Ndamukong Suh stepped up during the playoffs and it made the Los Angeles Rams nearly unstoppable:

Photo credit: Rob Leiter / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

When the Los Angeles Rams signed Ndamukong Suh last off-season everyone knew that LA was getting a great player. The veteran defensive tackle has a reputation for dominating in the trenches and pairing him up with Aaron Donald seemed like the perfect combination. Yet when it was time to show up Donald finished with 20.5 sacks and Suh only had 4.5. That was a little bit concerning because it seemed like the 2010 1st round pick (Suh) was starting to lose a step. All of that was put to rest when the playoffs rolled around. You could tell he flipped a switch and that was obvious by how much tenacity this guy brought to Wade Phillip’s group. Suh was a terror against the run and he recorded 1.5 sacks against the New Orleans Saints. Clearly that NFC Championship game was the biggest contest up to this point. Now Suh is going to do his best to wreak havoc against the Patriots. Tom Brady presents a unique challenge and you can’t beat New England unless you get to their legendary quarterback. In fact none of the Patriots’ opponents (Chargers, Chiefs) have been able to sack Brady and that’s going to be a challenge that Suh takes seriously. Believe it not Donald hasn’t been able to generate must of a pass rush in the postseason (0 sacks) and that means Suh can come through and be the hero. New England will double-team Donald often and Suh must be able to win in those one on one match-ups. Ideally everyone will be playing at a high level and Los Angeles will have to force some turnovers too. Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters need to intercept a couple of passes and that starts with rattling Brady upfront. The game is won and loss at the line of scrimmage and then the linebackers and secondary have to get some takeaways. So Suh needs to be in top form and get into the offensive backfield if he wants to help his team win the Super Bowl.

Charity of the day: Rainforest Alliance

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Ndamukong stepped up for the Los Angeles Rams when it was crunch time.

Jared Cook’s 10th season was his best ever and it’s obvious he has plenty of gas left in the tank:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Oakland Raiders tight end Jared Cook has been around the NFL for a while now. The 2009 3rd round pick played for the Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, and Green Bay Packers usually contributing pretty good stats. However it wasn’t until Cook joined the Raiders that he finally made it to his first Pro Bowl. In Jon Gruden’s offense Cook flourished and he racked up 896 receiving yards plus 6 touchdowns. It seemed like Derek Carr was always looking for his prolific tight end and it’s clear that the Raiders’ system brings out the best in Cook. Gruden can’t afford to lose one of his top offense weapons and this off-season will be interesting because Cook is a free agent. Obviously having a big year has helped increase his value but it’s unlikely that those other teams will be able to keep Jared Cook relevant. So to be honest the veteran pass catcher needs Oakland too because putting up those flashy numbers will keep his career alive. You never know though maybe Cook wants to cash in on his success and go to the highest bidder. The silver and black weren’t exactly good this past season and they’re not a real contender at the moment either. Proving that there’s a lot of factors that will go into number 87’s decision but don’t be surprised if he ends up coming back. You’d have to be a fool to walk away from everything Cook has going for him with the Raiders. Scoring touchdowns and being a focal point in the offense is too good to pass up. Why go compete with younger players and fight to earn your spot when the coaching staff in Oakland already ready knows what he’s capable of? At 31 years old it’s possible that this guy could play for four more years if he can keep doing what he did in 2018 and it’s definitely been a lot of fun to watch.

Charity of the day: Feeding America

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Jared Cook’s last season was his best ever. Cook made his firs Pro Bowl.

The AFC’s defense was the most exciting thing in the Pro Bowl. They dominated the NFC in a 26-7 rout:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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It’s not very often that you see a Pro Bowl team only score 7 points in the NFL’s annual all-star showdown. In fact the last time that a team scored 7 points or less was back in 1994 and there’s two things to takeaway from this outcome. The first being that the AFC’s defense was outstanding thanks to special performances by Cameron Heyward (4 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 TFL), Xavien Howard (3 tackles and 1 INT), and Jamal Adams (2 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 TFL). The other obvious observation was that the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff (NFC) doesn’t know how to get very much out of their players. Jason Garrett and Kellen Moore struggled to generate any offense and in today’s day and age that’s clearly a glaring weakness. Then you had Patrick Mahomes airing it out for 156 yards, 1 touchdowns, and no interceptions ultimately taking home MVP honors. While Eric Ebron and Jalen Ramsey ended up catching touchdowns for the AFC. One side was so crisp offensively and then the other side didn’t score until the 4th quarter when Dak Prescott threw a touchdown to Austin Hooper. It was just a lopsided game all-around and now there’s even more pressure on Garrett’s shoulders. The other notable performers were Keenan Allen who recorded 95 receiving yards for the American side. Mike Evans and Kyle Fuller both recorded interceptions for the Nationals but the rain made it tough and that was part of the reason that neither team cracked 30 points. Nobody really tackles in the Pro Bowl either but it’s still fun to see all of the best players on the same field at once. Give Anthony Lynn credit for reeling in his guys and being able to pull out the victory. This might be an exhibition match-up but it’s something you can look back on and feel good about for not only getting there but also winning the game.

Charity of the day: Feeding America

Go donate! www.feedingamerica.org


The AFC’s defense was the most exciting thing in the Pro Bowl. They clamped down on the NFC.

Someone will end up signing Kareem Hunt and it’s because he’ll make them a better team:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Kareem Hunt has been out of action ever since the Kansas City Chiefs released him November 30th. Hunt was cut because there was a video of him kicking and shoving a woman. However the situation wasn’t nearly as bad as what Ray Rice did and that means the former Toledo Rocket will probably get another contract at some point. Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy is one individual who’s made it clear he’s interested in Hunt. The two spent time together in Kansas City and they’ve already spoken on the phone about some of the things that have transpired. Bears GM Ryan Pace and CEO George McCaskey are adamant that it’s not the proper time to bring him aboard and even if someone did pickup Hunt he’ll be suspended for a minimum of six games. Still it’s almost guaranteed that Kareem Hunt does sign somewhere by the end of the off-season because he did lead the NFL in rushing yards a year ago. Not only that but the 23 year old still has plenty of gas left in the tank and he was really putting it all together as a dual-threat player this season (combined for 1,202 yards and 14 touchdowns). When you look at some of the teams that need help on the ground and we’re talking specifically about the Eagles, Raiders, and Dolphins. All of those ball clubs are missing a main guy who can carry the load for years to come. There’s been a lot of speculation that Philadelphia cold make a run a Hunt to sure up their rushing attack. Doug Pederson was depleted of ball carriers and it would make sense to add a star athlete for a bargain price. That seems more logical than Chicago because they have Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen.

Charity of the day: American Red Cross

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Someone is going to end up signing Kareem Hunt. Just wait and see.

Daniel Jones was named Senior Bowl MVP after helping the North rally to a 34-24 win in Mobile Alabama:

Photo credit: Icon Sportwire

Author: Jon Kuzma

There’s been a buzz about Duke quarterback Daniel Jones and it’s easy to see why. The 21 year old signal caller was mentored by QB guru David Cutcliffe and everyone knows he’s fundamentally sound. However it was huge to go to the Senior Bowl and actually come away with MVP honors and Jones also helped Jon Gruden’s North team rally from 9-0 deficit at the start of the second quarter. First Jones was able to pull a zone read and rush for the North’s first touchdown and then the Blue Devils’ gunslinger threw a screen pass to Andy Issabela which went for another touchdown. Once the day was over Jones had also racked up 115 passing yards. You have to remember that Ryan Finley played the rest of the game for the North so Jones’ numbers were accomplished in about three quarters of play. It felt like Gruden was taking a long look at his starting QB (Jones) for a reason. Maybe the Raiders are in the market for someone to replace Derek Carr? There was reports that some of Carr’s teammates had lost faith in him and it’s possible that Gruden just wants a fresh start. Oakland has three first round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft and if they did select Daniel Jones they always could trade Carr on draft night. Everything is hypothetical and there’s no evidence that this what the silver and black are going to do but we do know that Gruden loves to shake things up. Spending a week with Jones could’ve helped the Super Bowl winning coach see Carr’s limitations. Regardless if that’s the case or not Jones did everything he was supposed to and then some. Now he gets to go home with a trophy from this event and his profile grew quite a bit as well.

Charity of the day: American Red Cross

Go donate! www.redcross.org


Senior Bowl MVP: Daniel Jones takes home top honors after helping the North win 34-24 over the South.

Deebo Samuel could springboard into the first round thanks to a dominant week at the Senior Bowl:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Former South Carolina Wide Receiver Deebo Samuel’s stock is soaring after completely dominating at the Senior Bowl practices. No pass catcher was more impressive and it got to the point where nobody could cover the the 23 year old either. Not only that but there was highlights of Samuel catching several touchdown passes and that eventually flooded everyone’s Twitter timelines. 247 Sports editor Allen Bell said it best “Deebo Samuel made himself some money this week” and there’s no doubt that statement is true. All of these playmakers are jockeying for position and someone had to step up and solidify their self. We know Samuel is ready to get to work because he came out and showcased just how valuable he could be to an NFL team. If you’re someone like the Raiders or Colts who are picking 26th and 27th overall. Why not take Deebo Samuel and give your team an extra weapon out wide. Oakland needs to replace Amari Cooper and the move just makes sense. Indianapolis would also benefit a lot from picking up Samuel because it would put a more talented cast around Andrew Luck. Look some players just have a knack for shining when the stakes are high. Samuel proved he’s the real deal as a Gamecock and now it looks like those skills will translate over to the next level. This is a guy who has a smooth release and he knows how to use hesitations to run crisp routes. Then the final piece of the product is his hands. We saw that if a football gets near Deebo Samuel he’s going to haul it in. Some young athletes would get nervous and have a few drops with all of those NFL scouts watching. It takes supreme confidence to overcome that adversity and now we might hear Samuel’s name called in one of the top 32 picks.

Charity of the day: Seva Foundation

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A strong senior bowl could springboard Deebo Samuel into the first round.

Locked in! Drew Lock is quickly climbing NFL draft boards by putting together a strong Senior Bowl:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The 2019 Senior Bowl is underway in Mobile Alabama and there’s been a lot of great college football players looking to impress NFL scouts. One rising star who’s really stood out is former Missouri quarterback Drew Lock. In four seasons as the Tigers’ signal caller Lock was able to throw for 99 touchdowns and only 39 interceptions. Down in Alabama he’s also showed the ability to deliver the ball with remarkable precision. Apparently the gap between Lock and the other quarterbacks was large and because of that some team will probably end up taking the 22 year old in the 1st round. The Giants, Jaguars, Redskins, and Dolphins are some of the franchises that come to mind. From the looks of it Lock could be an upgrade over any QB those ball clubs had under center this past year. And there’s no doubt he’s been the big winner so far. That’s what the Senior Bowl is all about. Obviously the combine and each team’s pro day is another opportunity to prove what you can do but it starts with doing well in this initial all-star event (Senior Bowl) and remember everyone was raving about Baker Mayfield last year. Lock is drawing a similar buzz and that can end up turning into a $20M dollar increase in salary. So clearly there’s a lot riding on these pre-draft events but everything is off to a good start for Drew Lock. Moving forward his sole focus has to be on preparing for the combine which is at the end of February. With another strong showing Lock could solidify himself as a top 15 pick. There’s no better accomplishment than knowing you’re one of the best players in the world. You better believe that confidence will be crucial for Lock as he looks to make a name for himself as a professional athlete.

Charity of the day: Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Go donate! www.bbrfoundation.org


Drew Lock is shooting up NFL draft boards thank to a strong Senior Bowl performance.

Le’Veon Bell wants to sign with Miami and that would significantly bolster the Dolphins’ offense:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Adam Gase era is over and that means a new offensive system will be coming to Miami. Whether that’s a west coast offense, run and shoot, or even they one of those air raid college passing attacks. One of the best ways to turn the page on the past is by signing a premier talent and plugging them in that new scheme to get things off of the ground. Le’Veon Bell is one name that comes to mind and the former Pittsburgh Steeler wants to join the Dolphins. We don’t know if the interest is mutual or not but signing Bell would definitely be a splash. Obviously it will cost quite a bit of money to pickup the free agent running back but there’s no doubt it would make Miami better. Kenyan Drake has a lot of potential but he’s not on the same level as Bell. It’s not just Le’Veon Bell’s running abilities either he’s also very good at catching the ball out of the backfield. That will automatically add another dimension to the Dolphins’ offense and it’s helps out the quarterback by providing a check-down option. There’s been reports that Ryan Tannehill won’t return in 2019 and adding Bell could help whoever the next guy under center is. It won’t come cheap by any means though. Todd Gurley signed a four year $60M dollar contact in July and Bell’s new deal will be in that same ball park. At the moment the Dolphins only have $13.9M in cap space so they’ll have to part ways with Robert Quinn or Tannehill just to have some money to address the other positions on their roster. It seems like now is the time to hit the reset button and start from scratch. At least if you sign Le’Veon Bell then you know the rebuild is beginning with a bang.

Charity of the day: Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Go donate! www.bbrfoundation.org


The Miami Dolphins could bolster their offense by signing Le’Veon Bell.

The Dante Fowler trade helped put the Los Angeles Rams over the top. Their defense took the next step once Fowler arrived:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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If there’s anything to be said about the Los Angeles Rams it’s that they were extremely aggressive when it came to pursuing talent. It started with acquiring Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, and Ndamukong Suh. Then Los Angeles pulled the trigger on a deal for Dante Fowler once the trade deadline was approaching. It’s clear Les Snead and the front office were committed to improving the roster regardless of what point in time it was. It’s moves like that which helped get the Rams to the Super Bowl. Ever since trading for Fowler LA has a record of 9-3. Fowler brings a tenacity off the edge and he’s made several huge plays along the way. Maybe the most important was when the former Jaguar (Fowler) spun around Ryan Ramcyzk and hit Drew Brees. That caused the Saints quarterback to throw an interception in overtime of the NFC Championship game. John Johnson intercepted Brees’ pass but it was Fowler who delivered the initial blow and it prevented New Orleans from delivering a strike downfield. That wasn’t the first time Fowler has made a big play either. During the NFC divisional round Dante Fowler lit up Ezekiel Elliott and set the tone for the Rams. That hit happened early in the game and it seemed like Elliot ran timid afterwards (47 rushing yards). The film doesn’t lie Fowler is a supremely talented individual and he fits perfectly into Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense. Maybe it’s because Fowler is a full-time starter and on the field for every single snap. Down in Jacksonville he rotated with Yannick Ngakoue and being more involved has really helped Fowler take the next step. From here it will be all about knocking off the New England Patriots and bringing the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Hollywood. The Rams will need a big game out of Dante Fowler if they want that to happen.

Charity of the day: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

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The Dante Fowler trade was the reason the Rams took the next step

Julian Edelman’s competitive fire is what separates him from all of the other wide receivers in the NFL:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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There’s a lot of wide receivers in the NFL who play for the personally glory they get from the game. New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman isn’t one of those people. The 5’10” 198 pound pass catcher is known for playing his best football on the biggest stages. In fact only Jerry Rice has more receiving yards in the playoffs and that tells you just how much of a competitor Edelman is. Against the Chiefs he went for 96 yards and made a number of crucial catches along the way. It seemed like every third down Tom Brady went to Edelman and those are the plays that keep drives alive and give the offense a chance to put points on the board. You’ll hear sports fans talk about “heart” sometimes and it’s how far a player is willing to go for his team. Edelman has to be physically exhausted after the final whistle blows because he exerts every little bit of energy he has. You don’t see guys who are that passionate anymore and it’s clear Julian Edelman is a throwback. There’s no diva attitude with the former Kent State alum (Edleman). Instead it’s all about grit and doing everything it takes to win. That’s always been the Patriots’ main objective and Edelman takes that philosophy very seriously. To be fair everyone on New England’s roster is the same way but we’re all realizing how significant their top wide receiver (Edelman) is because he’s stepped up in these last two playoffs games. It’s very unlikely this franchise would be heading back to the Super Bowl if they didn’t have Edelman out wide. Brady couldn’t do it without his safety valve and don’t expect things to change anytime soon. Edelman is one of the keys to beating the Rams and he’ll be involved early and often.

Charity of the day: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

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Competitive fire: Julian Edelman gives more effort than most of the other receivers in the National Football League

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