Odell Beckham Jr: The level of the bar has been raised

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Photo credit: A.P photo

With all the off the field hype that is surrounding Odell Beckham Jr. right now, he has reached that level where he is almost adding pressure to himself on the field. This is where the true test of how great of a player Beckham truly is will happen. Many times pro athletes create a level of excitement in the media and news that they can’t keep up with in their professional line of work. It’s that defining moment where an athlete turns into a diamond or just another rock at the quarry. If they can handle all the pressure of being a star athlete and the whirlwind of distractions that come with the role. Then that athlete is truly deserving of that reputation they earned, and they live up to the expectations. This is where Odell Beckham finds himself. After contributing a 1,3000 yard receiving season and 12 touchdown receptions the second year New York Giants receiver should be aiming to smash last years production. However many times an athlete will actually regress after an up year because of the psychology of the athlete. When things are going well for an athlete they typically receive more praise and because of that they’re less determined when it comes to developing their craft. It’s the same reason why you see Super Bowl teams have that Super Bowl hangover and not even make the playoffs the following year. You get too caught up in the spoils of victory and sooner or later it becomes a weakness. The commercials, the endorsement deals, and all the web articles let you know Odell is everywhere you turn your head right now. He knows he is all over the media headlines and all over the cover stories going on outside of football. It’s up to Odell to prove that he can back up all that hype again, and prove all over again that is indeed a marquee player. Beckham was able to show he can do that in high school, college, and at the pro level. The question is can he do it consistently do it at the pro level. We’ll find out in the regular season.

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Brady starts off slow before bouncing back in Patriots 3rd preseason game:

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Photo credit: Keith Allison

Tom Brady started off slow in the preseason game the Patriots had last night against the Carolina Panthers. He had two interceptions in the first quarter of action and was looking shaky out of the gate. You have to wonder if all the off the field distractions from “deflategate” are starting to get to the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Randy Moss said it best when he said “Tom is human” just like everyone else. With the NFL forming a witch hunt and smear campaign against Brady anyone would be feeling the pressure a little bit. Yet Tom Brady was able to block out the two interceptions he had early and the distractions of Roger Goodell and the NFL. Finishing his limited action off with a touchdown pass to Scott Chandler. More importantly showing that he can still persevere through the adversity, just like he could in his younger years. Like many other aging quarterbacks in the league Brady must constantly go out and show he can still play at a high level. This is a league where you are only as good as the success you’ve had recently and while Garoppolo won’t take Brady’s spot. He still needs to maintain a high level of play not only for his personal legacy, but also for the Patriots future success. With his suspension looming over the team Brady will also have to stay sharp away from the team. While some players might regress missing action Brady likely will be on a mission to overcome this challenge. The guy has been a winner his whole life and is a world class competitor. After having his personal life sabotaged and picked apart by the media all off-season. Brady is going to do his best to get his revenge. The only downside is that revenge might night even be possible until week 5.

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Stafford looks like he’s in mid-season form:

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Photo credit: Mike Morbeck

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has looked phenomenal in preseason action this year never finishing a game under a 100 quarterback passer rating. The seventh year player out of the University of Georgia is looking like a polished veteran at this point of his career. His throws are impeccable and he has one of the strongest if not the strongest arm in the entire league. At this point of the preseason Stafford has completed 19 out of 25 passes for 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions. A pace that the Lions hope will transition over to the regular season. Which will likely happen for Stafford because at the end of the day he has put in the work. Stafford hasn’t had a year away from football since middle school school. When you think about all of the training camps he has went through from the younger levels to college, and finally too the pros. You begin to understand the amount of repetition and hard work number 9 has put into his craft. In the beginning of his career there were worries whether or not he was going to shape up into the player he is now. After facing a couple injuries early on in his career he has managed to overcome the label of a “glass football player”. Now Stafford is year in and year out one of the top passers in the league. He is also one of only a handful of players to ever throw for 5,000 yards in a season. Another impressive feat that puts in the ranks of good company (Brees,Marino, Brady, Manning). The Lions got the #1 overall pick right in the 2009 draft and now Stafford is holding up his end of the bargain and repaying the team. Look for this team to have another solid season,  and much of their success  will fall on whether or not Stafford can produce. If he plays well the team may be able to cover up the losses of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairly. If not the Lions will take that dreaded step back to mediocrity.

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Charity of the day: Veterans Assistance Foundation

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Is this Peyton Manning’s last go?

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Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall

Peyton Manning has been in the National Football League for 16 seasons. Now at 39 years old Manning is returning to the Broncos to not only participate in the game he loves most but also to chase another Super Bowl ring. He has faced a number of injuries during his career which includes a serious neck injury that was operated on three times, and more recently a torn quadricep. With the hits and injuries piling up Manning sooner or later is going to have to ask himself the health question. Is playing football worth his long time health? Manning has clearly already weighed the pro’s and con’s in his head and at the end of the day the love for the game has always willed him to keep competing. On the field Manning has been anything but unproductive. He has never once passed for under 25 touchdowns in a regular season. In his career he has a total of 530 passing touchdowns which is the most ever. Now entering his 17th season Manning is just shy of breaking Brett Favre’s all time passing yards record. The record would solidify Manning as arguably the best passer of all time. The longevity of Manning’s career and the effectiveness that he executed at put him at the top of the mountain. While we are now watching Manning operate in the twilight of his career. He has still managed to be efficient especially in the regular season. It’s later on towards the end of the year that you start to see him wear down and struggle. With last year looking like Manning’s greatest falter physically, anyone observing Manning had to ask “how long does he have?” It feels like Manning has two years top but this very well may be his last ride. Lets see how far he can take the Broncos.

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Charity of the day: Food for the Hungry

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Julio Jones stats need to improve but he is worth the money:

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Photo credit:  Darrell Thomson

Julio Jones is good enough to be the cornerstone of a franchise flat out. While in four years of action he has managed to only go over a 1,000 yards receiving twice. One of those years he didn’t catch a 1,000 yards he was hurt, and the other time he was a rookie. The former University of Alabama player is a phenomenal asset for the Falcons and vital piece of Matt Ryan’s personal success. At 6’3 220 pounds Jones is the ideal size for an NFL wide receiver. He has the ability to go up above defenders and make a play on the ball. He also has the speed running a 4.39 40 yard dash to blow pass defenders and take the top off the defense. Julio is also a great yards after catch receiver similar to how Terrell Owens was. On several plays during the 2014 season Julio was able to break a tackle and take the ball for an additional gain for his team. Jones most impressive move on the field seems to be his back shoulder fade though. Him and Matt Ryan clearly have put in a significant amount of time on this particular throw. Now on Sundays they are using it to expose opposing defenses and look for that play to continue to have success in 2015. While Ryan and Jones are completing passes on the field, it is now up to Arthur Blank to open his check book and put together a contract that rewards Jones for his contributions. The two sides have both insisted that they are getting closer in negotiations. And a deal may be imminent before the regular season starts. Look for that deal to be in the 70 million ball park maybe just shy of 70. Dez Bryant received a 5 years 70 million dollar deal from the Cowboys and you would have to expect Julio’s contract would be just shy of that deal. Regardless Jones is worth the money.

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