Julian Edelman’s MVP performance proved he was the best weapon on the field in Super Bowl LIII. New England captured their 6th Vince Lombardi Trophy with a 13-3 win over Los Angeles:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The New England Patriots knew it wasn’t going to be easy and to be honest both team struggled to get any offense going in Super Bowl LIII. Luckily the Patriots had one guy who did step up in that scoring drought and it was veteran receiver Julian Edelman. Edelman was spectacular for New England racking up 10 receptions for 141 yards. It seemed like Tom Brady went to his reliable pass catcher on every single third down and the Rams struggled to make adjustments. This will go down as one of the single greatest receiver performances just because it was such a defensive battle. One player was cut above the rest and it ended up being the 32 year old Julian Edelman. Brady threw for 500 yards in last year’s Super Bowl but he only had 262 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception in this year’s event. It felt like watching Peyton Manning at the end of his career in the sense that the Patriots trusted their running game more than they have in the past. That’s because Brady is aging but clearly they can still get the job done with the greatest quarterback of all-time. The real star of the game though was Bill Belichick with x and os. He was far superior than Sean McVay and it showed on the field. Los Angeles never got in the end zone and it’s hard to win when you only put up 3 points. Jared Goff threw for 229 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception but it wasn’t good enough. Brandin Cooks did have 120 receiving yards but at some point someone has to get in for 6. Wade Phillips did keep the match-up close and LA had an opportunity to win it in the 4th quarter. However Brady and the Patriots’ offense would score 10 points and the Rams stalled out. The rest is history and it was clearly a special night for Edelman. It wasn’t the most exciting Super Bowl but at least the New England Patriots are heading back to Foxborough with their 6th championship.

Charity of the day: Covenant House & Affiliates

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Julian Edelman’s MVP performance helped the New England Patriots win their 6th Super Bowl.

Patrick Mahomes won MVP plus Offensive Player of the Year and he’s quickly becoming the face of the NFL:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Overall it was a great year for Patrick Mahomes. Even though the Chiefs came up short of the Super Bowl. Mahomes still dominated individually throwing for 50 touchdowns and 5,097 yards. That helped Kansas City’s quarterback win MVP and Offensive Player of the Year honors which is amazing considering that Mahomes is a first year starter. Andy Reid knew he had a future star and that’s why he traded Alex Smith. However there’s no way anyone could’ve predicted this is how high Mahomes would go. The former Tech Tech signal caller went from someone with a lot of potential to possibly being one of the greatest quarterbacks who’s ever graced our sport. All year Mahomes showed off and proved he’s superior to the competition. Whether it was throwing a deep pass while on the run or a launching a sidewinder through traffic. It got so ridiculous that at one point Mahomes even completed a pass left handed and that was a moment that showed how easy everything came for him. If you go back to the early 90s quarterback play was almost nonexistent and you rarely saw anyone air it out for 30 touchdowns in a season. Today’s game is totally the opposite and he’s the third QB to throw for 50 touchdowns. Mahomes joined Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in that exclusive club and those guys didn’t do it until much later in their careers. It’s very possible that this could be a yearly thing from the 23 year old (Mahomes) and it’s evident that he’ll be the NFL’s brand ambassador moving forward. He created such a buzz that fans were drawn to the games because it was just so exciting to watch. Kansas City will be a playoff team as long as this guy is under center and the next step will be making out of the AFC side of the bracket. That’s easier said than done but you have to believe it’s possible with Patrick Mahomes leading the charge.

Charity of the day: Pathfinder International

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Patrick Mahomes is quickly becoming the face of the NFL.

Darius Leonard captured the Defensive Rookie of the Year award after a dominant start to his career:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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If you exclude Aaron Donald then no defender was better than Darius Leonard in 2018. The 2nd round pick out of South Carolina State was an impact player ever since stepping on the field for Indianapolis. Leonard led the entire NFL with 163 tackles and that helped him earn All-Pro and Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. We’re witnessing the next great linebacker solidify himself and the Colts improved defensively because they have such a stellar athlete leading the way. Very few people have the instincts to come out and diagnose plays like Leonard did. It seemed like he knew exactly what the offenses were calling and it’s hard to beat Indianapolis when one guy is dominating like that. It got to the point where running in Darius Leonard’s direction was just asking for trouble. Having a defender that can dictate where or not an offense can attack is crucial and we’re all waiting for the 2019 season. Everyone wants to see if Leonard can repeat his league leading output and come back with another monster year? Based off what you see on tape it feels like Leonard is the real deal and he’s here to stay. That’s good news because Andrew Luck completely resurrected Indy on the other side of the ball. Which means Leonard must captain the ship on defense and make sure they keep points off the board. That’s the role you’re cast in when you have a campaign like Leonard was able to put together. Chris Ballard and Frank Reich are excited about the foundation he was able to lie and now it’s about taking it day by day and getting a little bit better. Leonard made it to the top and from here on out it’s about maintaining that position. Which isn’t going to be easy to do because the NFL is hypercompetitive.

Charity of the day: Pathfinder International

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Down and out. The Miami Dolphins have decided that sticking with Ryan Tannehill would be a waste of time:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Everything started off great when the Miami Dolphins selected Ryan Tannehill in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The fans in South Florida were hoping that Tannehill could be on par with Dan Marino and be the franchise’s next great quarterback. However several years later it’s another miss for the Dolphins and now it looks like they’ll end up releasing Tannehill. This definitely changes the makeup of the team because now they have to find the next guy to build around. There’s already been some reports that Miami plans on tanking in 2019 and drafting Tua Tagovailoa. Truthfully that’s a bad course of action because it will cause morale to plummet. Not only would the players be a lot less productive but the media and press would create a toxic environment. So trying to hold out for Tagovailoa isn’t a great plan and the front office should address the position in the upcoming draft. Daniel Jones, Kyler Murray, and Will Grier could all be on the board. The other option would be trading up and landing someone like Dwayne Haskins or Drew Lock. Here’s another scenario though and it might work to perfection for the Dolphins. What if they drafted the best players available for their first two picks (excluding a QB). Then in the 3rd round took a shot on someone like Tyree Jackson out of Buffalo. Jackson looked outstanding at the Senior Bowl and there’s clearly some substance to his game. Tannehill is a a decent player and his 123 touchdowns and only 75 interceptions prove that. However Jackson will bring a confidence to South Beach that hasn’t been seen there in quite a bit of time. Going that route would also leave this organization with options should they want to get a QB in the first round later on. As far as Tannehill goes he’ll have to find his next job and there’s a lot of speculation that he’ll wind up in Cincinnati. The Bengals plan on hiring Zac Taylor and he spent time with Tannehill at Texas A and M and with the Miami Dolphins. Maybe those two will wind up ushering in a new era of football in Ohio?

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Down and out. The Miami Dolphins will release Ryan Tannehill this off-season.

Anthony Miller showed a lot of promise in his first season. The Bears had one of the most exciting rookie receivers in the game:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Chicago Bears knew they needed a little bit of help at the wide receiver position and that’s why they drafted Anthony Miller in the 2nd round a year ago. Miller was known for making plays at the University of Memphis and he hasn’t skipped a beat in the NFL. When you watch the 5-11 190 pound pass catcher play he almost reminds you of Jarvis Landry. That’s because Miller isn’t the fastest receiver but he does have sure hands. It’s also impressive how good he’s been in the red zone. Miller caught 7 touchdowns as a rookie and that set the bar high for what’s to come. It doesn’t feel like this is a fluke either the Bears definitely have something in the 24 year old. Allen Robinson didn’t play great coming back from an ACL injury either. So it was huge that Anthony Miller stepped up and played a bigger role than most rookies normally would’ve. You better believe that experience is going to be crucial for him in the years to come and Chicago really needs their offense to take the next step. That’s the weakest link of their team and maybe Miller will help turn things around? In this second season he really needs to improve in the yardage category. Miller only recorded 423 yards and the best receivers in the league go over the 1,000 yards mark. By taking on more responsibility in that phase of the game then Miller can give the Bears a significant boost. Overall though you have to look back on everything he’s done up to this point and consider it a success. You never know how someone is going to stack up against the next level of competition but you have to be optimistic about the Windy City wide out. Mitchell Trubisky is going target Anthony Miller a lot in the future.

Charity of the day: Operation Homefront

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Anthony Miller was one of the best rookie receivers in the National Football League.

Zay Jones is proving to be reliable for the Buffalo Bills. Jones took big steps in his second NFL season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Buffalo Bills drafted Zay Jones in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft and clearly they had high expectations for the former East Carolina receiver. Jones rookie season was a little bit rough but he developed a lot in his first off-season. That led to Jones coming back as a much better version of himself in 2018. The result was 652 receiving yards and 7 touchdown receptions. The Bills needed someone to step up and be Josh Allen’s main guy in the passing game. Jones answered the call and it’s definitely provided some excitement in Western New York. What Jones always seems to do well is come down with the contested catch. There was plenty of times on film that he would haul in a pass in traffic and immediately absorb some contact. Obviously having a 6’2” 200 pound frame helps but he’s also quick and can beat defenders with some good route running. After Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins failed to live up to the hype in Buffalo it’s good to see one of their draft picks finally pan out. Now hopefully the Bills can keep the 23 year old for the long haul because that franchise has trouble retaining talent. There’s more desirable places to live and some other team will try to lure Jones away in free agency. His contract runs up in a couple of years but if everything works out with Allen maybe Jones will be compelled to stay. Once this organization gets to the point when the players they draft want to stick around. That’s when everything is going to change for the better. Zay Jones has a huge opportunity ahead of him. Not only can he be someone who gets it done by making plays on the field but he can also serve as brand ambassador of the Bills by sticking with them. It’s the feel good story everyone wants to hear about.

Charity of the day: Operation Homefront

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Zay Jones took some big steps in his second NFL season. Now he’s becoming one of the focal points of the Bills’ offense.

The Cowboys need to bite the bullet and sign Demarcus Lawrence to a long term contract. Keeping their defense intact will ensure that Dallas is a contender for years to come:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Dallas Cowboys are heading into the off-season once again and everyone is wondering what they’ll do with Demarcus Lawrence? The 26 year old defensive end is a free agent and it’s basically now or never for Dallas. Franchise Tagging Lawrence again would be a massive hit to the Cowboys’ salary cap. So it feels like Jerry Jones has to pay his top pass rusher or let him walk. Based on all of the success America’s Team had this past season particularly on the defensive side of the ball. It would be smart to retain Lawrence. It almost feels like he should be a priority over Dak Prescott whose contract will end in 2020. If it comes down to signing one of those two guys the Cowboys should pick Lawrence and go all in on the their defense. By having a 10 sacks a year player on the defensive front that helps disrupt opposing’s offense’s passing attack. Then you have the young guys Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch at the linebacker positions. Together that group can at least get this organization to the postseason. As long as that happens morale will be high and Jason Garrett’s ball club should keep progressing. If they let Demarcus Lawrence walk though it will be a devastating loss that’s hard to overcome. Things just started to take a turn for the better down in North Texas and now is not the time to try to pinch any pennies. The coaching staff has watched Lawrence develop into one of the premier players at his position. By preventing Lawrence from hitting the open market the Cowboys can avoid someone like the New York Giants swooping him up. Making it obvious just how important this decision is. It’s honestly quite simple though, pay the man.

Charity of the day: FINCA International

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Frank Clark will enter free agency after a monster season in Seattle. Teams are going to pay top dollar to sign the veteran pass rusher:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark had a monster season in Pete Carroll’s defense. He was one of the biggest reasons that the Seahawks defied the odds and made the playoffs. With 13 sacks nobody raised their value more than Clark and now he’s looking to cash in on that success in free agency. Based on the 3 year $22.5M dollar contract Trent Murphy signed with the Buffalo Bills last off-season. It feels like Clark will at least be north of the $10M dollars per year mark. That’s because Murphy has recorded 16.5 sacks in the last three years and Clark has recorded 32 sacks during that same span of time. That’s a lot of money for a team to shell out on one player but Clark has proven to be as good as advertised. And the Raiders are one franchise who are in the market for a top tier defender. Oakland had a league low of 13 sacks in 2018 and adding Clark will immediately improve that situation. Look you can’t win in the NFL if you can’t rush the passer. The quarterbacks in this league are too good and Jon Gruden really needs some help in that aspect of the game. Why not open up the checkbook and get an elite defender who can help the defense get off the field on third down? Clark is good against the run too and he knows how to set the edge. It’s going to take talent to get Oakland out of the jam they’ve been in and it also would set the tone going forward that the front office is going to be aggressive. You add a veteran like Clark and then use the draft to grab another guy like Ed Oliver. Suddenly they would be competitive on that side of the ball and it would result in a lot more wins in the future.

Charity of the day: FINCA International

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Frank Clark had a monster season and now he’s going to cash in during free agency.

The Patriots have went to back to back Super Bowls since acquiring Stephon Gilmore. It’s clear he’s been worth every penny:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The New England Patriots aren’t known for opening the checkbook when it comes to paying their players. Instead Bill Belichick prefers to use a team based approach and he pinches every single dollar when it comes to the salary cap. Although Belchick decided to go against that philosophy when it came to Stephon Gilmore. The Patriots paid Gilmore $65M dollars to acquire him in free agency and to be honest the veteran cornerback has far exceeded expectation. Pro Football Focus rated this guy as the top player at his position and it’s because he’s so good at staying on the hip of wide receivers. There was times on film when Gilmore would change directions on dime and then still break up the pass. The other thing he does really well is jump up and high point the football. When you’re going against some of the elite athletes in the game you can’t wait for the ball to drop down. Gilmore is so good at elevating and making a play. Which is great down near the goal line when teams like to run fades routes. It may have taken several years but now Stephon Gilmore has arrived and he gives New England’s defense a leg up. No matter if it’s man or zone coverage you can expect the 28 year old (Gilmore) to play at a high level and do his job. That’s always been the mantra in Foxborough and you know everyone is looking to bounce back after losing to the Eagles last season. Gilmore must be focused and if he can record an interception or two that would go a long way in increasing his team’s chances of winning. Everyone knows LA has a high flying offense so the Pats’ defensive backs will definitely be challenged. It’s all about stepping up when a throw comes his way and Gilmore will be a key factor in shutting down those speedy Rams receivers.

Charity of the day: WonderWork

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The New England Patriots paid $65M dollars for Stephon Gilmore and he’s been worth every penny.

Brandin Cooks is looking for redemption after being traded by New England. The Super Bowl is his chance to prove he’s better than any weapon the Patriots have:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The New England Patriots decided to trade away Brandin Cooks after he recorded a 1,000 yard season with the team. Cooks actually helped the Patriots get to the Super Bowl and it was a surprising move because he seemed like their best offensive option. Obviously everything worked out for Bill Belichick because he’s back in the big game. However now Cooks has the opportunity to get some revenge against his former employer. Can you imagine how good he’d feel if he scored 2 or 3 touchdowns in winning effort against those those guys? It would be poetic justice for Brandin Cooks if he saves his best performance for the Super Bowl and what a better way to get back at someone who overlooked his talent. Cooks hasn’t came out and said too much about it but you know he’s anxious to get out there and make something happen. And a lot of people forget that Cooks was knocked out of the Super Bowl last year. That might’ve played a role in the Patriots letting him go. Maybe they thought he had durability issues and it was too risky to hand him a contract. It’s just crazy that it all led back to this moment and there’s a lot riding on the line. Los Angeles’ offense needs both Robert Woods and Cooks to win against the Patriots’ secondary. New England has done a great job of containing some of the better passing attacks in the league (Chargers, Chiefs) and Belichick can out scheme anyone. Sean McVay must have a great night as a play caller and get Woods and Cooks going and everything should fall into place from there. There’s no room for miscues from the coaching staff and the receivers have to avoid having any drops. The Rams should be able to win it all though because they have the more talented roster.

Charity of the day: WonderWork

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Brandin Cooks was traded by the New England Patriots and now he’ll face off against his former team in the Super Bowl.

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