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.

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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.

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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.

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No cornerback has been as impressive as Marcus Peters over their first two seasons, Canton is already inquiring:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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If you are looking for the best cornerback with two seasons of professional experience there has been no one quite as impressive as the Kansas City Chiefs’ Marcus Peters. After being drafted by the Chiefs in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Peters has quietly become the best corner of all time over the first two seasons of any defensive back’s career. You’re talking about guys like Deion Sanders, Rod Woodson, Champ Bailey, Charles Woodson, and Mel Blount who are some of the greatest football players to ever play the game. Yet all of those players were inferior stat wise than Marcus Peters over their first two seasons and that says something about Peters’ playmaking abilities. At any time Marcus Peters can intercept a pass and take it for six points in the other direction. Those plays can be the difference between winning and losing football games, Andy Reid understood this and he made a heck of a selection when took Peters out of the University of Washington. Now entering his third season Peters will look to further establish his legacy. For a player of Peters’ caliber that means at least having 5 interceptions in a season. Peters has had 14 INTs over his first two years and it’s going to be extremely tough to keep up that 7 interceptions a year average. Quarterbacks in the league know not to test Marcus Peters now and there will be a lot less throws coming Peters way in 2017. Regardless though if Peters can get his hands on at least 5 passes this upcoming season, it will continue the historic run that Peters has been able to put together thus far. We’re talking about the most promising young cornerback that the league has maybe ever seen in Marcus Peters. So it’s safe to say the future is certainly bright for the 24 year old defensive back and expect him to be mentioned as future Hall of Famer shortly.

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A.J Green had his worst season as a pro last year, is it time to be concerned?

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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A.J Green had five straight 1,000 yard seasons entering 2016 but that streak came to an end when Green finished the year with 964 receiving yards. Not only was that a career low in yardage Green also struggled posting his lowest touchdown total (4) of his career too. The reason why Green’s stats were so poor was due to the fact that he suffered a grade two hamstring tear last November. That injury eventually caused A.J Green to be placed on injured reserve and that was uncharted territory for Green. Ever since joining the NFL A.J Green has done nothing but had success, which means facing adversity is something new to the Bengals receiver. In order to get back to the player he once was Green will have to effectively rehabilitate his hamstring and then stay healthy when he does get back to 100%. It’s so easy to tweak that muscle again and re-injure the back of leg which helps Green dig into the ground to propel his body forward. Without a clean unhitched stride it will be tough for A.J Green to get the separation he needs from NFL defensive backs. The good news for the Bengals is if Green can get pass the injury which nagged him a season ago, he should return to elite status. Green is 28 years old so you have to believe there is at least three productive seasons left in his future. If Cincinnati has any shot at getting back to the postseason it will be done by riding Green’s production. If Andy Dalton and Green both have a big year that could help propel this football team back into upper echelon contention. The Steelers are looking outstanding in the AFC North but every year there is a surprise team that shakes things up a bit. Cincinnati has to make that their goal and turn the status quo upside down.

Charity of the day: Trout Unlimited

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