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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Charity of the day: Coalition for the Homeless

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It’s time for the Kirk Cousins era to begin in Washington:

Seahawks at Redskins 10/6/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

With former Washington Redskins’ coach Mike Shanahan coming out and publicly praising Kirk Cousins. It just adds more pressure to starting Washington quarterback Robert Griffin. Griffin got rocked last night in the Redskins preseason game against the Lions and ended up with his second professional concussion. A bad sign for the former first rounder and his time as the teams’s starter might be coming to an end. The guy who looks best suited to fill the team’s void at quarterback is indeed Cousins. Entering his fourth season of NFL action Cousins has showed some poise in his limited action. He finished 2014 with 10 touchdowns and 1,710 passing yards in only 6 games played. One thing that people in the Washington organization seem to praise about Cousins, is the fact that he is a high character guy. Cousins spent his collegiate days at Michigan State under coach Mark Dantonio. A guy who is no slouch in the college coaching ranks and is single handedly responsible for turning around the Michigan State football program. During his time there Cousins was able to become the most successful quarterback to ever come out of Michigan State. Posting 27 wins while at East Lansing. Those trials of competing every week in the Big 10 and studying under coach Dantonio now serve as a foundation for Cousins. The good habits he’s formed during that time are what has allowed him to patiently wait for head coach Jay Gruden to call his number. Now as RG3 seems to be struggling to live up to the grueling NFL expectations. It’s time for the Redskins to look to Kirk Cousins. When you plug in the film and watch the highlights its clear. Cousins mechanically is more sound, he reads the field better, and he does a better job of going through his progressions. Instead of RG3 getting flustered and fleeing the pocket, Cousins rather will trust his offensive line and rely on his footwork. Allowing the offense to operate overall more efficiently. If the Redskins can become a run first football team and allow Cousins to manage the game they should be alright. The thing they can’t do is come out and have a  20-80 run to pass ratio. Not many quarterbacks can have success dropping back and passing that many times a game. And even the best quarterbacks in the league tend to have more success when their teams also have a solid rushing attack going. The Redskins can take a huge step forward by following this formula and moving ahead with Cousins. When you have a guy who is better attitude and production wise, it’s clearly the right choice.

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Charity of the day: Coalition for the Homeless

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Manziel needs to start or Pettine needs to go:

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Photo credit: Erik Drost

An interesting turn events have taken place in Cleveland. The guy Mike Pettine seemed reluctant to endorse (Johnny Manziel) is now the best option to win football games for the Browns. Nothing could have made that more clear than tonights game against the Buffalo Bills. While Josh McCown struggled against the Bills defense throwing 2 interceptions and looking shaky at times. Manziel improved his NFL stock by throwing for 118 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown would put the Browns ahead for a short period of time before the Bills would eventually come back and win the game on a 2pt conversion in the late fourth quarter. However one thing remained clear walking away from all this, it’s Johnny Football time in Cleveland. Pettine might not like, if you’ve watched the interviews he has had on Manziel the last two years you can read between the lines that he doesn’t like Manziel. But at this point Pettine’s job should be on the line if he doesn’t start the youngster. Part of being an NFL coach is being impartial and unbiased. Neither of which Pettine has been towards Manziel. Truthfully the Browns would have been in an even better situation now if they started Manziel all last year and let him take his lumps. Now though regardless it’s time for the former Texas A and M Aggies signal caller to lead things down in Ohio. Yea Manziel in some aspects can be brash, and somewhat arrogant. At the end of the day though he is the only one with enough moxie to lead this football team. Look McCown was a good player. He overachieved during his NFL reign managing to become an NFL journeyman when his career shouldn’t have even been that long. Manziel on other hand has been a football star most of his life and there is a reason he has earned that reputation. The former Heisman trophy winner and SEC stand out has earned his prestige on the field and has worked hard off the field to clean up his image. The guy has proved he is invested in Cleveland, it’s time Cleveland show they’re invested in him. The dog pound will be throwing up the money sign shortly.

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The evolution of Tyrod Taylor:

Jaguars at Ravens 12/14/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

A product of your environment is an adage that is commonly used to refer to someone who acts a certain way due to their environment. Tyrod Taylor is a product of the NFL environment. After spending 4 seasons in Baltimore. And going through all of the NFL mini-camps, all the NFL preseasons, and regular seasons. Tyrod Taylor has ultimately become an NFL quarterback. One that is worthy of starting in the National Football League. Taylor is a living example of what determination, hard work, and repetition in a field of work can do. While he was a successful college passer at Virginia Tech, his skills didn’t immediately translate to the National Football League. He spent four years in the Raven’s system with little hope of cracking Joe Flacco for the starting position. While at the time it may have looked like a failure for Taylor sitting behind Flacco. That hunger has driven Taylor to develop himself into a fine football player. He ultimately signed with the Buffalo Bills in the off-season because Rex Ryan previously tried to trade for Taylor when he was with the Jets. That vote of confidence from Ryan made signing with the Bills a no brainer for Taylor. Since arriving in Buffalo Taylor has done nothing but validate Ryan’s assessment. He’s been outstanding in all the training camp sessions this off-season, and has even received high praise from Bills’ G.M Doug Whaley. Now tonight as the Bills take on the Browns Taylor will look to solidify himself as the regular season starter by supplanting Matt Cassel. While in most circumstances the traditional pocket passer style like Cassel’s usually wins in these situations. With all the praise that Taylor is receiving it might be the more mobile quarterback coming out on top this time. It all starts with a good performance tonight.

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Just asking for trouble. Joint practice isn’t the best idea:

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Photo credit: Erik Drost

The thing is with NFL joint practices is they are raw. They are raw in the sense that they don’t have the refs there to keep everything under control. Joint practices also don’t have a bunch of fans and national television serving as a witness to everything that goes on. The teams are less reluctant to exhibit control of themselves in terms of fighting as they would against their own teammates. Because honestly you’re not going to have to go to work with this guy everyday after if you do fight him. On top of that it’s hot in August, guys are drug away from their homes to compete in what feels like a mini football game with little value. There is just a lot of downside to the whole idea. Why can’t you get those additional reps from preseason games? You practice against your teammates up to the preseason, then you get to hit someone else during the preseason. Sounds like a recipe for success but the NFL keeps implementing these joint practices. Maybe not for much longer though. The Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams were supposed to have a productive joint practice yesterday in Oxnard California. That was until all mayhem broke lose. The practice was cut short when several scuffles took place eventually leading to an all out two team fight. Star receiver Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys was punched directly in the face while helmetless. The video of Dez getting punched is now circling around the internet as is the video footage of the rest of the fights. And from all of this one conclusion is clear, joint practices just don’t work. In fact they are so bad that the Cowboys just a year earlier were in a similar situation when they fought the Oakland Raiders in a joint practice. Even today holy man Tim Tebow had to prevent a fight from happening at an Eagles and Ravens joint practice.
How long will this flawed formula be used before someone truly gets hurt. The NFL has chose not to do anything about this preseason approach and continuously receives a black eye from their inaction. While bad P.R is something the league can live with a serious injury from fighting is not. It’s time we put an end to joint practices and save that action for the regular season.

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Ryan Tannehill has to Play at a High Level to Elevate the Dolphins:

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins

Photo credit: June Rivera

It was hard to get behind the Miami Dolphins mega deal signing of Ryan Tannehill. While he put up good numbers last year with 27 touchdowns, and 4,000 passing yards. It’s hard to see him as the guy that will elevate that team. You can’t dispute his numbers last year they were impressive. Yet when you plug in the game film and watch Tannehill he comes off as a somewhat inconsistent player on the field. He has glimpses of greatness where his throws are on the money, and he does everything right. During that time he will occasionally have a successful run of about 15 yards here or there, and look like a quarterback that can do a few things well. However if you go back and watch the games last year against Detroit and Denver you will begin to see the Tannehill that makes you worried. Especially if you just gave him a 96 million dollar contract like the Miami Dolphins did this offense season. On those two films Tannehill was consistently pressured and crumbled time after time. To be fair most QB’s in the NFL crumble too a good pass rush. Yet Tannehill’s body language is what has to scare the Miami Dolphins most. He looks uncomfortable at times in his passing mechanics. Sometimes his throws look forced instead of fluent like the other quarterbacks in the league. Much of that is most likely due to the fact that Tannehill only started for one full year at quarterback during his college days at Texas A.M. That was his senior season in 2011 where he passed for 29 touchdowns and 3,744 yards. While those numbers were again impressive what is really hurting Tannehill is his lack of repetition at the quarterback position. He doesn’t have that 3, or 4 years of college quarterback polish like most of the other guys in the league do. So while Tannehill has proved he is an exceptional athlete, he still has to progress as passer in this league. And if there are any doubts at all as to whether or not a quarterback can throw the football its probably best not to give him a 96 million dollar contract. The Dolphins made a bold move with this one. They say fortune favors the bold. The Dolphins sure better hope so.

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Demarco Murray Will Have to Fend Off Adrian Peterson this Time Around for the NFL Rushing Title:

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Photo credit:  Joe Bielawa

Demarco Murray was the most prolific rusher in NFL action last season. Rushing for 1,845 yards Murray was able to bring the rushing title back home to Dallas for the first time since 1995 (Emmitt Smith was that winner). A lot has changed since that time though, Murry now plays for the Cowboy’s rival the Philadelphia Eagles. He chose to sign with the team in the off-season via free agency. While the move was a shocker too many, the system will fit well for Murray who will undoubtedly get a majority of the touches. There is the threat of having to share a few carries with Darren Sproles, but those numbers should go down due to the fact that Sproles is beginning to age. With a zone blocking system in play Murray’s one cut style of running should blend well with Chip Kelly’s offense and you should look for a big year from Murray. There is one person however out there who might have the potential to dethrone Murray from NFL rusher immortality. His name is Adrian Peterson, the 2012 NFL rushing champion and the 2013 rushing champion runner-up. Peterson has been the standard of outstanding running backs nearly all of his career. After having to take a year off for some off the field issues, Peterson is back and poised to have another big season. It was reported that Peterson was unhappy with the Vikings all off-season and wanted to play with the Dallas Cowboys instead. Apparently the rusher has had a change of heart because he restructured his deal with the Minnesota Vikings and will continue his career in Minnesota. The reports from around the league coming out of Minnesota are also saying Peterson looks like he hasn’t missed a day. Looking like his old self at training camp for the Vikings. He’ll get his shot at cracking Murray and regaining his crown as the NFL’s best rusher. Something definitely worth keeping your eye on this season.

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Eli Manning Doesn’t Deserve to be the Highest Paid Player in the NFL:

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Photo credit:  Mike Morbeck

Look we respect Eli Manning at endzoneblog.com. We recognize that his two Super Bowl wins are more than his brother Peyton has accomplished. We understand that he did it in the spotlight of the New York media, which is the toughest in the world. We praise the fact that he had an outstanding Wonderlic mental aptitude test of 39. Which was smarter than Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Phillip Rivers, Drew Brees and a host of other NFL quarterbacks (including brother Peyton). We like the fact that he passed for 4,400 yards last year and an outstanding 30 touchdowns. But despite all of that, the best player in the league should be making the most money. The best player at that position Super Bowl wins wise is Tom Brady. The best player at that position stats wise the last several years has been Drew Brees. Either one of those guys having those credentials and playing the most important position on the field (Even though Eli plays the same position). Would have merit if they were the highest paid player. The real unfortunate thing is Eli will likely get his contract and be the highest paid player in the league. That is the world we live in today. Where the latest contract out will always be the biggest contract out. Players want to test the boundaries of how much they can be compensated. On the opposite end owners want too outspend each other too prove they’re truly doing their due diligence for their team. We’ve seen this trend in nearly every other sport and football is no different.It’s a vicious cycle and it will ultimately reward Eli Manning, even though he doesn’t truly deserve it.

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