Tag Archives: NFL

Fans Should be Pro-Player, Not Pro-Owners

Le’Veon Bell is the latest, but definitely not the last, professional athlete who’s contentious contract negotiations has caused fans to turn on him instead of the organization. Photo Courtesy: Steelers.com

Le’Veon Bell, Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack are just the latest NFL players to spend the offseason engaged in tense contract negotiations with their respective teams for a new deal that pays them what they feel they’re worth. Bell reportedly turned down a reported 5 year-70 million-dollar contract ($33 million guaranteed) from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 26-year old All-Pro running back has said he wants to reset the market for the position, which has been devalued over the past decade. Meanwhile, L.A. Rams running back Todd Gurley may have beat him to the punch. The 24-year old signed an NFL record contract for a running back worth $60 million dollars ($45 guaranteed) over the course of four years.

Bell, however, will play his second consecutive season under the franchise tag. The tag will pay him $14.5 million for this season, which will likely be his last in Pittsburgh, according to his agent. Fans in Steelers Nation have already turned on him, calling him selfish and greedy, among spewing other ignorant and insensitive comments.

Regardless of Bell’s motivation, and desire for a contract that he feels is fair compensation of his value, I’m confused why so many fans are on the side of Billionaires, instead of Millionaire players, who have a shorter window than their employers to make their living.

Fans need to understand, the owners of their favorite teams, own multiple businesses, many of which their family, friends or themselves work for. These same negotiation tactics they use to low-ball your favorite player, are the same business principles in practice at their other companies to keep the average American’s salaries low.

For example, Stan Kroenke, the owner of the L.A. Rams — as well as the Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Avalanche (NHL) the Colorado Rapids (MLS) and is also the largest shareholder of club Arsenal of the Premier League — is the husband of the daughter of Walmart co-founder James Walton. Another example would be Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, who owns Home Depot.

So, think about someone who works at one of Kroenke’s Walmart stores or Blank’s Home Depot as a Store Manager. Let’s say this Store Manager earns $50,000 a year. To most in America that’s a great salary. However, the median annual salary for this position is $56, 175 per year. But, the salary ranges between $49,129 to $67,142 across the U.S. If the Wal-Mart or Home Depot store manager went and asked for a raise from $50k to $67k, they probably wouldn’t get it all. They’d be lucky to get a $5,000 raise. Still good, but not their true market value. That’s the key word: Market Value.

See, the rich don’t get rich by spending every dime. They get rich by having great cost management skills, and that involves finding employees that don’t cost much. By much, I mean close to the minimum. An employee’s only chance at getting what they want, may be to leverage going and working for one of Wal-Mart or Home Depot’s competitors, Target and Lowes. That’s just like Professional Athletes who have to consider playing for other teams around the league who will pay them exactly or close to what they’re asking for.

Don’t let the dollar amount that professional athletes earn compared to you; blind you from the fact that this is how the rich take advantage of labor. Fans, you are labor! Just like pro athletes. Regardless of how many more commas your favorite athlete has in his or her bank account than you, you have more in common with them than the owner of your favorite team.

The same practices they use to keep the players from getting what they deserve, are the same they use against you. And if you don’t play along, they will get rid of you and find someone else who is willing to take less than you would have. NEVER forget that! Fans who disagree should go read William Rhoden’s book “Forty Million Dollar Slaves”, I’m sure they’ll gain a different perspective.

 

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2018 NFL Rookies Most Likely Too…

The 2018 NFL season is drawing closer as Training Camps have opened across the League. Hopefully, we can spend more time talking about the action on the field and not who is, or isn’t showing up at the Hall of Famer enshrinement and other off-the-field issues.

The excitement is high to see the return of All-Pros and perennial Pro Bowlers that missed last season due to injury like J.J. Watt, David Johnson, Odell Beckham Junior and Andrew Luck to name a few. But, there’s also the anticipation of watching new stars begin their pro football journey.

256 players were drafted in April–39 linebackers, the most of any position–and there are several dozens more that will make rosters as free agents. I looked into my crystal ball and here’s how I see the 2018 class fairing in their careers.

Josh Rosen felt he should’ve been the number one overall pick, saying “there were nine mistakes made ahead of me.” The UCLA product will be out to prove he was right. Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Most likely to lead the NFL in passing yards….

Josh Rosen (10th Overall Pick), Arizona Cardinals. Rosen was considered the most pro-ready of the quarterbacks in the 2018 class, having played in a pro-style system at UCLA, for a former NFL head coach. He’ll also play in an NFC West division that arguably has the best collective talent at the QB position. The style of play is even more up-tempo than the direction the rest of the league has taken. The opportunities will be there as he goes toe to toe with Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jared Goff.

Most likely to lead the NFL in rushing yards….

The safe and most popular pick would be Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants, the second overall selection in the draft. While I believe Barkley will be a very productive back in both the run and pass game with the Giants, in the mold of Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, but because he plays on the same unit as Odell Beckham Junior, Sterling Shepherd and Evan Ingram, New York will have a more balanced attack and he won’t carry the ball at a high rate.

So I’m going with another NFC East rookie runner, Darius Guice of Washington. The Former LSU back was selected with the 59th pick in the 2nd round. He slipped in the draft due to character issues, but many “experts” claim he was a first round talent. Guice is a physical, downhill runner who at 5’11” 224 pounds wants to play like Marshawn Lynch. He’ll be playing with Alex Smith who handed off to the 2017 NFL Leading rusher Kareem Hunt in Kansas City last season. Hunt was a 3rd round selection (pick 86) last spring.

Most likely to lead the NFL in receptions, receiving yards or receiving TDs

Michael Gallup (3rd round, 81st Pick), Dallas Cowboys. Jason Whitten has retired. Dez Bryant is on the free agent market struggling to find a new home. The Cowboys will be looking for a new threat in the passing game for third-year QB Dak Prescott to build chemistry with. Gallup caught 176 passes for 2,690 yards (15.3 ypc) and 21 touchdowns in his two seasons at Colorado State. Someone will have to be Prescott’s number one option when defenses load the box to stop Zeke Elliott.

Most likely to lead the NFL in turnovers…

Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets. The third overall pick out of USC had his troubles taking care of the pigskin in college, especially against top-notch competition. He’s going to see that quality and even better every week in the NFL. This doesn’t mean he won’t have a great career, Eli Manning has led the League in turnovers twice in his career and he’s probably going to get a Gold Jacket. But Darnold is being heralded as a “Savior” for a franchise that’s been dormant for nearly a decade, especially at that position. That means he’ll likely be the first of the 2018 class of QB’s to be thrown into the fire early in their career, and make several rookie mistakes.

Most likely to lead the league in tackles…

Roquan Smith (8th Overall Pick) Chicago Bears. The Georgia Bulldog linebacker could be the next great linebacker in the Bears book of great backers. The 2017 Butkus Award winner and SEC Defensive Player of the Year, racked up 252 total tackles in his three seasons “Between the Hedges.” 137 of them came last season, 14 of them for loss. Smith has a nose for the football and is always around the action. In the “Windy City” he’ll be counted on early to help the 10th ranked total defense in 2017 stop Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins.

Most likely to lead the league in sacks…

Bradley Chubb (5th overall pick) Denver Broncos. This could very well happen in his rookie season with the attention Von Miller will attract on the other side of the field, plus linebackers Brandon Marshall, Shane Ray and Defensive End Derek Wolfe. Who do you think is going to get the least amount of attention from opposing offensive units? This answer is Chubb. The North Carolina State product recorded 10 sacks in each of his last two seasons with the Wolfpack and 25 total in his four-year career. He also made 21 and 23 tackles for loss, proving he lives in offenses backfields.

Most likely to lead the League in interceptions (takeaways)….

Josh Jackson (2 round, pick 45) Green Bay Packers. His ball hawking skills are elite. Many have compared him to Richard Sherman, and he looked the part against Ohio State last season when he picked off 3 passes and took one to the house. The 2017 Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, intercepted 8 passes last season and took 2 back for touchdowns. He’s a big DB at 6’1″, 196 pounds, which is the direction the League is going to counter the bigger athletic wide receivers.

Most likely to be Offensive Rookie of the Year…. 

Saquon Barkley (2nd overall pick), New York Giants. You can never go wrong betting on a running back, because history has shown us they adjust to the pro game quicker. Three of the last five winners of this award were running backs. Don’t expect that to change this season. If Eli Manning continues to struggle, as he has in recent seasons, the Giants best bet to compete in what will be a highly competitive NFC East, will be to hand the ball to Barkley in the run and pass game. On another note, no Giants rookie has ever rushed for 1,000+ yards, so Barkley would be making history as well.

Most likely to be Defensive Rookie of the Year…

Mike Hughes, Minnesota Vikings (1 round, pick 30). The NFL is a predominant passing league, which means the players on the defensive side of the ball that have the best chance to standout are pass rushers and defensive backs. Hughes was a star for the UCF Knights self-claimed National Championship team. In his only season in Orlando, he intercepted 4 passes taking one back for six and broke up 11 passes. He’ll be playing on a defense that rank first last season. Hughes is also a return specialist, having returned 2 kickoffs and 1 punt for touchdowns last season. His involvement, and success, in special teams will catapult him into voters conscious.

Most likely to be steal of the draft…

Orlando Brown (3rd round, 83rd pick), Baltimore Ravens. Other than running back, the players that have the least struggle transitioning to the pro game are offensive lineman. The “Big Uglies” typically have the biggest upside with the lowest risk of any position. That’s why I’m going with Brown. The 2017 Unanimous All-American and two-time Big 12 Lineman of the Year had a disastrous performance at the combine, causing his draft stock to fall. But, Brown was considered a first-round talent. He comes from great pedigree. His father, the late Orlando “Zeus” Brown Senior, played six seasons for the Ravens, starting 80 games. Brown Junior will be surrounded with people who will be invested in him as a player, but as a person due to his ties with the organization.

Griffin (49) is a sentimental hero, but don’t let that blind you from the fact that he’s an elite athlete with the skills and determination to be great. Photo Courtesy: USA Today.

Most likely to be a perennial All-Pro…. 

Shaquem Griffin (5th round, 141 pick) Seattle Seahawks. Everyone fell so in love with his inspiring story, a guy playing without a hand, that they almost ignored his dominating performance for a UCF Knight team that was the only team in major college football to finish the 2017 season undefeated.

His combine test scores alone should have catapulted him into the first round, but teams were scared off by what they consider a disability. They’ll undoubtedly, regret that. Then there’s his game film. If you watched any one UCF game in 2017, you saw this guy pop off the screen. He totaled 17 sacks and 30 tackles for loss in his college career as a linebacker. You should never better against a guy that’s overcome what he has. Playing along side his twin brother in Seattle, I see him being able to lead the new era of Seahawks like he did in central Florida.

Most likely to be NFL Defensive Player of the Year…

Bradley Chubb, for the same reasons I mentioned previously as to why I feel he will lead the NFL in sacks. Pass rushers are a premium in the League, and historically, they win this award more than any other defensive positions. The last eight winners were pass rushers, Calais Campbell, Khalil Mack and JJ Watt were the most recent winners. If he can disrupt NFL QBs like his new teammate, Von Miller, he will take home this award at some point in his career.

Most likely to be NFL MVP….

This award always goes to the quarterback who’s on the team with the best record in the League. In the last ten seasons, a quarterback won the award nine times. Running Back Adrian Peterson was the exception in 2012. So of course I should pick a QB, right? Yes, and I’m going with Sam Darnold. If you’ve read this far — first off, thanks — you know I believe Darnold will be a turnover machine early on in his career, which he was in college. But, I like his overall makeup and I think the early growing pains are going to serve him greatly in his development. If he wins games in that city, for that organization, he’ll have the big market bias and narrative, voters swoon over.

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Conference Championship)

Before the games kicked off on the field, a Buckeye lived a dream. 3-time New England Patriots Super Bowl Champion Mike Vrabel was named head coach of the Tennessee Titans. Vrabel spent 4-seasons on the Houston Texans staff and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017. He also spent three seasons on Ohio State’s defensive staff as linebackers coach and defensive line coach from 2011-2013.

More good Buckeyes news, Cam Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers was named to the Pro Bowl team as an alternate. He was originally snubbed from the game after having a career season that earned him an All-Pro selection. The game will be played in Orlando, January 28th.

The Super Bowl LII matchup is set. The New England Patriots will face the Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4th. These two teams met back in Super XXXIX in Jacksonville after the 2004 season. The Pats won 24-21. This will be the sixth time in NFL history that teams have met for a second time.

The New England Patriots came back from down 10 in the fourth quarter to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 in the AFC Championship game.

The Eagles blew out the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship game with a strong performance from the defense. Safety Malcolm Jenkins recorded 3 tackles. This will be Jenkins second trip to the Super Bowl. He won with the New Orleans Saints at Super Bowl XLIV. 

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Wild Card Weekend)

The 2017 College Football Playoff committee left Ohio State out, we can argue all day if it was the right call (I think it was), but for Scarlet and Gray fans, there are plenty of Buckeyes playing NFL Playoff football and playing well that you can root for. 

The New Orleans Quartet of Buckeyes have been leading the way for the Saints all season, and it was no different in the Wild Card round against the Carolina Panthers. Mike Thomas caught 8 passes for 131 yards, and Ted Ginn Junior caught 5 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown in a 31-26 win. Vonn Bell led the way for the defense with 9 total tackles (7 solo), 1 tackles for loss and a game clinching sack on Cam Newton. Rookie Marshon Lattimore made 2 total tackles and broke up 2 passes in his first ever playoff action. The Saints will play at the Minnesota Vikings next week. Panthers’ safety Kurt Coleman played despite an ankle injury. 

Adolphus Washington and the Buffalo Bills made their first trip to the playoffs since 1999. Washington made 1 tackle for the Bills in a 10-3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Cam Heyward and the Pittsburgh Steelers had the week off, but the 7th year defensive lineman made some headlines. After being snubbed for the Pro Bowl, he was named 1st-team All-Pro for the first time in his career. He’s the only Buckeyes to make either the 1st or 2nd team this season. Pittsburgh will host the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday.

There was also encouraging news on Pittsburgh Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Shazier. His father, Vernon Shazier, told local media in the “Steel City” that Ryan has feeling in his legs. He went on to say that the night of the injury his son told him he couldn’t feel his legs. But, Mr. Shazier went on to say that they will keep the rest of Ryan’s progress private.

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 17)

The 2017 NFL season has come to an end and it was a banner year for former several Buckeyes. Ohio State has the most Alumni selected to the Pro Bowl, a few broken individual records, some will be considered for major awards, and others are playing key roles for teams with a shot at hoisting the Lombardi trophy.

With playoff positions already decided Cam Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers sat out the 28-24 win over the Cleveland Browns. He finished the regular season with a career high 12 sacks. 

Joey Bosa made 5 tackles and had a sack for the Los Angeles Chargers in a 30-10 win over the Oakland Raiders. The reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year finishes the season with 11.5 sacks. However, the Chargers missed the playoffs by a tiebreaker. 

Michael Thomas set the New Orleans Saints single season reception record with his 6 catches for 94 yards in a 31-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thomas also has the most receptions in his first two seasons than any player in NFL history. Ted Ginn Junior caught 3 passes for 33 yards and rushed once for 2 yards. Vonn Bell made 10 total tackles and had a sack, while Marshon Lattimore made 3 tackles in defeat. The New Orleans Saints will host NFC South rival Carolina Panthers in the wild card round. 

San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde rushed 15 times for 90 yards and caught 2 passes for 10 yards in a 34-13 win over the Los Angeles Rams. On the season, he rushed for 940 yards and 8 touchdowns. He also caught a career high 59 passes for 350 yards.

Ezekiel Elliott ran for 103 yards on 27 carries and caught 3 passes for 38 yards for the Dallas Cowboys in a 6-0 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Zeke’s six-game suspension kept him from reaching 1,000 rushing yards in his second season. He finished 2017 with 983 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns, 26 receptions for 269 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns. Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins didn’t play in the loss. The Eagles have the number one seed in the NFC playoffs and have a bye next week.  

Kurt Coleman didn’t play in the Carolina Panthers 22-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. He’s expected to play in the wild card round against the Saints. 

Adolphus Washington made 1 tackle for the Buffalo Bills in a 22-16 win over the Miami Dolphins to help end the longest current playoff drought in pro sports (17 seasons). 

New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee had 2 total tackles in the 26-6 loss to the New England Patriots. Lee finishes the season as the Jets second leading tackler with 94 total tackles (67 solo) and 3 sacks. 

Mike Nugent scored 4 points for the Chicago Bears on a 55-yard field goal and an extra point in a 23-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. 

Houston Texans wide receiver Braxton Miller finished his 2nd pro season with 2 catches for 9 yards in a 13-22 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.  

Denver Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman caught 1 pass for 9 yards and Bradley Roby made 1 tackle in a 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 16)

New Pro Bowlers Joey Bosa and Michael Thomas exchange jerseys after their teams met in the 2017 Preseason on 8/20/17. Photo Courtesy: NFL

 
Before we get to the action on the field, the Buckeyes were big winners before the games were even played. Five former Ohio State players were selected to the 2017 Pro Bowl rosters. That’s the most for any school this season.

Joey Bosa, Michael Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, Malcolm Jenkins and Ryan Shazier. Can Heyward is the notable snub after having racked up a career high in sacks and adding this season. However, all these guys are hoping they won’t be to play in the game in Orlando in February due to preparing for the Super Bowl the following week in Minneapolis. 

Now to the week 16 games. Dallas Cowboys running Ezekiel Elliott returned from his six-game suspension and ran for 97 yards on 24 carries in a 21-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Elliott also caught 4 passes for 21 yards. His backup during his suspension, Rod Smith, ran the ball twice for 10 yards and caught 3 passes for 23 yards in defeat. Dallas has been eliminated from the playoffs.

Ted Ginn Junior returned from an injury that kept him out of action last week and caught a 54-yard touchdown pass for the New Orleans Saints to help them beat the Atlanta Falcons 23-13. He caught 4 passes for 76 yards on the day. He also rushed the ball 2 times for 14 yards. Michael Thomas also caught 4 passes for 66 yards. Vonn Bell made 3 total tackles for the Saints defense. Marshon Lattimore made 6 tackles, broke up 4 passes and caught a ridiculous interception that will be known as the “Butt pick.” It’s his 4th this season and pretty much etches his name on the Defensive Rookie of the Year trophy. If he wins he’d be the second consecutive Buckeye to do so. Joey Bosa won it last season. 

Speaking of Bosa, the 2nd-year LA Chargers defensive end racked up 4 total tackles in a 14-7 win over the New York Jets keeping their playoff hopes alive. Darron Lee led New York with 8 tackles.

Cam Heyward extended his career high sack total to 12 with 2 on Christmas Day in a 34-6 win for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Houston Texans. On the afternoon he had 4 total tackles, 2 for a loss, 2 hits on the QB and a forced fumble. Braxton Miller was targeted 2 times and caught 1 passes for 5 yards. He also returned 1 punt for 7 yards in defeat. 

On Christmas Night, Malcolm Jenkins forced and recovered a late 4th quarter fumble of the Oakland Raiders to help the Philadelphia Eagles win 19-10. Jenkins also made 7 total tackles, 1 for a loss in the victory. Philadelphia clinched home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. 

Adolphus Washington made 2 tackles for the Buffalo Bills in a 37-16 loss to the New England Patriots. 

Bradley Roby made 3 total tackles and had 1 pass breakup for the Denver Broncos in a 27-11 loss to Washington. 

Carolina Panthers safety Kurt Coleman made 10 total tackles in a 22-19 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Carlos Hyde rushed for 54 yards a touchdown and caught 3 passes for 19 yards for the San Francisco 49ers in a 44-33 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s the Niners fourth consecutive victory.

Mike Nugent made two of three extra points for the Chicago Bears in a 20-3 win over the Cleveland Browns.

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 15)

The Pittsburgh Steelers placed Ryan Shazier on the injured reserve list. But there is good news to report on the fourth-year linebacker. Shazier has begun the physical rehabilitation process at UPMC. On Sunday Night, he attended the Steelers game against the Patriots and watched from a suite and he saw the “Game of the Season.”
The Steelers’ Cam Heyward recorded his 10th sack of the season, becoming the first Steelers player to reach double figures in sacks since 2010. He finished the game with 2 hits on Tom Brady, 1 tackle, a tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup in Pittsburgh’s 27-24 loss to the New England Patriots.

On Thursday Night Football, Denver Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman caught a 54-yard touchdown from Brock Osweiler in their 25-13 win over the Indianapolis Colts. That was his only catch of the game. It was Heuerman’s 2nd touchdown this season. Defensively, Bradley Roby had 1 sack and 1 tackle for the winners. Jonathan Hankins made 5 total tackles, 1 sack and was credited with a half tackle for loss in defeat. 

Mike Thomas scored on a 4-yard touchdown catch to help the New Orleans Saints beat the New York Jets 31-19. Thomas finished with 9 receptions for 93 yards. The second-year wideout also made NFL history by being only the second player in league history to catch 90+ passes in his first two seasons. ODell Beckham Junior was the first and has accomplished the feat three consecutive seasons. Marshon Lattimore racked up 5 tackles, 1 for a loss, broke up 3 passes and picked off his 3rd career pass. Ted Ginn Junior was held out of the game with a rib injury. Darron Lee made 7 tackles, one for loss in defeat. 

Saturday night Joey Bosa made 4 tackles for the LA Chargers in a 30-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.  

Adolphus Washington registered 3 total tackles for the Buffalo Bills in a 24-16 win over the Miami Dolphins. 

Carolina Panthers safety Kurt Coleman made 10 total tackles and broke up a pass in a 31-24 win over the Green Bay Packers. 

Carlos Hyde rushed for only 25 yards on 16 carries and caught 2 passes for 14 yards for the San Francisco 49ers in a 25-23 win over the Tennessee Titans.  

Rod Smith found the end zone again in a fourth consecutive game for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders. He finished the game with 13 yards on 12 carries and caught 3 passes for 21 yards in the ‘Boys 20-17 win. Noah Brown caught 1 pass for 8 yards in the win. Dallas gets Ezekiel Elliott back next week from his 6-game suspension. The team went 3-3 without him.