James White and Dion Lewis can still get the job done for New England despite the loss LeGarrette Blount:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

VenueKings.com

The New England Patriots may have lost the league’s rushing touchdown leader in LeGarrette Blount, but that doesn’t mean the Patriots are going to suffer at the running back position. Not only did New England add Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead, they also are returning two key players in James White and Dion Lewis. While neither player has been exclusively featured in the lead running back position, both White and Lewis made the most of the limited opportunities they’ve received in the past. That will serve as an audition for the number 1 running back job and expect Bill Belichick to go with one of these guys as his starter because he knows exactly what they are capable of. White and Lewis understand the Patriots offense better than any of the new running backs the team has added and the trust factor is definitely there. On top of that James White is coming off an exceptional Super Bowl performance and truthfully White should have won the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award. When New England trailed Atlanta by a boatload of points early on, James White was the only player who was producing for the Patriots which essentially kept New England in the game. If White can thrive on the biggest stage in pro sports, there’s no doubt he can carry the load during the regular season. Dion Lewis is no slouch either, when Lewis is on it’s easy to see that the guy is blazing fast and can easily make defenders miss. Now when you compare both players side by side it feels like James White might start to get a little bit of an edge. Not only is White an exceptional passing catching option out of the backfield but Lewis is a little bit more injury prone as well. Ultimately Bill Belichick will want to go with the player he can count on most and while White and Lewis are very similar in playing style, the consistency James White brings to table should earn him the nod this upcoming season. Regardless though, these two players together should bring a heck of a punch in LeGarrette Blount’s absence.

Charity of the day: DonorsChoose.org

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Why ship jumping is everything that is wrong with pro sports in today’s era:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

VenueKings.com

With news coming out of New York that Brandon Marshall had to abandon the Jets because they were releasing a ton of players it was easy to sympathize for the veteran receiver. No aging player who is adamant about winning a championship wants to sit around and watch a team go completely down the drain. However at the same time what Marshall did was cowardly and is everything that is wrong with pro sports in today’s era. For example Kevin Durant recently bailed on the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors who were a shoo-in to win the NBA Championship. That move made the NBA season extremely boring and most sports fans don’t feel overly compelled to celebrate the Warriors second championship in three years. The reason why no one is praising Durant and why no one will praise Marshall if he wins a championship with the Giants is because both players took the easy way out. Could you imagine Michael Jordan leaving the Bulls when they couldn’t get passed the Pistons in the late 80’s? What if Jordan went to the Lakers after being trounced by Detroit back in 1988, pursuing a similar path that athletes choose today. How terrible would sports be now if we didn’t have the iconic moment of Jordan winning six championships in Chicago? The unfortunate reality is we are going to see what that would be like in the future because these current pro athletes lack of mental toughness is discouraging fans away from the sports that we’ve grown up loving. Why stick around in a tough situation when you can just skate for greener pastures and avoid adversity all together? In the old days players knew those tough times played a pivotal role in their own personal development. Now days players just want to look cool all the time and most of their achievements are superficial. It takes grit to stay loyal to a situation without being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It takes discipline and a whole lot of faith to know you’re playing for a losing team that may or may not turn it around. All of those qualities which were encased in the athletes of the past, which have built pro sports to what we know today are dying. Brandon Marshall is just another example of this and it’s sad that most players today just conform to the status quo of what everyone else is doing. Those patterns don’t seem to be going away anytime soon whether it’s football, basketball, baseball, etc. Brandon Marshall better be careful or he might be the next guy Peyton Manning is ripping on at the ESPYs.

Charity of the day: Prevent Cancer Foundation

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Time winding down: Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald both could be in their final season

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Author: Jon Kuzma

VenueKings.com

Arizona Cardinals veterans Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald are both in the twilight of their professional careers and it’s safe to say neither guy have very much time left in this league. With all due respect to the accomplishments that both Palmer and Fitzgerald have been able to accomplish, in the end every athlete gets defeated by father time. Even though Palmer and Fitzgerald might not have a foreseeable future beyond 2017, both players still have a chance to have a huge impact for their team. Palmer is the still the starting quarterback at 37 years old and he still plays the most important position in all of football. If Carson Palmer can recalculate his accuracy, decision making, and confidence there’s no telling what the former USC quarterback can do. At his best Palmer has been sensational and even won the Fed Ex Air Player of the Year award back in 2015. Palmer saw his touchdowns drop and his interceptions rise in 2016, so first and foremost Palmer has to take care of the football. By cutting down on turnovers Palmer can improve the Cardinals chances of winning games, everything else will fall in place from there. As far as Larry Fitzgerald goes, Fitzgerald is only 33 years old but is definitely feeling the lingering effects of going over the middle for the past fourteen seasons. Running backs and receivers get it pretty bad as far as health issues go because they are tackled so frequently. Fitzgerald has compiled 14,389 receiving yards and 104 receiving touchdowns over the course of his career. Those accomplishments will definitely help Larry Fitzgerald earn a Hall of Fame selection someday, and it’s been an outstanding run for both Fitzgerald and Palmer as both of their careers wind down. Arizona needs to make the most of this season and send both of those guys out with a bang. It will be tough to do that with a depleted roster so Fitzgerald and Palmer will have to be even better than usual in order for Arizona to make a push for a winning season.

Charity of the day: ChildFund International

Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Sean Lee is still going strong heading into 8th professional season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

VenueKings.com

The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East last year and Linebacker Sean Lee played outstanding recording 145 combined tackles. Those stats tell firsthand how exceptional Lee was for most the season and anytime a player has more than 100 tackles you have to take notice. Lee almost put up 150 tackles so it’s safe to this guy plays sideline to sideline and he does a great job of cleaning up plays that are around him. Outside backer is a unique position because you have to be a run stopper and you also have to be able to play laterally extremely well when you’re a Sam or Will linebacker. Sean Lee is outstanding with his pursuit angles and he can scrape across the field piling up a number of tackles quickly. Lee’s terrific season was big reason the Cowboys got the job done on the defensive side of the ball in 2016. Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett know they can always count on number 50 to lay it all out on the field, which is exactly why the Cowboys signed Lee to a six year $42 million dollar contract back in 2013. That deal will keep Sean Lee in a Dallas uniform until at least 2020 which is a great accomplishment considering the Cowboys are the highest valued professional sports franchise in the world. For the foreseeable future Sean Lee will be the face of the Cowboys defense. Ever since coming out of Penn State back in 2010 as a second round draft pick, Lee has been a hard working and extremely prolific linebacker. There’s just not a lot of guys that can do what Sean Lee consistently does and as long as Lee can stay healthy he will continue to have success on the football field. The question is whether or not Lee will ever win a Super Bowl before his career is finished?

Charity of the day: ChildFund International

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DeShone Kizer is making a serious push for the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback job, will Hue Jackson give the rookie QB the nod though?

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Author: Jon Kuzma

VenueKings.com

With news coming out of Cleveland that DeShone Kizer has started splitting first team reps with starting quarterback Cody Kessler, it’s safe to say we have a position battle on our hands. Early in off-season work outs Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson said Kessler was indeed the starter but that was before a lot of drill work and practices took place. After getting a good look at Kizer it’s clear Jackson sees a very special talent in the first year player and those abilities could be everything Cleveland needs to turn around their franchise. With the Brown finishing 2016 with a 1-15 record, Jackson needs to win immediately to retain his job and Kizer could be just the playmaker to help him do so. DeShone Kizer is more athletic than Kessler and Brock Osweiler, Kizer also has a much better NFL frame for a quarterback than those other guys as well. The only area in which Kizer looses an edge is in the consistency part of things and on short / medium length throws. That’s a part of the game in which Cody Kessler handles particularly well and if Kizer can even get in the same ball park as Kessler when it comes to the short passing game, he will be the day 1 starter. There’s just too much upside with DeShone Kizer and the Browns want to unleash Corey Coleman who has shown remarkable promise early in his career. By pairing Coleman along with Kizer the Browns have a young nucleus that can compete, when you also factor in the new addition of David NJoku you can see how vastly improved this team is looking. Jackson can’t afford to play it safe with Kessler as much as he respects the guy for getting him through 2016. 2017 is a new season and the Browns should do everything they can to distance themselves from the 1-15 record they finished with a season ago. Jackson knows this more than anyone else in the Browns facility and DeShone Kizer is Hue Jackson’s best chance at saving his job. Expect a new sheriff in Cleveland when week 1 arrives, DeShone Kizer.

Charity of the day Junior Achievement USA

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