J.J Watt is the best player on the planet right now:

 

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Photo credit: Scott Miller

J.J Watt will look to build on the success he has had in his past four seasons of NFL action. The Wisconsin native Watt has been outstanding particularly in rushing the quarterback where he was able to sack opposing quarterbacks 57 times during his career. Now entering his fifth season Watt has his focus on being the best defensive player ever. At this point of Reggie White’s career (the best pass rusher ever) he had 70 sacks, so Watt at four years into his career is trailing the gold standard of sack leaders in White. Yet Watt also makes an impact in different areas that White didn’t. For example Watt has the ability to not only bat a lot of balls down from his lengthy wing span. He also has the ability to judge the ball coming off the quarterbacks hands. Allowing him to get interceptions and even score touchdowns for the Texans as a defender. Traditionally interceptions are taken mainly by defensive backs and linebackers. Watt is revolutionizing the position of defensive end by intercepting passes, batting down passes, and scooping up fumbles left and right. If those contributions weren’t enough, last year Watt even lined up on offense as a tight end. Catching 3 touchdowns passes and displaying his ability to be a red zone threat for the Houston offense. There is ultimately nothing that J.J Watt can’t do on a football field and there is a reason his peers voted him the number 1 player in the league out of the top 100 players. Another impressive stat to mention about Watt is he put up 20 sacks in a season, twice. The numbers don’t lie and the credibility don’t lie the guy has been a once in a generation player. But it will take longevity and much production over time for him to go out and claim the title of best defender of all-time. If anyone can do it though it’s J.J Watt and that is why he is the best player on the planet right now hands down.

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Quarterback position. These are the best of the new school:

Jaguars at Ravens 12/14/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

A new era of young and promising quarterbacks is among us. Derek Carr out in Oakland has made an impressive name for himself after successfully posting a rookie season that consisted of 21 touchdown passes. The second year player who was drafted out of Fresno State has shown he can handle being an NFL quarterback and has the Raiders franchise looking better than it has been in a long time. Jameis Winston down in Tampa Bay is reviving a Buccaneers franchise that last year was depleted of hope. The number 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft was a college stand out at Florida State before the Bucs chose to take him with their first pick. You can tell from the buzz around Tampa Bay that fans are excited about football again. The team itself seems to have a new pulse and from word of mouth we know things are upbeat around the Buccaneers training camp. Much of that is due to Winston. Down in Jacksonville they have their best quarterback prospect since Mark Brunell was leading the Jags. Blake Bortles the former Central Florida stand out quarterback is trying to save a Jaguars franchise that has been lackluster of recent. The team hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2007 but now with Bortles you can tell the team is gaining a little momentum. By drafting Bortles the Jaguars have made their team a more attractive destination for free agents. Which led to the signing of Julius Thomas, a star tight end who used to play for the Denver Broncos. The signing would be less likely if Bortles wasn’t in the picture. Finally in Minnesota we have Teddy Bridgewater who has came into the Vikings organization and gave the team an identity again. Bridgewater was a stand out at Louisville before being drafted by Minnesota. He gives the Vikings a chance to succeed through the air because his passing skills are calculated. Bridgewater is a good decision maker with the football, and knows how to lead this team on the field. By cutting down on interceptions and having a running game to back him up. Bridgewater could put together a game plan that could have the Vikings back in the playoff picture. All of these players have given their organizations something they haven’t had in a long time, faith. The hope that one day their team will be able to be a winner again. They took the first step by obtaining these guys. The best new era quarterbacks in the game.

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Weapons on the edge: Patriots pick up Reggie Wayne

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Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall

The Patriots made a good move for their offense today picking up Reggie Wayne. Wayne has been an outstanding wide receiver for the Colts since Peyton Manning was in town. The tandem lit up opposing defenses in the AFC South and managed to rack up some pretty impressive accolades. When Peyton Manning left Indianapolis for Denver and Andrew Luck came into the fold. Reggie Wayne remained a constant for the Colts offense continuing his production on the football field and never skipping a beat. In fact Wayne was so good during his time with the Colts he managed to bring in 82 touchdowns and 14,345 yards receiving. Very impressive numbers since 82 touchdowns is the 22nd most of all times and 14,345 yards receiving is the 8th most of all time. When you step back and think about how many good players came through the National Football League that speaks volumes about how prolific Reggie Wayne truly was in his Colts days. Now for the first time in his career Wayne will look to strike fear in NFL defenses in a different uniform than Colt’s blue and white. Wayne enters a Patriot system that is full of youngsters at the receiver position. Wayne should serve as a good mentor to those younger receivers and will also give that position group more veteran presence. Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman are two promising players in that system and Reggie Wayne should blend with them nicely. The way Wayne plays even meshes well with the Patriots offensive philosophy. Tom Brady expects everything to be based off of rhythm and timing, which means receivers are expected to run exceptional routes. Which has alway been a strength for Reggie Wayne. His route running skills have been praised his whole career and the destination might revive Wayne’s career for a couple years. A good signing for the Patriots.

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Can the Arizona Cardinals replicate last year’s success?

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Photo credit: Todd Jones

Things have been good for the Arizona Cardinals ever since Head Coach Bruce Arians has come to the desert. The former Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburg Steelers offensive coordinator had shown good coaching promise in his previous gigs. And smoothly made the transition to a head coach in the NFC West instantly showing positive results. Arians would come out the gate hot in his coaching career. Winning 10 football games his first season and 11 games his second season. While it’s easy to dismiss the Cardinals success because the franchise hasn’t been particularly upper echelon in the past. The newly led Cardinals are a team that are here to stay and should show they are a contender again in 2015. In games last season the Cardinals were ferocious on defense blitzing often with the front seven. And letting Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu handle things on the back end of the defense. The combination allowed the Cardinals to surrender the fifth least points in the league. Allowing opposing offenses to score just an average of 18.7 points per game. A number that is very low when you look at how talented some of the offenses really are in the National Football League. Offensively the team will most likely get a lift from Carson Palmer returning from injury. Palmer has looked good in his limited time in the preseason and has shown he can still be contributor at his older age. The former USC Trojan quarterback has posted over a 100 passer rating in both games and looks like he could have a huge impact for this Cardinals team. Other notable players for this offense are Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Together they shape a very talented receiving core and with Palmer back at the helm the Cardinals just might be able to repeat last years success. Still that success or failure will ultimately come down to Arians and his system/culture he cultivates. In the past two seasons it has been a winning formula, so it’s hard to bet against it the third time around.  Keep an eye on the NFC west this fall to see how it plays out.

Jarryd Hayne has proven he deserves to be a National Football League player:

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Photo credit: Tim Napazzi

Former Rugby stand out Jarryd Hayne has proven he deserves to be a pro football player. The two time Rugby League Player of the Year has been exceptional in his limited role with the Forty Niners and seems deserving of a promotion. That shot may or may not come with the Forty Niners but if he doesn’t make that team there may be other teams out there that will bid on Hayne’s service. Almost every time Hanye touches the ball he is almost guaranteed to make at least one defender miss. In last night’s Niners preseason game against the Cowboys. Hayne had an exceptional outing returning 3 punts and netting returns of 27,34, and 23 yards. Another notable stat in Hayne’s favor is the fact that he is currently second in the preseason in rushing yards with 117. Showing that he has the vision, acceleration, and open space moves to succeed as a running back in the league. Everyone praised his abilities on the rugby field and it was debated whether or not he could make the transition to this level. Well it’s safe to say that Hayne is nearly as dynamic on the football field as he was on the Rugby field. His stop on the dime shiftiness has caused experienced NFL defenders to whiff on tackles. An impressive feat for player who is participating in his second football game ever. Yes that’s right his second football game at any level. Hayne’s has never played pee wee, middle school, high school, or college football. Instead relying heavily on the fundamentals he gained during his time in Rugby and learning American Football on the fly. It’s safe to say that this guy has exceeded everyone’s expectations and the Forty Niners should do the right thing and give him a shot. If not some other team in the league surely will.

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Endzoneblog took the time to rank all the NFL’s quarterbacks. Here is number 1-32.

 

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Photo credit: Keith Allison

1. Tom Brady                                            27. Robert Griffin
2. Drew Brees                                         28. Marcus Mariota
3. Peyton Manning                               29. Sam Bradford
4. Aaron Rodgers                                  30. Brian Hoyer
5 .Andrew Luck                                       31. Matt Cassel
6 .Ben Roethlisberger                         32. Josh McCown
7. Phillip Rivers
8. Matt Ryan
9. Matthew Stafford
10. Eli Manning
11. Tony Romo
12. Joe Flacco
13. Russel Wilson
14. Jay Cutler
15. Andy Dalton
16. Carson Palmer
17. Cam Newton
18. Ryan Tannehill
19. Blake Bortles
20. Derek Carr
21. Teddy Bridgewater
22. Jameis Winston
23. Colin Kaepernick
24. Nick Foles
25. Alex Smith
26. Ryan Fitzpatrick

A look at the top 5:

Brady gets the top spot being the most winning quarterback Super Bowl wise. Brees edged out Manning simply because he has thrown for 5,000 yards 4 times.  Manning barely edged out Rodgers because of his past success but you could say these two are interchangeable. Some people even say “Rodgers is the best QB in the league.” So these top four are really no brainers. The last guy rounding out the top five is Andrew Luck who has been the most promising young quarterback in the league of recent. The rest fall in line based off success, accomplishments, and potential. How does your list compare?

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Drew Brees: The best pure passer of all-time

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Photo credit: Ed Shipul

Drew Brees looked better than ever last night against the New England Patriots. Dicing the Patriots defense up for 8 out of 10 passes and 2 touchdowns strikes. On one particular forty five yard touchdown strike Brees was able to connect with receiver Brandin Cooks who beat his defender on a double move. Cooks had a heck of a night hauling in 4 receptions, 117 yards, and a touchdown for the Saints. Showing that he can be an effective weapon for the Saints offense and hopefully minimize the lost of Jimmy Graham a little bit. Still much of the Saints offensive credit must go to Brees. One thing you notice right away when watching Brees play is the way he is able to lead the Saints offense. He takes command not only in a leadership role but his consistency on the field shows he is dedicated to many facets of his game. His field vision is better than nearly every other quarterback in the league and that is why he was able to pass for 5,000 yards in a season 4 different times. A feat that no other quarterback in NFL history has done, and a feat that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have only done once each. The numbers don’t lie. When you watch Brees drop back you are watching arguably the best pure passer of all-time. Brady is the best in terms of Super Bowl wins. Brees is the best pure passer ever, period. His pocket presence is better than everyones. His throws are darts that are on the money every time. He also does a great job of being deceptive in where he is going with the ball. Doing a great job of looking off defenders then coming back and making the backside defense pay on throws. Keep an eye on Brees this year as he looks to add his 5th 5,000 passing yards season to his resume. And maybe his second Lombardi trophy if he keeps playing like this.

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Eagles dominate in preseason match. A result of Kelly’s system:

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Photo credit: Kevin Burkett

Chip Kelly had quite a bit of pressure on him coming into this season. While he is a tremendous football coach we can all agree. There were questions whether or not his “sell the house” mentality was going to pay off. Gone are star players Lesean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and Nick Foles. They were replaced by hand picked Chip Kelly players which include Sam Bradford, Kiko Alonso, and Demarco Murray. The concerns were never really whether or not Kelly could coach the team, but rather is he making the right personnel moves? Well some of those questions can finally be put to rest. The Eagles have scored 76 points in two preseason games and they’re 2-0. Thrashing both the Ravens and the Colts. While it may be too soon to get excited. Things at the moment do look bright for Philadelphia and it could be a sign of things to come for this football team. Another area worth mentioning has to be the offensive system. It’s almost as if the offense is a machine and there are interchangeable parts that can be inserted. For instance the offense has looked good with just about any quarterback in the game. The rushing attack has looked good with Murray or Matthews taking carries. And upfront the guys are creating space and opening up running lanes for these running backs. Right now they are firing on all cylinders and it all goes back to Kelly’s idea of culture. It’s no secret that Kelly has publicly stated he believes the culture and environment you develop will always beat any scheme. In Kelly’s approach this might be the music playing at practices and his uptempo pace that his players must adhere to. All these little strategies, tendencies, and philosophies are what make up the Chip Kelly system. It is ultimately the reason for his success as well. He deserves a pat on the back. Philadelphia fans may be in for a treat this year.

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Seahawks won’t return to the Super Bowl without Kam Chancellor:

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Photo credit: Ryan Lock

In the last two years of NFL action it’s hard to find a player that has been a tougher s.o.b than Kam Chancellor. Nate Burleson got it right when he said “Chancellor puts the boom in legion of boom.” The guy has been an absolute force for the Seahawks the last two seasons and in particular during the postseason when performance matters most. In the 2013 and 2014 postseason combined Chancellor has intercepted 3 passes. Some defensive backs play a whole regular season which is sixteen games and finish with less interceptions than that. Not to mention Chancellor is the Seahawks’ brick wall defender. Leveling guys not only in the secondary on pass plays. But also coming up in run support and acting as an enforcer for the Seahawks defense. Not many guys have had as big as an impact for their team as Kam Chancellor has and he is a vital piece to the Seahawks puzzle. Now, with Kam Chancellor threatening to hold out and Michael Robinson stating that “Chancellor will sit out the whole year”. The Seahawks are left with two options. Either open up negotiations and extend Chancellors contract. Or ignore Chancellors demands and risk him sitting out the season. Really the longer the Seahawks wait the more the morale is going to drop for the Seahawks collectively. You don’t want Chancellor feeling like he isn’t wanted in Seattle. When a player’s happiness drops typically performance does as well. On top of that Chancellor is indeed a key performer for the Seahawks and has earned his money. It makes sense to address the issue as quickly as possible if your the team’s front office. Yet with giving a new deal to Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and Bobby Wagner. Cap space might be getting tight for the Seahawks. It will be interesting to see how this things play out and more importantly how Seattle reels Chancellor back into the fold.

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Matt Ryan: shaping in to a fine pro career

Falcons at Ravens 10/19/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Matt Ryan or “Matty Ice” as they like to call him in Atlanta, is having an excellent career with the Atlanta Falcons. At 30 years old Ryan is entering his eighth season of NFL action. No longer a young player looking to prove his value, Ryan is now an NFL veteran who is entering his athletic prime. With those development years in his rear view mirror Ryan’s best football still might be ahead of him. A pretty strong case since Matt Ryan had arguably the best five year start of any NFL quarterback ever. Don’t believe us? Well, check the stats. In a five year span to start their career no one has more wins than Ryan with 56, no one has more fourth quarter come backs with 16, and no one has more game winning drives with 23. So while Ryan isn’t the best QB ever he does have some very key accomplishments that he can be proud of. Another big factor of Matt Ryan’s game is when you watch him you notice the discipline that he has put into his craft. He is outstanding with his body position such as keeping the ball high and the shoulders cocked. His footwork is impeccable and he always does a great job of stepping up in the pocket. He also does a phenomenal job of seeing the field and looking off defenders before making a throw. And when it does finally come to Ryan throwing the football. It’s like poetry in motion. Most of his throws are fluent, with perfect mechanics, and all of his balls have good zip on them. Maybe this is why he was able to put up 181 touchdowns and only 91 interceptions. Which is 33 more touchdowns than fellow 2008 draft classmate Joe Flacco has put up (148). If Ryan finishes the back end of his career anything like he started. He should certainly finish as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in terms of wins. He also should be a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame some day. You have to tip your hat to that .

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