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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Brock Osweiler: Making a case to be somebody’s quarterback of the future

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Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall

Remember last year? When Peyton Manning’s back up was frustrated because when he was supposed to get some playing time. Peyton Manning chose to go back in the game. Well that back up might have had a legitimate reason for being upset. Brock Osweiler the Denver Broncos lesser known second string quarterback had an impressive debut in his first football start since his collegiate days. In the teams first preseason game Osweiler completed 15 of 20 passes for a 151 passing yards and 1 touchdown. Commanding the offense smoothly and showing that he very well might be a number 1 quarterback in the National Football League. With his contract expiring at the end of 2015, Osweiler may have put himself in a position that will have teams knocking at his door come free agency. Maybe when that time comes a team like the Bills, Jets, or Texans will try to lure the young passer away. While you don’t want to rule out the Broncos re-signing Osweiler, and they have said he is a priority. It’s clear from his frustration last year that Osweiler believes he can play and would like a chance to play. If you have a chance to go some where else and start your own legacy or re-sign with Denver and sit around another year in Peyton Manning’s shadow what would you do? It’s an easy choice. Osweiler will likely choose to sign somewhere else and get his career as an NFL starter on its way. We’ve seen other back ups like Matt Schuab, and Kevin Kolb elevate themselves to starter status and then fizzle out. Hopefully Osweiler will be able to overcome the back up odds and be another example of a quality player just taking a little bit longer to develop. He’ll likely get the chance somewhere this off-season if he keeps performing well in the preseason. Keep an eye on him.

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The Chargers make the right move re-signing Philip Rivers

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Photo credit: Keith Allison

The San Diego Chargers have to be happy about inking starting quarterback Phillip Rivers to a 4 year extension worth an additional 83.5 million dollars in total value to his existing contract. The deal will most likely keep lightning bolts on the signal callers helmet for the rest of his NFL career. Being able to spend all his NFL career in one location was something Rivers quoted as “special”. He went on to discuss how he grew up watching older players and how they always stayed with one franchise and was grateful he was able to do the same. Rivers admits that he has grown to love the community of San Diego, and would like to see the team stay in that area. Yet by signing this contract Rivers has committed to the team regardless of where they play in the future. Posting a career passer rating of 95.7 and 252 career touchdown passes, re-signing Rivers was clearly the best move for this football team. The other three quarterbacks on the Chargers roster Kellen Clemens,Chase Rettig, and Brad Sorensen are no where near the player that Rivers is. Nor do they know how to win at this level like Rivers does. Rivers would of been on the Chargers roster this year, but for future purposes it was still the right move to make this deal for San Diego’s front office. Now the team will be able to add playmakers at other positions during the draft and in free agency. Allowing the overall team talent to elevate. A process that would have been difficult if the Chargers had to waste a first round pick or big free agency money on a quarterback. The move will give the Chargers a long term plan and is another victory for General Manager Tom Telesco. Look for this team to again contend with the Denver Broncos for the AFC West division title and they should have a legitimate chance to return to the playoffs. It all starts with Rivers.

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Jadeveon Clowney must produce this year to avoid bust whispers:

 

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Photo credit: Instagram  Clowney_7

Jadeveon Clowney recorded only seven tackles in 2014. Seven tackles and he was the first overall pick in the 2014 draft. While maybe it’s unfair at this point to wonder if Clowney is indeed a bust. It’s clear that if he doesn’t produce more this year that there will be some validation to those “bust whispers”. The Texans are depending on this guy to come in and add another element to this defense next to the best player in the league in JJ Watt. Together the tandem playing together at an optimal level could be a dynamic pairing that could wreak havoc on opposing offenses for years to come. But in 2014 JJ Watt was the only partner in that duo that was holding up his end of play. It’s simple in order for Clowney to have success he must be on the field. While a major injury is something you can’t plan for, if there is even a chance you can play. You should play if you’re in Clowney’s shoes to prove that you’re committed to the Texans. They took Clowney number one overall to prove they’re committed to him, now it’s time that he proves he’s committed to them. Really to live up to expectations Clowney should register at least 7 sacks this year. While even if he has five you can say that is a start. We are talking about the number one overall pick here. Seven sacks from a number one overall pick is a legitimate goal. We all know the guy was a star in college but there were also some concerns with the guy’s character. As an outsider looking in on the situation one thing that quickly stands out is no matter if he plays or not, the guy is the center of attention. So he has no repercussions if he doesn’t play. The jury is still out if Clowney is a real football player at this level and is serious about playing in the National Football League. Maybe a couple months from now we will look back and laugh at this post for ever being written. Only time will tell.

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It’s time for RG3 to prove his worth to the Redskins:

Buccaneers at Redskins 11/16/14

Photo credit : Keith Allison

Robert Griffin the 3rd was a highly coveted rookie coming out of the University of Baylor. With an exceptionally smooth release and quick feet, the quarterback was the second overall pick in the 2012 draft with only Andrew Luck being drafted ahead of him. In fact the Washington Redskins chose Griffin over future NFL stand outs Luke Kuechly, Bruce Irvin, Russell Wilson, T.Y Hilton, and a list of other notable pros. A testament of just how much the Redskins believed in Griffin when he was coming out of college. Since then though Griffin has been inconsistent and injury prone for most of his career. He has played in just 37 games out of the expected 48. Where as Andrew Luck has played in all 48 games. Also the touchdown pass comparison between Luck and Griffin is also a notable factor. Griffin has posted up 40 total touchdown passes over his three year career, while Luck has posted up 86 total touchdown passes. It’s clear Luck has been over twice as good as Griffin in terms of production. He has even been nearly a fourth better at staying on the field (injury free) than Griffen as well. It’s hard to believe that some NFL executives around the league even had a doubt as to which quarterback was better in that draft, and the Redskins are finding that out the hard way. While each season the lights get a little bit more dim for RG3, it must be stated that he does have potential. He was taken number 2 overall in the first round for reason. When RG3 plays at an optimal level he can be a positive force for his team. In order to consistently play at that level though, he must make the transition to a traditional pocket passer and stop relying on his feet so much. In a system that focuses on rhythm and timing and quick throws Griffin might be able to have some success. It will be up to him to learn to trust himself from within the pocket and he must also be willing to take leadership more seriously off the field. Quarterback is a position where you have to be able to make calls at the line of scrimmage, pre snap reads, and checkdowns down the field. Much of this is learned in the film room while putting in the extra hours of research in order to be great. If Griffin really wants to prove his worth to the Redskins, he must show he can excel at those intangibles. Regardless its now or never for RG3.

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Tim Tebow is a perfect fit in Chip Kelly’s scheme:

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Photo Credit: Todd Shoemake

Will Tim Tebow makes the Eagles roster? No one knows the answer to that question except Chip Kelly and maybe Eagles Vice President of Football Operations Howard Roseman. Tebow came into the Eagles preseason game today as the fourth quarterback on the Eagles depth chart. Meaning he is likely the quarterback who will get cut when it comes time to trim the roster down. But after a standing ovation from the Philadelphia fans and a good showing from Tebow after a two year hiatus from football, things might have changed when it comes to Tebow’s future. The former University of Florida quarterback showed that he runs the read option offense very well, maybe even better than some of the other QB’s on the Eagles roster. A good sign for the left handed quarterback who was always exceptionally mobile. That mobility seems to get rewarded in Kelly’s system because a quarterback who can run adds a whole other dynamic to the zone read system. This is why quarterbacks such as Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton have had so much success. Their abilities seem to mesh better with the zone read system than say a traditional pocket passer quarterback. So why would it makes sense for the Eagles to keep three traditional pocket passers, instead of two traditional pocket passers and a mobile guy like Tebow? Some critics would say because Bradford, Sanchez, and Barkley are better than Tebow. Yet we all now Chip Kelly can be off the wall in his decision making. With Tebow being such a good fit in Kelly’s scheme it will be interesting to see if he makes this team or not. Don’t be surprised if he does.

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