what Manziel can do at the helm for the Browns. While it seems like many people are rooting against the second year pro. It should be noted that when playing at an optimal level Manziel could be an effective player for the Browns offense. Manziel has clearly made a commitment to becoming a stronger person at least mentally. His rehab stint was a step in the right direction as far as getting his personal life together off the field goes. Maybe that calmer lifestyle will allow Manziel to be more poised Sunday. We should definitely keep an eye on how well he commands the offense and how well he does with the leadership side of things. Those intangibles seem to be the thing holding him back the most in his progression. Last year a few players stated that “Manziel could barely call the plays in the huddle.” Something that is ridiculous when you think about how important Manziel is to that team. This year though he has actually won over a lot of his teammates in training camp and has even received praise from Joe Thomas. Who stated Manziel has “made a lot of progress.” Now it’s up to the second year player to go out and prove his worth. He will be going head to head against rookie stand out Marcus Mariota who is already proving his worth to the Titans. Adding a little more pressure to Manziel, it’s certainly make or break time for Johnny Football.

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Chiefs miss huge opportunity to elevate themselves:

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Photo credit: Jason Craven

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Kansas City Chiefs found themselves in a great position to beat the Denver Broncos last night in Thursday night football action. Only to squander that lead late on a fumble by Jamaal Charles, which led to a Broncos scoop and score. The Andy Reid era in Kansas City seems to be a promising one. The Chiefs were on the cusp of dethroning the Broncos from atop of the AFC West standing. Now the Chiefs instead find themselves sitting in third place with a 1-1 record. The win would of been a huge step forward for the Chiefs, but still you have to admit that the Chiefs are heading in the right direction. A couple plays here or there and they are the leader of the that division. Which is a huge testament of the moves the Chiefs front office have made. Manning would praise the Chiefs’ defense after the game stating that “There defense is much better than last year.” The improved stoutness of the defense is a result of retaining their star player in Justin Houston. Houston was able to record 22 sacks last year for the Chiefs, and is one of the marquee defensive players in the league. The other factor in improving this defense was another year of being Andy Reid’s system. His approach to the game on offense, defense, and special teams are what have this team back on the right track. While this is a set back along the way, there are many things they can take away from this and try to improve on. A couple tweaks here and there and good things could be coming for this franchise. It’s good to see the Chiefs back having some good things going for them. It all starts with Andy Reid and his approach.

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Peyton Manning comes up big against Chiefs with game on the line:

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Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall

Peyton Manning had a historic night in the Thursday night match up which pitted the Kansas City Chiefs vs the Denver Broncos. Manning hit a career mile stone of 70,000 yards passing a feat that only the great Brett Favre was able to achieve. While that was a great thing to accomplish in the third quarter in the game itself the Broncos were trailing the Chiefs. It looked like Andy Reid and company were going to shock the world and go 2-0 on the season to start. That is when Peyton Manning had to put on the cape and pull out some heroics. Manning executed phenomenally on a drive late in the fourth quarter which gave the Broncos a chance to stay alive. On that drive Manning was able to hook up with Demaryius Thomas on 3 different receptions. All of which were around 20 yards per catch. Those big plays by Thomas allowed the Broncos to move into striking position. Four plays later Manning was able to hit Emmanuel Sanders on a 19 yard post route for a Broncos touchdown. It looked like overtime was imminent but the Chiefs still had a little time on the clock. That is when Jamaal Charles was stripped by Brandon Marshal. And cornerback Bradley Roby was able to return that fumble for a Broncos touchdown with only 27 seconds left in the game. Eventually the Broncos would go on to beat the Chiefs and Peyton Manning would go on to earn a 14-1 record against Kansas City. The comeback was one of better ones in pro football and it was really the result of Charles’ slip up. You have to be conscious of ball security late in the game and deep in your own end. The Chiefs had a chance at this game but give Manning credit for helping this team hang around. His effort played a huge roll in this win.

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Let it fly Ryan Mallett

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Photo credit: Brian Clark

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Houston Texans finally made the right move going with Ryan Mallett as their starting quarterback. Mallett who is in his fifth year of pro football action was beat out for the starting job by Brian Hoyer. The situation was documented on the show Hard Knocks and it was clear in Mallet’s reaction that he wasn’t happy about coach O’Brien’s decision. Mallett even would miss the next day of practice after Hoyer was announced the starter making us feel like a complete meltdown was on the horizon for Mallett. Well it’s funny how fast things can change. Mallett since then has played well in his limited role and actually has been promoted to the starting quarterback job. Coach O’Brien stated that “Mallet provided a spark for the offense” when he got a chance to play. It became unavoidable for coach O’Brien not to admit that Mallett was the better option for the Texans offense. With the team already falling to 0-1 on the season there was little time for this team to wait for Hoyer to come around for this offense. While Hoyer is a good player, Mallet’s physical tools are a better fit for NFL success as a quarterback. Mallett is 6’6 and that allows him to see over NFL offensive lineman better than Hoyer can. His release is also from a higher point which allows less balls to get batted down, and it easier for him to make throws across the middle. While Hoyer has some better characteristics as far as leadership goes. The more talented of the two players was always Mallett. It’s good to see the right guy finally win the job. This is a league where the guy who wins more for his team should get the job. At the end of the day that guy is Ryan Mallett for the Houston Texans.

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Are the Colts legitimate Super Bowl contenders?

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Photo credit: Angie Six

Author: Joey Carr

Going into this season, many experts made their picks for who would make it to Santa Clara in February. The NFC is a toss up for most people; the Seahawks and Packers are the most popular picks, with the Cowboys and Eagles appearing sometimes, but the AFC is a different story. Prior to the season, the Indianapolis Colts were by the far the most picked team in the AFC to make it to the Super Bowl. With Andrew Luck only improving and the additions of Frank Gore and Andre Johnson, the Colts seemed like the team to beat coming out of the gate. However, after an extremely rough start to the season that has them 0-1, do the Colts have what it takes to make it all the way?

First off, the first week of the year is not by any means indicative of how the rest of the season will go. Look at the Patriots last year: starting off 2-2 with one of the worst offenses in the league didn’t look like a trip to Arizona was in the cards. But they turned it around and became Super Bowl champs a few months later. The same thing could happen to Indy this year, but for now, they should be concerned with just winning the AFC South rather than the game in Santa Clara. If their performance against the Bills on Sunday is at all telling of how their season will go, they’re in serious danger of being knocked off their throne. Andrew Luck simply didn’t look like himself against Buffalo, but maybe that dominant Bills pass rush led by Mario Williams had something to do with it. Either way, Indy will have to shore up that offensive line if they’re going to have any chance of keeping Luck on his feet long enough to make an accurate throw. Another issue going forward for the Colts will be their run game, which was pretty much nonexistent on Sunday. The offseason addition of Frank Gore was supposed to take the Colts offense to a new level, something that Trent Richardson failed to do in the previous years after being acquired from Cleveland. But alas, Gore looked slow and powerless against the Buffalo D, along with the rest of the offense. And if the loss wasn’t bad enough already, Indy will be without their star receiver T.Y. Hilton for at least a game or two, which will cause Luck to rely more on the aging Andre Johnson and second year man Donte Moncrief, a strategy that didn’t work out very well in the opener as they only managed 14 points. The defense will also need to be fixed if the Colts want any shot at taking the AFC Champion title away from New England. Some major holes on defense were exposed Sunday when Tyrod Taylor used his arm and legs to pick apart the Colts secondary. Also, the defensive line had a hard time stopping a semi-banged up LeSean McCoy, picking up right where they left off when they allowed LeGarrette Blount to run all over them in last year’s AFC Championship game against the Patriots.

As said above, Week 1 is not indicative of how the season will go for a team. We’ve seen teams time and time again start out slow and finish strong, which is what counts come January. But those teams made major adjustments to their gameplan and roster, something Chuck Pagano, head coach of Indianapolis, isn’t quite known for. So, if the Colts can overcome their week 1 loss and patch the holes that need to patched, we should see this team back in the top 3 of the AFC come playoff time.

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