Earl Thomas will look to hit the ground running after breaking his leg a season ago:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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It was clear that the Seattle Seahawks missed Earl Thomas in the playoffs and now Thomas is doing everything he can to make a full recovery from the broken leg he suffered in week 13 a season ago. Thomas will have to get his confidence back in the injured tibia and that means he has to feel good about cutting and planting on the left limb. So far Thomas has been adamant that he feels great but things will be much different when it’s game day and Thomas has to compete. In order to be successful in football you have to play very instinctively and you can’t have any doubt when it comes to a lingering injury. That’s why players should seriously consider taking their time to heal up properly because you can’t react effectively with a banged up body. Thomas is such a game breaker on the back end of the Seahawks defense, so the team definitely need this guy on the field. The question is whether or not Earl Thomas will ever be able to get back to the player he once was? At 28 years old Thomas has already been to 5 Pro Bowls and is a Super Bowl Champion. However the Seahawks safety has never faced a challenge like he is going through right now. Thomas was forthcoming in the fact that this is his first serious injury he has had to face in his playing career. With some much success in Thomas’ rear view mirror you have to wonder how much the veteran has left in the tank? Earl Thomas can certainly get the job done from an abilities stand point but does he truly have the motivation to get back up on the horse after getting kicked in the teeth? We all know players get more complacent as they get older and more successful. It’s just easier to be happy with your accomplishments when you put together a significant body of work. Those things are the type of adversity Earl Thomas is facing and it’s safe to say he still has a little bit of an uphill battle to tackle. Still you have to respect the guy’s decision to comeback and so far Thomas has been ecstatic to be back around his teammates playing the game he loves.

Charity of the day: National Alliance to End Homelessness

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Jarvis Landry has got the job done for the Miami Dolphins over his first three seasons:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry is entering his 4th season and Landry is coming off back to back 1,000 yard seasons. In fact Landry has 3,051 yards over the duration of his career, so he is averaging over 1,000 yards a year. Those numbers tell you that Landry has been exceptional production wise and he is definitely the Dolphins first receiving option. Now with the Dolphins making it to the postseason in 2016, Miami has a brighter future than they’ve had in very long time. The next step for this football team will be getting out of the wild card round and really putting together a run for a championship. In order for that to happen Landry has to be able to play his best football on the biggest stages. Landry put up over 100 yards last year in Miami’s playoff loss against the Steelers however he didn’t score a single touchdown in that performance. Which really seems to be Jarvis Landry’s biggest flaw in his game which is the fact that he doesn’t find the end zone enough. In those postseason battles you need every point you can get and Landry has to put up more TD’s in the regular season and the playoffs. Outside of that though number 14 is an extremely gifted blocker and plays with maximum effort on every play. It’s also impressive to see Landry with the ball in hands racking up yards after the catch. There’s been countless number of times when Jarvis Landry has refused to be tackled and finished the down with a big play. Miami’s offense needs those contributions and really the other guys on the roster have to step up and match Landry’s intensity. There’s no doubt the former LSU receiver is a leader in Miami’s locker room and also one of the Dolphins best players hands down.

Charity of the day: National Alliance to End Homelessness

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If Carlos Hyde can stay healthy he has a chance to be one of the better running backs in the league:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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San Francisco 49ers Running Back Carlos Hyde fell just short of 1,000 yards last year but it has to be mentioned that Hyde missed three games in 2016. Had Hyde been healthy he would have certainly cracked the 1K mark and truthfully Hyde is one of the game’s better running backs. San Francisco really struggled a season ago only recording two wins for the whole year. In order to improve on that total this upcoming season the Niners will need Carlos Hyde at his best. Hyde scored 9 touchdowns all of last year and it’s clear the guy has a knack for making defenders miss. Kyle Shanahan will lean on Hyde’s abilities often in 2017, especially since the 49ers don’t have any outstanding quarterbacks on their roster. The ground game will be a safer bet than passing the ball for San Francisco and Shanahan will understand this completely being an excellent play caller. The other thing that Carlos Hyde has to improve on is his ball security skills. Hyde fumbled the ball 5 different times in 2016 and the 49ers ended up losing 3 of those fumbles. No elite running back in this league turns the ball over that much and there’s no doubt it’s an area in which the 26 year old running back must improve. Overall though you can’t say enough positive things about Carlos Hyde, he consistently runs hard and often moves the sticks for the 49ers offense. At 235 pounds Hyde is also a load running the football and he isn’t afraid to put his head down and bulldoze defenders. When you also add in the fact that Hyde is very elusive and has a spin move that can make defenders come out of their cleats. You being to realize just how well rounded Carlos Hyde is as a football player. The 49ers are lucky to have this guy on their roster.

Charity of the day: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

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Philadelphia loaded up on the offensive side of the ball in hopes of becoming a contender again:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Not many teams have loaded up on the offensive side of the ball like the Philadelphia Eagles have done this off-season. First the Eagles landed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith then the Eagles made waves by signing LeGarrette Blount. Those three moves alone could have such a significant impact for the Eagles franchise and it’s safe to say Carson Wentz will be stacked with talent around him. Last year Philadelphia ranked 22nd in total offense averaging 337 yards per game. It would be a pretty safe bet to say the Eagles will improve on that ranking in 2017. There’s just too many playmakers on this offense not to be better than a season ago. Talent ultimately wins football games and there is no doubt about it the Eagles have a much more talented roster that they did in 2016. When you also factor in that Wentz will be a year better in his own progression, you can see why the Eagles are definitely trending upward. Blount should take a lot of pressure off Philadelphia’s passing game as well. The Eagles ranked 11th in the league rushing wise last year and that was without Blount on their roster. If LeGarrette Blount can be evan a fraction as good as he was with Patriots, then there is no doubt that the future is unbelievable bright for Philly. Right now this team has all the key pieces to be a successful football team, the next step will be putting the puzzle together and making everything come to life. The wide receivers are better than they’ve been in awhile, the running backs are shaping up nicely, it’s really about execution from this point forward. If the Philadelphia Eagles can gel and develop some cohesion they should be a tough team to beat in the NFC East. Offensive weapons equal points in this league.

Charity of the day: Brookings Institution

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Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin are the lifeblood of the Raiders pass rush, together they recorded 18 sacks in 2016:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Raiders are coming off their first playoff appearance since 2002 and now Oakland has to build upon their postseason success. In order to do that Oakland first has to get back to playoffs in 2017 and the x factor for this team could be how well their defense plays down the stretch? Luckily for the Raiders they have Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin two players who can pack enough punch on their own for an entire defense. Mack and Irvin recorded 18 sacks in 2016 and those are big time defensive plays which help Oakland significantly increase their chances of winning. If the Raiders should see a team like the Patriots or Steelers in January, the best chance the Silver and Black have are in Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin’s ability to rattle Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger. Not only can Mack and Irvin provide a pass rush that can shake up the league’s marquee passers, they both combined for 11 forced fumbles a season ago as well. So you’re talking about two very disruptive football players that bring maximum intensity on every single down. The challenge for Oakland will be whether or now they can get some help from their role players outside of Mack and Irvin? Stacy McGee and Denico Autry were the only two other players on the Raiders who contributed anything to the sack statistic column. McGee and Autry each only had 2.5 sack apiece, in order for the Raiders to take the next step defensively someone else has to elevate their game. Whether that’s Shilique Calhoun, James Cowser, or Eddie Vanderdoes it doesn’t really matter as long as someone provides a spark outside of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. Everyone talks about how dynamic the Raiders offense is and they should because they’ve earned it. However it could be the Raiders defense who are key to success because at the end of the day Oakland has two defensive stars who can take over a football game. There’s no doubt Mack and Irvin will lead the charge for Raider Nation again this upcoming season.

Charity of the day: Brookings Institution

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