Jerry Jones compared Tavon Austin to Michael Irvin and now the pressure is on the 6th year receiver:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Cowboys traded for Tavon Austin this off-season and that move was seen as an acquisition that would help out their receivers group a little bit. However Tavon Austin has dominated at Cowboys training camp and now Jerry Jones compared Austin to Michael Irvin. Obviously that’s a stretch because Irvin recorded 11,904 yards over the course of his career. Austin is entering his 6th season and only has 1,689 yards since turning pro. So the gap between to those guys is pretty large and now the pressure is definitely on Austin even though it’s his first year in Dallas. The good news is Austin has indeed looked tremendous during these early preseason practices. We’re now seeing an evolved version of Austin who is more confidant than ever. Which means he’s certainly going to make more plays than we’re accustomed to seeing him make. To be the next Michael Irvin though Austin needs to go for 1,000 yards and record at least 7 touchdowns. Clearly Austin has Jones’ full backing so he has to go out there and make the most of this moment. There’s a lot of anticipation building up about Tavon Austin and he has to live up to the hype when the lights come on. Whether that’s by taking a jet sweep to the house or going up top on the secondary it doesn’t matter. Austin needs to make flashy plays and prove to everyone this isn’t a practice fluke against bad Cowboys defensive backs. Everything is going to be much tougher on game day when Austin takes on the best corners the league has to offer. Although you have to praise him for at least coming this far. It seems like everyone is talking about Tavon Austin these days and that’s the start of something good.

Charity of the day: Team Rubicon

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The Ravens think they found a diamond in the rough. Wide Receiver John Brown has been putting on a clinic during these preseason practices:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Baltimore Ravens offense got a huge addition when they signed former Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver John Brown to a one year $5M dollar contract. Since joining the Ravens Brown has been one of the biggest surprises for this football team. The 28 year old (Brown) does his damage by working the vertical passing game. With a 4.34 forty yard dash defenders have a tough time staying on Brown’s hip. That automatically creates a match up problem for defenses and the result is instant offense for Baltimore. When you have a guy that has the potential to go deep for six on every single snap that’s definitely a weapon that can change the outcome of football games. Joe Flacco has clearly noticed that because those two have connected on plenty of go routes throughout camp. With Flacco and Brown already having such good rapport you have to believe these two are destined for great things during the regular season. So one player your have to keep your eye on is John Brown and it’ll be exciting to see how big of a spark he can provide opposite of Michael Crabtree? Believe it or not those two players mesh perfectly. Crabtree is more of a possession receiver with huge potential in the red zone. John Brown is the guy who can run by the defense and make those opposing defensive backs respect the pass. Now safeties have to take a couple steps back and that opens up a little bit of daylight for Alex Collins running wise. One thing is for certain and that’s the fact that Ravens are going to score a lot more points than they did a year ago. There’s just so much more talent on this current roster and obviously that’s a good sign. John Brown, Michael Crabtree, and the rest of those first year Ravens are big reason why.

Charity of the day: Team Rubicon

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The Ravens believe John Brown is a diamond in the rough. Expectations are high for the first year Raven.

Chad Kelly beat out Paxton Lynch for the Denver Broncos back up quarterback job. Is it possible that the former Ole Miss QB takes Case Keenum’s job too?

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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With reports coming out of Denver that Chad Kelly is officially the Broncos back up quarterback you have to wonder what’s next for the 24 year old? Kelly went from being the last pick in the 2017 draft (253rd overall) to beating out Paxton Lynch. Lynch was a former first round selection but Kelly played in the tough SEC conference which was leaps and bounds more difficult than anything the Memphis Tigers went against (Lynch went to Memphis). So those SEC battles really prepared Kelly for the NFL and that’s a big reason we’re seeing him climb Denver’s depth chart. Obviously the coaching staff has liked what they’ve seen from Kelly in practice and in the team’s first preseason game. Kelly looked like a natural in the pocket and it’s clear he has a great understanding of where he wants to go with the football. That probably came from watching his uncle Jim Kelly’s Hall of Fame career. There’s no doubt the “it factor” is definitely in the Kelly bloodline and these guys flat out know how to throw the football. Whether it was a laser like strike to a crossing route or a deep ball lofted out in front of his receiver. Chad Kelly put all his passes on the money and that creates opportunities for the Broncos offense. Now you have to wonder if Case Keenum’s job is in danger? Keenum struggled in his preseason appearance throwing for 1 completion out of 4 passing attempts and failing to convert a first down. Denver committed a two year $36M dollar deal to Case Keenum but if he struggles and Chad Kelly lights it up anything is possible. Keenum was the guy who made it happen a year ago with the Vikings and it’s very possible Kelly makes a similar jump this season. Based of Head Coach Vance Joseph’s past track record of frequently changing quarterbacks it’s very possible we see Kelly on the field as a number one especially if this franchise struggles.

Charity of the day: Partners In Health

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Chad Kelly is climbing the Broncos depth chart and based off how many quarterbacks Vance Joseph played last year. Kelly could be the starter at some point.

The Philadelphia Eagles have to avoid being satisfied with their accomplishments. It’s the toughest challenge this team will face:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Philadelphia Eagles are riding high after winning the Super Bowl but now we find out whether or not this team is a one hit wonder or a true dynasty in the making? The biggest challenge the Eagles will face is their own complacency. This franchise can’t be satisfied with just winning one Super Bowl now they have to go out there and earn it again. Can all of those players leave last year in the past and make those same sacrifices? Not only that but Philadelphia had a shorter off-season than most of their opponents and now everyone wants to take down the champions. So Philadelphia will have a target on their back and it’s hard to fend off all of those challengers. Then there’s the personnel issues and maybe the two biggest concerns which is the fact that Carson Wentz and Nick Foles are both banged up at the moment. Right now Nick Foles seems healthier and he’ll have to hold this team over until Wentz comes back from his ACL tear. Therefore it’s apparent that there’s numerous obstacles the Eagles will have to overcome and that’s going to make it extremely tough to repeat. However if there is one thing Philadelphia does have going for them it’s their system. Most teams would’ve been dead in the water when their starting quarterback went down but the Eagles are stacked at so many positions it didn’t affect them. Then you have to ask yourself if the newcomers are going to make enough of an impact? Guys like Michael Bennett and Mike Wallace have to turn back the clock and live up to their expectations. If all of these pieces can come together and the Eagles are still the hungry dog anything is possible. They can’t get too full of themselves though they have to come to work and do their best to get better everyday.

Charity of the day: Partners In Health

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The Steelers might have Ben Roethlisberger’s heir in Mason Rudolph. It’s clear the rookie has a knack for throwing the football:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Pittsburgh Steelers made some interesting moves in the draft when they selected James Washington and Mason Rudolph out of Oklahoma State. It almost felt like the Steelers front office were preparing their next wave of quarterbacks and receivers. Washington and Rudolph played together during college so that rapport gives them a leg up on everyone else. Their connection was clearly on display when Pittsburgh took on the Philadelphia Eagles in their first preseason game. Rudolph completed 7 out of 11 passes for 101 yards in that appearance. Most of the Steelers fan base were upbeat about Rudolph’s ability to throw the football and it’s nice to have a promising young quarterback waiting in the wings. We all know Roethlisberger is 36 years old and he can’t play forever. Even if Big Ben gets banged up Rudolph can step in and keep this team afloat with Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and James Washington. Landry Jones is still on the roster but if Pittsburgh really wants to win Mason Rudolph is the clearly the best option. Regardless if Mike Tomlin chooses Rudolph as his back up quarterback or not eventually the rookie is going to be a key piece to the puzzle. When this guy is on the field he does a great job of throwing both accurate and tight spirals. The other thing that stands out is Rudolph does a great job with his foot work. By always keeping his center of balance the Steelers 3rd round draft pick (Rudolph) can transfer his kinetic energy throughout his throws more effectively. The result is a lot more velocity and Rudolph has more control. Which makes it obvious Mason Rudolph has great football fundamentals and there’s a reason he led the NCAA in passing yards during the 2017 season (4,904 yards). Those accomplishments give you an indication of the type of talent we’re dealing with and it’s surprising Rudolph fell so far on draft night.

Charity of the day: Hunger Project

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Mason Rudolph appears to be Ben Roethlisberger’s heir. Rudolph showed some incredible poise against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The suspensions of Jalen Ramsey and Dante Fowler are an embarrassment for the Jaguars and now you have to question the team’s mental toughness:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Jacksonville Jaguars had an absolute embarrassment take place at their practice today when Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler had to be held back by teammates from fighting each other. There’s nothing worse than seeing two players on the same team come to blows and Jacksonville had high expectations until all of this went down. Now you have to question the Jaguars mental toughness because clearly there’s some drama going on behind closed doors. It doesn’t seem like Ngakoue and Fowler are going to be able to work together anymore and that means Fowler will probably be removed from the team. Dante Fowler has been a thorn in Jacksonville’s side by constantly inciting scuffles and brawls during training camp. Not to mention Fowler is suspended for the first game of the season because of a misdemeanor battery charge. So there’s a pattern of poor behavior on Fowler’s behalf and the Jaguars might be better off without that headache. The only issue is Fowler could be a huge contributor for this team and that spark plug was supposed help this franchise make a deep playoff run. How is that possible though when the culture is starting unravel? Everyone knows Jacksonville is loaded with talent but clearly there’s some skeletons in their closet. To make matter even worse Jalen Ramsey will be suspended for a week of practice for screaming profanities at the press during the fight between Fowler and Ngakoue. Apparently Ramsey wanted the media members in attendance to stop recording the situation unfolding. Which is another setback considering all the reps Ramsey will miss. The only positive thing that came out of all this mayhem is the fact that we saw how important Calais Campbell is to this ball club. Campbell was working so hard to make sure he kept Ngakoue and Fowler away from each other. Without him everything would have spiraled out of control and it’s no surprise he’s the team’s best player too.

Charity of the day: Hunger Project

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The Jaguars Super Bowl expectations might be on hold. They have an internal crisis on their hands.

Josh Rosen played well in the Arizona Cardinals 24-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Rosen showed the NFL stage isn’t too big for him:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Arizona Cardinals took on the Los Angeles Chargers in a preseason match up and it was the Cardinals who came out on top 24-17. Josh Rosen was one player who looked good in that win and to be honest Rosen’s stats weren’t great by any means. The former UCLA signal caller finished the night 6/13 for 41 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. However it was how Rosen operated while he was on the field that really showcased what he can do. This is a young quarterback who understands the intricacies of the position. We saw the rookie avoid the pressure and deliver a few nice strikes downfield. It was also overwhelmingly obvious that Rosen throws a pretty ball and that’s creating optimism within this organization. Sam Bradford might be extremely accurate but that’s because he only throws short passes and takes very few risks. Josh Rosen has much better arm talent which is going to result in more points being put on the board. Outside of Rosen other notable performances were turned in by Chase Edmonds and Bryce Williams. Edmonds rushed for a Cardinals score while Bryce Williams hauled in a 14 yard touchdown reception for Arizona. Those plays along with a Jeremy Cash defensive touchdown really solidified the win for Steve Wilk’s squad. On the opposing sideline the Chargers were led by Geno Smith who had 218 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Smith looks like a lock to win Los Angeles’ back up quarterback job behind Philip Rivers. The other contributors for the Chargers were Detrez Newsome who scored a rushing touchdown and Geremy Davis who hauled in 88 yards plus an aerial TD. That wasn’t enough to get it done though and you have to give credit to the Cardinals players for completing their mission. Now Arizona gets feel good about themselves heading into their second game of the preseason. Which is undoubtedly good momentum.

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The Vikings knock off the Broncos 42-28 in a preseason thriller. Trevor Siemian threw for two touchdowns in the win for Minnesota:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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If there was anyone who wanted revenge against the Broncos it was definitely Trevor Siemian and we saw that firsthand in the Vikings 42-28 win over Denver. Siemian was a member of the Broncos for the past three seasons before being traded in March. Clearly that felt like a slap in the face to Siemian because he came out with a chip on shoulder and lit the Broncos up. Trevor Siemian finished the night with 165 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. That was the difference maker for Minnesota and the former 7th rounder from Northwestern had to feel good about getting a little redemption. Siemian wasn’t the only quarterback to stand out either. Chad Kelly had a strong night throwing for 177 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. With this big performance Kelly may have surpassed Paxton Lynch for the Broncos back up quarterback job. Kelly looked exactly like the player he was at Ole Miss and he’s going to give Denver a spark if Case Keenum ever gets banged up. To be honest this game was actually really close all the way till the fourth quarter. That’s when the Vikings started to run away with it after two big touchdowns late in the game. Third string Vikings quarterback Kyle Sloter was responsible for both of those scores (one throwing and one rushing). You have to applaud Mike Zimmer though because he had his squad dialed in and ready to compete. Not only does that Purple team from Minnesota know their assignments but they also fly around and hit people. It’s that discipline which really jumps out when you watch them play. Kirk Cousins also looked good in his brief stint to start the game off and there’s a lot of optimism swirling around this ball club. Truthfully this seems like another small win for the Vikings’ organization but they know it’s big for their confidence.

Charity of the day: Brookings Institution

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The Minnesota Vikings pull out a 42-28 win in a thriller against the Denver Broncos.

Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater both stood out in the New York Jets 17-0 win over the Atlanta Falcons:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The New York Jets entered their first preseason game knowing they have a surplus of quarterbacks and clearly that’s a good problem to have. Both Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater brought some excitement to the Jets offense by each throwing for a touchdown pass. Obviously the Falcons wish they had one player who could put up a touchdown and now it looks like New York has some options under center. They could trade Teddy Bridgewater and pick up some more draft capital for the future. Although it almost feels like they should keep Teddy Bridgewater and consider cutting Josh McCown. Todd Bowles wants McCown to be his starter but Bridgewater and Darnold can clearly handle the job. Why not let Teddy Bridgewater lead this team until Darnold is ready to take over the reins? Coaches have to be willing to take risks and it seems like going with Josh McCown is a lame duck choice. Give one of the young guys the nod and try to infuse some youth into your starting line up. Two other new Jets were also responsible for the scores New York had. Those players were Isaiah Crowell and Charles Johnson who can clearly contribute something. You also have to give a lot of credit to the Jets defense. They were able to come out and completely shut down the Falcons offense. Which is another failure for Steve Sarkisian. Atlanta took a huge step back last year even when they had Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and everyone else out on the field. So to get completely shut out with the second and third stringers too, it’s evident that Sarkisian isn’t working out. New York has to be upbeat though. They seem to be ascending and morale is improving within the organization. That’s all you can really ask for and at least they’re heading in the right direction.

Charity of the day: National Alliance to End Homelessness

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Both Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater stood out in the Jets 17-0 win against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Oakland Raiders started the Jon Gruden era off with a 16-10 preseason win over the Detroit Lions:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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It didn’t take very long to see that Jon Gruden is an excellent offensive play caller. On the very first drive it was apparent that this is a rhythm and timing offense which is very well coordinated. Oakland only scored 16 points in their win over the Lions but the scheme and concepts were all on point. In time those philosophies will help Oakland score a lot of touchdowns. The other thing Gruden does is bootleg quite often. So defenders have to be conscious of that play or it’s going to be a long day. As for the game Connor Cook had a good night throwing for 141 yards, 1 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Chris Warren III was also a top performer for the silver and black putting up 86 rushing yards. Ryan Switzer hauled in the lone touchdown grab and that was enough to seal the Raiders fate. Detroit couldn’t get anything going and that was because of sketchy quarterback play. Neither Jake Rudock or Matt Cassell threw for 100 yards and that’s not enough. One bright spot for the Lions was the running backs on their roster. That was a weakness for this franchise the past couple of years but now there’s a stable of ball carriers who can get the job done. Kerryon Johnson looked really special in his first pro game ever. Johnson had a 57 yard run called back because of a penalty but on that play he really showed he can be an impact player from day one. Ameer Abduallah also scored a touchdown and made several big plays. Together those guys and LeGarrette Blount have a lot of potential. The Raiders have to be happy about pulling out the win though. It was a tough fought battle but Oakland persevered down the stretch. It’s just a little bit more momentum for Jon Gruden and company as they march towards the regular season.

Charity of the day: National Alliance to End Homelessness

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The Jon Gruden era is officially underway and the Raiders are off to a good start.

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