Philbin firing a lack of production with an upgraded team:

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins

Photo credit: June Rivera

Author: Jon Kuzma

When Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross opened up his checkbook to re-sign Ryan Tannehill and sign coveted off-season free agent Ndamukong Suh he did his part in improving the team. Clearly Ross felt that Joe Philbin wasn’t doing his part as a coach with those upgrades. The team who loss to the Jets in London fell to 1-3 on the year and looks like a team that is depleted of morale. There were talks earlier in the season that Ndamukong Suh was freelancing in the defensive scheme. Choosing to do what he prefers rather than what his coaches were expecting of him. In Suh’s defense he most likely had little faith in Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. Who has this team ranking near the bottom defensively in most team rankings. Still Suh has to be a professional and except that he has to follow his coaches lead regardless of that coaches competence level. A team in cohesion will always have more success than a team that is out of sync regardless of what scheme or philosophies are implemented. That lack of connect between the players and coaches is what most likely started to stand out to Stephen Ross. That and the fact that Philbin was too calm in his demeanor. Football is a sport that is played with a lot of passion and emotions can run high at times. While a head coach is supposed to be poised Philbin was to reluctant to get his hands dirty when the team clearly needed someone to take action. You can’t stick to the script when the script is a formula for failure and that is exactly what Joe Philbin did. While the guy seems like a great guy in terms of character it was clear his lack of football expertise was not going to elevate this Dolphins team. Look for interim coach Dan Campbell to come in and try to changee the tone of this team. If he is able to he might be a frontrunner for landing the job permanently.

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Brees Leads Saints to Victory in Overtime Match up Against Cowboys:

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Photo credit: Ed Schipul

Author: Jon Kuzma

Drew Brees returned from a shoulder injury to help the Saints knock off the Dallas Cowboys last night in Sunday Night Football. The Saints were able to obtain their first win of the season outscoring the Cowboys 26-20. C.J Spiller made his presence felt for the Saints by scoring the game winning touchdown in overtime for the Saints. That play came on the second play of overtime, where Brees hit Spiller on a wheel route up the right sideline. Spiller had been lined up as the right slot receiver while the Saints offense was in an empty formation. When the z-receiver (receiver furthest to the right) ran a slant route. It opened up separation for Spiller to run freely up the right sideline and catch the pass. The other thing that play did was put a Dallas Cowboys linebacker in charge of covering Spiller, clearly a mismatch every time. Fortunately for the Saints Spiller was able to finish that play in the end zone for six points and a much needed team win. Brees finished the game with 33 completions on 41 passing attempts for 359 yards and 2 touchdowns. A stellar performance for a player who was playing through a bruised rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. An injury that is a major concern for a position like quarterback. As far as Spiller goes believe it or not he was better through the air than on the ground. He led all Saints receivers with 99 yards and a touchdown. Mark Ingram also had a notable performance for the Saints offense contributing 77 yards rushing the ball. He also was able to record 6 receptions for 51 yards. Showing that he can be a big factor in this Saints offense. The team will travel to take on the Eagles next Sunday, where both teams find themselves entering the game with a 1-3 record. Each team will be somewhat desperate to get the win and get a step closer to .500. A victory would go a long way for either team especially in terms of playoff aspirations. Keep an eye out for that match up in Philly.

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Time for the Philadelphia Eagles to press the panic button:

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Photo credit: Kevin Burkett

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Philadelphia Eagles who were 3-1 in the preseason and showed all the promise in the world, now find themselves 1-3 in the regular season. It was easy to get caught up in the Chip Kelly “sell the house” mentality as he shipped former Eagles Lesean McCoy, Brandon Boykin, Trent Cole, and Cary Williams all packing. Kelly made it clear in those moves that his goal was to invest in the future by clearing cap space, and landing draft picks in return for some of the players mentioned above. What Kelly forgot to take in account however is the NFL is a “win now” type of league. Even though Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has recently came out and backed Kelly. It might be the players who have been turning against Kelly at an alarming rate that eventually lead to the coaches doom. It doesn’t matter if the owner backs Chip Kelley and Chip Kelly is indeed a coaching mastermind. If the players don’t believe the Eagles are a desirable destination then it will be tough for the team to win. In football the inferior team talent wise usually gets trounced by the superior team lined up across from them. While the Eagles can go out and make moves in the future to improve this team. The moves they have made this far have caused this team to regress in the present moment. Former Eagles Pro Bowl quarterback Nick Foles looked pretty good today for the St. Louis Rams passing for 3 touchdowns and a win against the Cardinals. While Chip Kelly’s hand selected quarterback Sam Bradford has only led this team to 1 win on the year. What made that deal even worse for the Eagles is they also gave up a fourth round pick this year and 2nd round pick next year to obtain Bradford. A player who was already a downgrade from Foles. That deal was so tilted in the Rams favor Jeff Fisher and company didn’t even think twice about shipping Bradford off with a fifth round pick. While some of the moves Kelly made weren’t that bad for the team he will likely regret that quarterback swap and unfortunately for Kelly that position is the most important to any football team. Kelly and the Eagles luckily have a future loaded with cap room and picks to fall back on. How bad will it get before then though? If this team loses all momentum, Kelly might be out before you know it.

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Which 0-3 team will get a win this weekend?

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Photo credit: Instagram @AmeerGuapo

Author: Jon Kuzma

It’s almost certain that one of the three 0-3 NFL teams will get a win this weekend. The question is which team will it be? It should be stated that two of the 0-3 teams reside in the NFC North a division that looks down of recent. The Detroit Lions were a playoff team last year after being reduced to rubble in one off-season. The departure of former first round draft picks Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley set this team back defensively. However it is the offensive line that seems to be the key reason for the team’s regression. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has no time to make anything happen in the Detroit Lions backfield showing that the first round draft pick of Laken Tomlinson was not enough to secure Detroit’s offensive line woes. The team will have to put even more effort into making that offensive line sustainable for a quarterback to have success. In Chicago the Bears have not seen the change they were looking for under first year coach John Fox. While Fox is a tremendous football coach, the team is severely depleted of talent and that has been the reason for these three losses. In an effort to blow the team up, the Bears have decided to ship out defensive end Jared Allen and middle linebacker Jon Bostic. Moves that show the team is looking to purge any player not fitting their long term vision. By looking to rebuild the team the Bears will look to get a fresh start. The new players coming in will be more in line with Coach Fox and general manger Ryan Pace’s plan. Maybe their plan is to go with an offensive strategy moving forward since they got rid of two key defensive players. Or maybe they just want to get younger on defense. Only time will tell but it likely won’t be the Bears getting a win this Sunday. Then you have the New Orleans Saints. After Brees missed action last Sunday look for him to get back to doing what he does best, airing the ball out. This offense has the potential to make plays, the team has just really took a step back defensively. It will be up to Brees to will this team to a victory if they do manage to bring home their first win of the season. Truthfully though out of the 0-3 teams the Lions have the best chance to win. Followed by the Saints and then the Bears. It seems like out of these three teams Detroit is the most talented and the Bears are the least. Keep an eye to see how they pan out Sunday.

 

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Dolphins off-season investments haven’t paid off thus far:

Dolphins at Redskins 9/13/15

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Miami Dolphins made a splash in NFL free agency when they were able to lure Ndamukong Suh away from the Detroit Lions on a 6 year 114 million dollar deal. The deal was supposed to be a step in the right direction for the Dolphins and Miami fans had playoff aspirations on their minds. Well those high expectations haven’t exactly translated to success on the field. The Dolphins enter week 4 with a record of 1-2 on the year. They also have the NFL’s 31st ranked run defense which hasn’t seen the return of investment that signing Suh should have brought. While the run defense hasn’t been good. Neither has the yards surrendered per game. The Dolphins defense is allowing 391 yards per game. A number that is much too high for all the marquee players they have on that defense. Offensively its been nearly the same story. They are ranked 19th in yards per game and 8th in passing yards per game. So while Suh was the biggest addition to the team this past off seaon. It seems like longtime Dolphin Tannehill might be producing more at the moment. That will likely change as the rest of the season unfolds. It just has to be stated that over the first three weeks you have to give credit to Tannehill whether you like him or not. Collectively as a team though the Dolphins need to improve. After spending 95 million to re-sign Tannehill and 114 million to bring Suh to the team, the Dolphins still look sluggish. Something that clearly isn’t sitting well with the team’s owner and front office and that is why we are hearing rumors that a coaching change might be imminent. Look for Suh to get back on track and help this team win some games. Also keep an eye on Tannehill and whether he can keep up his production. If he truly is a great player we will see him in a playoff game or a pro bowl.

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Week 4 Fantasy Waiver Wire Targets

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Hers is some week 4 Fantasy Football talk presented by NFL.com Youtube! Do you agree with Senior fantasy editor michael fabiano?

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Ravens vs Steelers came down to who had the better kicker:

Saints at Ravens 8/13/15

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Jon Kuzma

The quarterback position is the most important position on the team. The position gets all the glory when the team wins, and takes on all the pressure when the team loses. The polar opposite position is the kicker. Not because kickers are the least important player on the team. They certainly can decide games. But the polar opposite because they are treated often like less than players. Sometimes even disrespected a little bit by teammates. Well if you watched the Ravens and Steelers match up in Thursday night football, you have a new found respect for place kicking. In a game that went to overtime in which the Ravens won 23-20. Kicking was the difference maker. The Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was 3 for 3 making every kick he took of the night. While the Steelers kicker Josh Scobee was 2 out of 4 in his kicking attempts, missing out on a potential 6 points for his team. Scobee missed from 49 yards and 41 yards leaving points on the table when his team needed him the most. This isn’t the first time Scobee has had woes in Pittsburgh either, he is 6 for 10 on the year. On the other sideline though Tucker would ultimately be the deciding factor. He was able to hit a 42 yard field goal to send the game into overtime. That is when the Ravens were able stop the Steelers offense on a 4th down attempt. Get the ball back in their offenses hands. Lead the team down field and let Justin Tucker boom a 52 yard field goal home for the win. The game was a winnable match for the Steelers but they just didn’t have the kicking to get it done. Justin Tucker and the Baltimore Ravens did. The Ravens improve to 1-3 on the season while the Steelers fall to 2-2.

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The Team That Has Been Most Impressive So Far

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Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Joey Carr

This should come as no surprise, but the NFL’s offseason punching bag is outshining the rest of the league. The moment Judge Richard Berman overturned the 4 game suspension handed down to Tom Brady, I think everyone knew what was on the horizon: A Revenge Tour. However, it’s safe to say no one expected this kind of offensive and defensive explosion from the New England Patriots. The start to the season is reminiscent of 2007, where New England crushed every team in their path until David Tyree made the catch that will live in infamy in the hearts of the Foxboro Faithful. So far in 2015, Bill Belichick and the Pats have manhandled two high caliber AFC teams in Pittsburgh and Buffalo, who both were considered some of the Patriots top competition for this year, and embarrassed Jacksonville by 34 points. The rest of the NFL, with the exception of maybe Green Bay, doesn’t compare to New England this year, and they should expect to keep on chasing the Pats all the way to Santa Clara, where they will try to make sure this Revenge Tour ends the right way, and 2007 doesn’t repeat itself.

Approaching the first game of the season, people didn’t know what exactly to expect from Tom Brady and the Patriots. They were facing a strong and dangerous opponent in the Pittsburgh Steelers and had just undergone one of the more mentally trying off-seasons in recent history. Sure, many thought Tom Terrific would come out more terrific than ever due to being vindicated from Goodell, but there was always the frantic worry that Deflategate would take it’s toll on the future Hall of Famer. However, in true Patriots fashion, any doubt they may have had was set to rest completely by the end of the first half. Brady came out with fire in his eyes and a chip on his shoulder and the rest of the team followed suit, as they overpowered Big Ben and the Steelers. The tone set that night is the tone the Pats have been humming to all season long, and there is no expectation that that humming will be stopping anytime soon. The defense has been wobbly at times, but they have remained consistent enough to allow the offense to demolish the opposing defense. The Bills had no answer for Gronk and Julian Edelman as they combined for 210 receiving yards and the Jaguars had no answer for the Patriots offense as a whole, as they scored on every possession with the exception of the kneel down at the end of the game. They’ve dropped consecutive 40-point games, one of them against supposedly the best defense in the league in the Bills. In fact, the only time they’ve really been in danger of losing was when Buffalo stormed back from 17 down and could’ve tied the game on the final drive if not for cornerback Logan Ryan picking off Tyrod Taylor. Not a whole lot of other teams in the league can say that.

The only other team that could be considered in this conversation would be the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers is kind of on his own Revenge Tour due to the devastating loss he and the Pack suffered in the NFC Championship game. With the exception of a close game in week 1 against Chicago, the Pack have been on a tear. Rodgers is having another MVP type season and the defense hasn’t looked as bad as they were projected to be. The only reason the Patriots have been more

impressive is because one, they’ve been better offensively and defensively as a whole, and two, have had more impressive victories. And, yes, one could say that Green Bay has played Seattle and Kansas City, but the Seahawks have looked awful to start the year and the Chiefs have one of the worst offenses in the league. Also, they were at Lambeau for both of those games. The Patriots played an explosive Steelers team, beat a Buffalo squad that would’ve given an arm and a leg to beat them, and scored on every offensive possession against the Jags. I’m not saying it’s a landslide in terms of which team has been superior between Green Bay and New England, but in the end, the Defending Champs are the most impressive team through the first 3 weeks of the season.

 

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Adrian Peterson: Return to Greatness

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Photo credit: Joe Bielawa

Author: Jon Kuzma

Adrian Peterson is slowly but surely resurrecting his National Football League career. After spending all of last season off with a suspension. Peterson has returned to the Vikings and helped lead the team to a 2-1 record. The pairing of Peterson along side of Teddy Bridgewater has been a favorable combination for the Vikings this far. However the ground game has been clearly the reason for the Vikings overall success this year. The team ranks 3rd in total rushing yards with 144 yards per game. Adrian Peterson who Endzoneblog said was a great candidate for the M.V.P award is leading all NFL rushers with 291 yards. Validating Peterson’s claim that he is best rusher in the NFL. The Vikings were missing that big play capability that Peterson brings to the table all of last year. Now Peterson is on a mission to carry out his own personal justice for that suspension that kept him out of NFL action for all of 2014. He can do that by winning the rushing title and challenging Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady for the M.V.P award. It feels like it is almost certain that it will come down to those 3 finalist for the award. If Peterson is able to keep up this pace of 97 yards a game. He will finish the season around 1,552 yards rushing for the year. A great season for most backs but mediocre for Adrian Peterson’s standards who once rushed for 2,097 yards in a season. With Aaron Rodger looking to reclaim his M.V.P award it is up to Peterson to defy the odds and out perform Rodgers. To do so he will have to put up compelling numbers in either yards gained or touchdowns produced. On top of that Rodgers has maintained a clean image, and Adrian Peterson’s image has taken a shot over the last year. He will also have to overcome all of that in the voting to win those awards. If there is any football player to bet on though, it’s Adrian Peterson. He’ll surely return to greatness.

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Pass happy Ravens need to be more balanced in their approach:

Falcons at Ravens 10/19/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Baltimore Ravens have struggled this season stumbling to an 0-3 record on the year. In those 3 games the thing that stands out most when watching this Ravens team, is they are getting away from the fundamentals of successful football. In order to be successful in football you must first and foremost play effective defense. The Ravens are 27th in points surrendered on defense allowing 28 points a game. Which is completely different than the identity this team has established for itself since moving to Baltimore. The other noticeable problem seems to be the teams rushing attack or lack thereof. The team is rushing the ball for only 72 yards a game. Justin Forsett and company need to step up and make the most of every touch they get. Because the team has been falling behind in games the Ravens have had to pass more often to make up for the deficits they’ve faced. It’s up to those running backs to make this team want to run the ball again. As a running back if you make an impact that your team can’t ignore, the team will have to acknowledge your efforts and run the ball again. Even though this offense has got more production out of relying on Flacco’s arm. They have to get back to a run first mentality not only to become more balanced, but also to improve in the time of possession category. By having a better time of possession it keeps opposing offenses off of the field. It also give the Raven’s defense more time to rest and allows them to preserve more stamina when they do take the field. While it’s easy to say the line isn’t blocking upfront and the team has to pass. It is really up to the coaching staff to commit to running the ball and establishing that three yard and a cloud of dust mentality. Coach John Harbaugh finds himself on the hot seat for the first time in his career. It will be interesting to see if this team can over come the loss of Terrell Suggs. And whether or not they can get back to a more balanced attack. It’s the key to their success out there in Baltimore.

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