Tag Archives: San Francisco 49ers

NFL Buckeyes (2017, week 6)

Ryan Shazier (50) has the leader of the Steelers D. Photo Courtesy: Steelers.com

 
Week Six in the NFL was busy for several Buckeyes with news of one being suspended, another’s season over and a couple of OSU Alumns reaching the end zone for the first time in their careers.

A three-judge panel for the U.S. Circuit Court of appeals in New Orleans upheld the NFL’s six-game suspension of Dallas Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott for domestic violence. As it stands, the 2nd-year running back would not be able to return to the team until November 23rd. But Zeke and his team are looking at other options to appeal the suspension. The Dallas Cowboys are on a Bye this week and the suspension could begin starting week seven.

Indianapolis Colts starting offensive lineman Jake Mewhort was placed on injured reserve after aggravating his knee in practice. The 2014 draft pick missed six games last season with an injury to the same knee.

Philadelphia Eagles Safety Malcolm Jenkins made 2 total tackles to help Philly get their fifth win of the season on Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers, 28-23. Rookie Curtis Samuel carried the ball once for eight yards in the loss. 8-year safety Kurt Coleman missed the loss with a knee injury.

The New Orleans Saints quad of Buckeyes in Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn, Vonn bell and Marshon Lattimore played in the wildest game of the weekend against the Detroit Lions. Ginn caught 4 passes for 66 yards, a touchdown and rushed once for 3 yards to help defeat the Lions 52-38. He also had 2 kick returns for 26 yards and 2 punt returns for 6 yards. The Saints leading receiver Michael Thomas only caught 3 passes for 11 yards. The 90 combined points are the most scored in an NFL game since 2015.

Saints rookie Marshon Lattimore intercepted his first career pass and returned it 37 yards for his first career touchdown. His returned TD was one of five defensive or special teams returns for touchdowns in the game. That’s the most in the NFL since 2012. Lattimore also collected 5 total tackles and defended 2 passes. Vonn Bell made 5 total tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss and hit the Lions quarterback Matt Stafford twice.

Ryan Shazier and Cam Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers led the defense in their victory over the previously unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs. Shazier made 4 tackles and broke up a couple of passes. Heyward made 2 tackles and registered a hit on Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith in the 19-13 win.

Houston Texans’ wide receiver Braxton Miller caught his first career touchdown in acrobatic fashion to help the Texans knock off the Cleveland Browns 33-17.

Another former Buckeye caught his first career touchdown in primetime on Sunday Night Football. Denver Broncos tight end Jeff Heureman caught a 13-yard touchdown against the New York Giants. On the night he had 2 catches for a total of 24 yards in the Broncos 23-10 loss. Bradley Roby made 2 tackles in defeat. On the Giants side, Eli Apple collected 5 total tackles, defended 3 passes and recovered a fumble in the victory.

Joey Bosa had 3 tackles (2 solo), one forced fumble and a sack for the Los Angeles Chargers in their 17-16 come from behind victory over the Oakland Raiders. Oakland’s rookie cornerback Gareon Conley missed his third consecutive game with a shin injury.

Darron Lee of the New York Jets collected 6 tackles (4 solo); one pass defended and forced a fumble in their 24-17 loss in the battle for first place in the AFC East to the New England Patriots.

Terrelle Pryor Senior caught 3 passes for 27 yards for Washington in their 26-24 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Carlos Hyde scored 2 rushing touchdowns, but only had 28 yards rushing and caught 5 passes for 47 yards in defeat.

Indianapolis Colts linebacker John Simon had a huge night on Monday Night Football against the Tennessee Titans. He got his first career interception and returned it 26-yards for his first career touchdown. Simon also made 11 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 3 hits on Titans QB Marcus Mariota. But his career night wasn’t enough as Tennessee got the win 36-22.

Rookie safety Malik Hooker made 3 solo tackles and defended one pass, while Johnathan Hankins made 4 total tackles and got one hit in the QB in defeat.

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NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 3)

Week three of the 2017 NFL season kicked off Thursday night with an intense thrilling NFC West matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams.

The star of the night for the Niners was running back Carlos Hyde. Hyde came into the night as the NFL leader in yards per carry after having an explosive game last Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks’ vaunted defense. The self-proclaimed “El Guapo” scored two rushing touchdowns to go along with 84 rushing yards on 25 carries, and 3 catches for 10 yards. But it wasn’t enough as the Rams held on late to win 41-39.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Buckeye Duo of Ryan Shazier and Cam Heyward played in the craziest game of the day in the “Windy City” against the Chicago Bears. Shazier led all players with 11 solo tackles, 2 forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Heyward added 3 solo tackles. Pittsburgh suffered its first loss of the season in overtime 23-17.

Three Buckeyes led the way for the New Orleans Saints in their 34-13 win over NFC South division rival Carolina Panthers. 2nd-year wideout Mike Thomas caught 7 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown, Ted Ginn Junior caught 2 passes for 44 yards and a touchdown to go along with one carry for 15 yards, while defensive back Vonn Bell had 4 tackles (2 solo) to help the Saints get their first win of the 2017 season. Rookie Marshon Lattimore missed the game with a concussion. 8th year safety Kurt Coleman made 9 tackles (6 solo) and rookie Curtis Samuel had 2 catches for 5 yards and one carry for 31 rushing yards in the loss for the Panthers.

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins had 7 tackles (5 solo) in the Eagles 27-24 win over Eli Apple and the New York Giants. Apple made 5 tackles (3 solo) and linebacker Curtis Grant made one tackle in defeat. The Giants are now 0-3, while Philadelphia moved to 2-1.

Malik “ball-hawk” Hooker grabbed his 2nd career interception for the Indianapolis Colts against the Cleveland Browns. His first came last week against the Arizona Cardinals. Hooker also made 3 tackles (2 solo). John Simon had 6 tackles (4 solo) and a sack as Indy got their first win of the season 31-28.

Denver Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby collected 4 tackles (3 solo) and broke up one pass in their 26-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Tight end Jeff Heuerman missed the game with a shoulder injury. On Buffalo’s side, defensive tackle Adolphus Washington made 2 solo tackles in the win.

Braxton Miller caught one pass for 15 yards for the Houston Texans in their 36-33 loss to the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Patriots special teams star Nate Ebner made 2 tackles for the winners.

Darron Lee made 2 solo tackles for the New York Jets in their 20-6 win over the Miami Dolphins. Joey Bosa made 6 tackles (3 solo) and a half sack for the Los Angeles Chargers in their 24-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs

On Sunday Night Football, two former Buckeyes lined up against each other. Washington wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Senior against the team that drafted him to play quarterback, the Oakland Raiders and rookie cornerback Gareon Conley. Pryor caught two passes for 19 yards to help Washington move to 2-1 with a 27-10 victory over Oakland. Conley had 4 tackles (3 solo) in defeat.

Ezekiel Elliott had a bounce back game for the Dallas Cowboys against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football to close out week three. Elliott, who rushed for only 8 yards on 9 carries last week against the Denver Broncos, had 80 rushing yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown. He also made 3 catches for 14 yards to help the Cowboys win 28-17. Rookie Noah Brown caught his first NFL pass for 13 yards for Dallas. Rod Smith made one tackle on special teams for the Cowboys. Offensive tackle Alex Boone made his 2017 debut with the Arizona Cardinals. He started the season in training camp with the Minnesota Vikings.

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 2)

Week two in the National Football League several Ohio State Alumni didn’t fare as well as their alma mater did on Saturday evening.

Houston Texans 2nd-year WR Braxton Miller made his first trip back to the Buckeye state as a pro player Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. He had 2 catches for 10 yards in Houston’s 13-9 victory, and also made a key block to spring quarterback Deshaun Watson for the only touchdown scored of the game.

Sunday a couple fellow Buckeyes faced off in the trenches in Western Pennsylvania. Pat Elflein of the Minnesota Vikings against Cam Heyward, Ryan Shazier and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Shazier had 8 tackles (5 solo) and 1 pass breakup, while Heyward had 6 tackles (4 solo), 1.5 tackles for loss and 2 hits on the QB in Pittsburgh’s 26-9 victory.

Indianapolis Colts Rookie Malik Hooker got his first career start and recorded his first interception and returned it 32 yards in the Colts 16-13 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He also made 2 tackles and broke up another pass. Linebacker John Simon had 5 tackles (4 solo), 1 sack and 3 hits on the Quarterback. Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins had 2 tackles (1 solo).

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott had a game he’d like to quickly forget against Bradley Roby, Jeff Heuerman and the Denver Broncos. Elliott rushed for 8 yards on 9 carries, the worse performance of his young career. He also added 4 catches for 14 yards in the ‘Boys 42-17 loss. With 80+ yards rushing, Zeke would’ve broken Hall of Famer Marcus Allen’s 31-year old record for most consecutive games with 80 or more rushing yards. The record is 14. Meanwhile, Roby had 2 tackles and broke up a pass, and Heuerman made 1 catch for 15 yards in the victory.

San Francisco 49ers’ running back Carlos Hyde rushed for 124 yards on 15 carries against the Seattle Seahawks. 102 of those came in the first half alone. He also finished the game with 3 catches for 19 yards in the 12-9 defeat.

Mike Thomas, Ted Ginn Junior, Marshon Lattimore and Vonn Bell of the New Orleans Saints faced the defending Super Bowl Champion New England in the “Big Easy.” Thomas made 5 catches for 89 yards, Ginn had 3 catches for 24 yards, while on defense Lattimore had 7 tackles (6 solo) and 2 pass breakups, while his secondary mate Bell had 5 tackles (3 solo) in the 36-20 loss.

Closing out the weekend, Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles had 5 solo tackles in their 27-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Kurt Coleman of the Carolina Panthers made 3 tackles (1 solo) in their 9-3 victory of the Buffalo Bills. San Diego Chargers reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa had 5 solo tackles in his team’s 19-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Detroit Lions starting offensive tackle Taylor Decker missed Monday Night Football against Eli Apple and the New York Giants with a shoulder injury. He was mistakenly acknowledged by ESPN Play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough as an alumnus of “That Team Up North”, which probably added more insult to injury.  

Apple, however, moved into the top cornerback spot with Janoris Jenkins out with an injury. The 2nd-year defensive back got beat on a 27-yard TD by Marvin Jones. He also had 5 solo tackles in the 24-10 loss.

2017 NFL Rookie Most Likely to…

The 2017 NFL Draft Class was full of star power and several of those members will light up the League real soon. Photo Credit: ESPN.com

The dawn of the 2017 NFL Season has arrived and a new crop of college stars are preparing to make their mark in pro football.

Teams put a premium on defense this past draft. 131 defensive players were selected to 118 offensive. 34 of those players were cornerbacks, the most of any single position, 5 in the first round. If you combine the 3 Safeties, defensive back was the most selected unit in the draft. In all 67 defensive backs were picked in 2017.

I’ve done this exercise the two previous seasons and I’ve hit on some already, some are close to happening, and I’ve missed VERY BADLY on one. My apologies to my fellow Ohio State Alum Joey Bosa.

As with any draft in every sport, the situation you’re drafted to is more important than when you’re selected. It’s fun and difficult to predict how these guys will affect their team’s success or failures. So, here’s how I see several of this year’s crop of rookies careers panning out.

Most likely to lead the NFL in passing yards…. Patrick Mahomes (10th overall pick/Kansas City Chiefs). Andy Reid and his staff moved up to select the Texas Tech QB. Everyone knows the Red Raiders offense is a hyper passing scheme that tends to lead to video game numbers that doesn’t necessarily transition to the NFL. But, Mahomes should be different because he’s no “check down Charlie” like current Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith. Mahomes has the arm strength to push the ball down the field and Reid, a west coast offense guy, who’s called plays for Donovan McNabb when the Philadelphia Eagles went to four NFC title games and a Super Bowl, Brett Favre when he won three consecutive NFL MVPs and Michael Vick when he revived his career after a stint in prison. Mahomes has a real QB whisperer in his ear.

Most likely to lead the league in rushing yards…. Leonard Fournette (4th overall pick/Jacksonville Jaguars). He will play with a quarterback, in Blake Bortles, that has led the league in turnovers with 63 since entering the League in 2014. Bortles struggled to hold on to the starting job in the preseason, with Coach Marrone going as far to say he preferred to not have Blake pass the ball.

The Jags coaching staff already believes in smash mouth defense and a ball control offense.  In 2016 the Jags running game averaged 4.2 yards per carry, which was 17th in the NFL, and 101.9 yards per game that was 22nd. Fournette alone will improve those numbers. He’ll have to if Bortles can’t shake the yips.

Most likely to lead the NFL in receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs… Taywon Taylor (3rd round, 72nd pick/Titans). The ball is like a magnet to his hands. During his senior season with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers he broke and set the school’s single season record for receptions and yards with 98 catches for 1,730 yards to go along with 17 TDs. He finished his career with a school record 253 catches for 4,234 yards and 41 TDs.

The Titans have a strong running game with DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry and Marcus Marriota running the read-option. What they need is a threat in the passing game and Taylor will provide just that.

Most likely to lead the league in sacks… T.J. Watt (30th overall pick/Pittsburgh Steelers). First reason, it is in his blood lines. He’s a Watt. Second, he plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 3-4 scheme that is only successful when it’s LBs blitz the QB. He got his first sack on Pittsburgh’s first defensive trip on the field in their first preseason game, he followed that up with another sack on the first play of their second defensive drive. At Wisconsin he collected 11.5 sacks in the 27 games he played. It’s what he does. Third, he’ll have the likes of Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt occupying offensive linemen to allow him to get free, plus with Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams and Bud Dupree playing alongside him, offenses won’t be scheming to stop Watt. Initially.

Most likely to lead the NFL in turnovers… Deshone Kizer (2nd round, Pick 52nd/Cleveland Browns). This organization has been snake bitten at the quarterback position since they returned to the League in 1999. Nearly 30 have started a game for the Browns in the last 18 seasons.

Cleveland is in the midst of a fire sale and don’t have much around Kizer at the skills positions. Their leading receiver from 2016, Terrelle Pryor, is in Washington and their second leading receiver, tight end Gary Barnidge, is still on the free agent market. The current leading receiver from 2016 is running back Duke Johnson Junior who had 52 catches for 514 yards.

Coach Hue Jackson has made the decision to start Kizer week one against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Therefore his growing pains are going to start early and he may very well have to shoulder the entire offense load. That’s not a good thing. Cleveland’s coaching staff and management is willing to suffer through his development, while investing in his future. He may fulfill this prediction of mine in season number one.

He will have to rely on guys who may not be on the roster next season as the team goes through a rebuilding period. It’s safe to say the turnovers will pile up, even it they aren’t entirely his fault.

Most likely to lead the League in interceptions (takeaways)…. Tre’Davious White (27th overall pick/Buffalo Bills). He hails from DBU better known as LSU, the same school that brought the NFL Patrick Petersen, Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Claiborne to name a few. The Bills still have a strong front seven that will put pressure on opposing QBs causing them to force some passes where they shouldn’t. Plus he plays in the AFC East where outside of Tom Brady, the quarterback play is VERY shoddy.

Most likely to be Offensive Rookie of the Year…. Christian McCaffrey (8th overall pick/Carolina Panthers). The Carolina Panthers will be attempting to lessen the workload on Cam Newton after his off-season shoulder surgery. Thus, they drafted McCaffrey in the first round to make use of his versatility. The Stanford alum is an all-purpose back that can contribute in the running, passing and return game. He’s going to get the most opportunities of any offensive player in this draft class.

Most likely to be Defensive Player of the Year…

Linebackers and defensive ends have dominated this award. Basically, pass rushers. The guy I really like is San Francisco 49ers LB Reuben Foster out of Alabama (31st overall pick/San Francisco 49ers). He never should have fallen this far, but, character issues hurt him.

The Niners used their two first round picks on defense (DT Solomon Thomas 3rd overall pick). While everyone is expecting new Head Coach Kyle Shanahan to rev up the offense, the San Fran D has drastically declined since the days competing with Seattle for the NFC West crown under Jim Harbaugh. Foster will rack up the tackles on a team that was the 32nd ranked defense last season. If he has the numbers and as a unit they continue to climb to a top ten team, many voters will point to him as the catalyst.

Most likely to be steal of the draft… Jake Butt (5th round, 145th pick/Denver Broncos) a nasty knee injury in Michigan’s bowl game is the reason he fell this far. Coming into the 2016 College football season, he was a projected first round pick. It was between him and Alabama’s O.J. Howard, who was selected in the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as to which was the better all-around tight end.

Denver has young QBs who will need a safety blanket in the middle of the field. He will be that. Plus, he will draw lots of one-on-one coverage with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders stretching defenses out deep down field.

Most likely to be a perennial All-Pro…. Ryan Ramczyk (32nd overall pick/New Orleans Saints)He comes from Wisconsin where they churn out as many All-Pro offensive linemen as the state does butter. Not really, but you get it. Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns, Travis Frederick of the Dallas Cowboys and Kraig Urbik of the Miami Dolphins to name a few.

Ramczyk will be charged with keeping Drew Brees up right so he can continue to pass for 5,000+ yards a season. One of the easiest ways to make an All-Pro team is to block for a QB that puts up historic numbers or a RB that is a top five rusher

Most likely to be NFL MVP…. Only six non-QBs have won the award in the last twenty seasons. The six players were running backs and one of them (Barry Sanders, 1997) shared it with Brett Favre. Therefore it’s not going out on a limb for me to predict a QB from the 2017 class will one day etch their name on the trophy.

With that being said, I’m going with DeShaun Watson (12th overall pick/Houston Texans). He’s a better version of Dak Prescott. No disrespect to the Dallas Cowboys quarterback and reigning Offensive Player of the Year. But, Watson has the same intangibles to lead a team and a better skill set. He’s shown it on the biggest stage in back-to-back National Championship games against a vaunted Alabama Crimson Tide team. His college coach Dabo Sweeney said he has some “Michael Jordan in him.” It’s hard to disagree after what we’ve already seen. The Texans are tailor-made for him to step in and lead them to glory.

Most likely to be Super Bowl MVP… Once again I’m going with DeShaun Watson. He has the number one ranked defense. The only thing that has been missing from the Houston Texans over the last three seasons has been a competent QB. Watson is more than competent and very capable of leading a team as he showed in college at Clemson. He’s a big gamer and his abilities will be even more amplified by a coach that’s already work with arguably the greatest QB of All-Time, Tom Brady.

 

Best Fits For Colin Kaepernick

That is if he isn’t REALLY being blackballed by NFL owners and executives.

Colin Kaepernick still has something left in the tank, but where will he get to display it next is the question. Photo Credit: NFL

Colin Kaepernick deserves a chance to play in the NFL. I won’t go over the list of quarterbacks who can’t compare to him that have already been signed this offseason. That angle has been beaten to death. Rather I’d like to look at the team’s that should be in demand of his skill set.

Let me also set this up by acknowledging that Kaepernick is in starting QB purgatory. He’s like an award winning lead actor who’s had several Box Office flops and now studios only inquire about his interest in a supporting role until he can get that “it” back that sold out theaters. It’s like that episode of “Entourage” when Vincent Chase had to settle for the supporting role in the “Smokejumpers” film after his fallout with Alan the head of Warner Brothers over the “Aquaman” sequel and “Medellin.” Like Vince’s agent Ari Gold told him “you’re in movie star jail.” That’s Kaepernick’s situation now.

Even though the last few seasons with the San Francisco 49ers wasn’t Colin’s fault, you can blame Owner Jed York and General manager Trent Baalke for that, Colin has to accept the fact that he’s not a starting QB right now. I put emphasis on right now. That’s not to say he still can’t be, it’s just that no team is going to invest in him being their starter at this point.

As far as his play, Colin is the definition of a dual threat quarterback. He’s not the historic prototype like Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck. So he can’t fit into any system and thrive. Think of the trouble Michael Vick had finding a team in his latter years. Kaepernick needs to be in a system where the incumbent starter does many of the same things he does best and the offense resembles the read option that helped him when he led the Niners to the Super Bowl and the NFC title game the season after.

The goal for him should be to get on a team that will help him best show that his skills haven’t eroded, just the situation around him in “The Bay” did, and possibly gain a starting offer for 2018.

With that being said, these are the teams I think he’ll be a great fit for as a backup. All of these teams have entrenched starters who play similar to the way Colin played in his best days. None of these teams would have to change their offensive schemes to fit Colin if he were called upon. That’s the “football reason” many are using to avoid signing him.

Seattle Seahawks. Can you name the Seahawks backup QB? Didn’t think so. It’s Trevone Boykin who has some off-the-field issues he has to deal with this offseason. You wouldn’t know that because Russell Wilson hasn’t missed much time since he took over in the great northwest. However, their offense suits the superior athleticism and improvisation both Wilson and Kaepernick thrive on. Wilson also struggled with some lower leg injuries last season that he played through when he probably shouldn’t have if they had a capable backup on the roster.

Plus, that locker room and head coach Pete Carroll is tailor made to handle the “distractions” that will come with signing Kaep. Plus many of the guys in that locker room agree with his anthem protest, which he says he won’t continue this season.

Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton takes a beating, which is why he just had shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. Derek Anderson is currently his backup. He’s a totally different QB than Cam, thus the Panthers would have to drastically alter their gameplan  if he’s needed to take snaps. Anderson is more suited to be Andrew Luck or Ben Roethlisberger’s backup. Kaep would allow Carolina to keep their same physical run first style in any absence of Newton.

Tennessee Titans. Marcus Mariotta is coming off a late season broken leg that could slow him down to start the 2017 season. His understudy is Matt Cassell. Those two couldn’t be any different. The Titans are also a run first offense with read option concepts. They rely heavily on their running backs DeMarco Murray and 2-year back Derrick Henry.

Buffalo Bills. If Tyrod Taylor really is their franchise QB, it makes more sense to have Kaepernick behind him than Cardale Jones, who I love, but is more like Roethlisberger or Carson Palmer. The Bills also have a strong running game led by LeSean Mccoy. Notice a theme here?

Miami Dolphins. Despite his size (6’4″ 216) Ryan Tannehill, a former wide receiver at Texas A&M, plays a more mobile game than pocket passer. Miami’s a more heavy rushing offense with Jay Ajayi in their backfield, with many read option concepts. Their backup is Matt Moore, who is more of a pocket passer. Moore is a career backup, which is why he’s in Miami, but as he showed when Tannehill was injured late last season, he can’t duplicate the success of the starter that helped get the Dolphins into the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Dallas Cowboys. With Tony Romo retired that leaves a significant void behind Dak Prescott. Right now the backup is Kellen Moore. You sure you want him to be the 2nd option? Remember how he fared in 2015 when Romo was injured for most of the season? You may say “the Cowboys wanted to move on from Romo because they don’t need Dak looking over his shoulder.” Like I said previously, at this point Kaepernick is a backup. Romo had shown when he is healthy that he’s a starter. That’s why there was a distraction, because everyone assumed Dallas would be better than they were with Dak if Romo was in the lineup. No one would be making those assumptions with Kaepernick. But Cowboy fans would feel much safer with him on the roster in case Dak were injured or suffered from a “Sophomore Slump.” Plus they have 2016 NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott, keeping with my run first theme.

All these teams I’ve looked at are heavy rushing offenses. That’s what the 49ers were in their best days with Kaepernick under center with the franchise’s all-time leading rushing Frank Gore in the backfield. Also with their style of play, they put the starter in harms way often. Signing Kaepernick would be the best insurance policy out there. After a season excelling as a backup it’s likely he’d get one of those deals Mike Glennon jut got.

Now that there is one less quarterback option on the market for teams in need, Kaepernick’s name should be coming up more. Hopefully his unemployment will end very soon, if not then we know what it is.

Buckeyes in the NFL (Week 5, 2016)

Bosa made his long overdue debut with the Chargers and had a career day. Photo Credit: Chargers.com

The highest Buckeye selected in the 2016 draft–3rd overall–made his long awaited debut in week five and appeared to be well worth the wait. Defensive end Joey Bosa lined up for the San Diego Chargers against the rival Oakland Raiders after missing the entire preseason to a contract holdout, and the first four games of the regular season to injury. Bosa had 5 tackles (2 solo) and two sacks in the Chargers 34-31 loss to the Raiders. His fellow rookie, linebacker Joshua Perry, had 3 tackles.

Ezekiel Elliott had another explosive day for the Dallas Cowboys. The 4th overall pick in the 2016 draft rushed for his third consecutive 100+ yard game. Zeke had 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 carries. He also added 3 receptions for 37 yards in the ‘Boys 28-14 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. On the other side, kicker Mike Nugent only score 2 points for the Bengals on two extra points and he missed a 50+ yard field goal.

Elliott tied with Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith for the most consecutive 130+ rushing yard games vs. the Bengals. Photo Credit: Cowboys.com

The week got off to a good start on Tuesday for former Buckeyes with the news that 11-year linebacker A.J. Hawk signed with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday after being without a team for the first four weeks. Hawk was drafted number 5th overall in 2006 by the Green Bay Packers where he played until 2014 and won a Super Bowl ring (SB XLV). He spent the 2015 season with the Cincinnati Bengals. Hawk didn’t register any stats in the Falcons 23-16 upset victory over the previously undefeated defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos.

There was supposed to be a prime Scarlet and Gray match up on the field in the trenches in Pittsburgh when the New York Jets faced off against the Steelers; center Nick Mangold versus defensive lineman Cam Heyward. But, both left the game with injury. Heyward left in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return. Mangold left in the second half with a lower leg injury. Meanwhile, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was inactive for the second straight week, while the guy who replaced him at Ohio State, Darron Lee had 4 tackles (4 solo). Lee continues to be New York’s leading tackler on the season. The Steelers won 31-13.

Terrelle Pryor seemed the be only Cleveland Brown to show up in their blowout loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Pryor had 5 catches for 48 yards and 2 rushes for 3 yards, he also had to play quarterback as the starter Cody Kessler and his backup Charlie Whitehurst were both knocked out of the game with injuries. TP was 1 of 3 passing for 5 yards as Cleveland lost 33-13. Special teams ace and U.S. Olympic Rugby player Nate Ebner had 3 tackles for the Patriots in the victory.

Running back Carlos Hyde of the San Francisco 49ers rushed for 78 yards and earned his lead leading 6th rushing touchdown on 22 carries Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals. The self-proclaimed “El Guapo” also caught 6 passes for 36 yards in the Niners 33-21 loss to the Cardinals.

Rookie Wide receiver Braxton Miller of the Houston Texans made his return to the lineup after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury. He had one catch for 12 yards in the Texans 31-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Linebacker John Simon had 6 tackles (3 solo) for Houston in the loss.

Other OSU Alumni news of note, New York Jets rookie wide receiver Jalin Marshall was inactive for the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, while rookie defensive back Eli Apple of the New York Giants missed the Sunday night matchup with the Green Bay Packers with a hamstring injury. Rookies Vonn Bell, Michael Thomas and veteran linebacker James Lauriniatis of the New Orleans Saints were on a bye this week. Their next game is next Sunday versus the Carolina Panthers in Nawlins.

Several Buckeyes hit the field in primetime on Monday Night Football. Ted Ginn Junior, Corey “Philly” Brown, Kurt Coleman, offensive lineman Andrew Norwell of the Carolina Panthers face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Charlotte.

2013 NFL Storylines to Watch

By weeks end, all 32 NFL teams will be back on the field in pursuit of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. With the anticipation mounting and the regular season still seven weeks away, here are the top storylines to ponder as you wait for kickoff.

Is This The Beginning Of The Demise Of The New England Patriots?

Courtesy: NOLA.com

Tom Brady has lost two of his top three targets from last season. Aaron Hernandez is in jail awaiting trial after being indicted on murder charges, Wes Welker is now one of Brady’s rival’s (Peyton Manning) key threats with the Denver Broncos. Don’t forget his top target Rob Gronkowski is on the mend from a broken forearm that has been broken twice and back surgery. Lastly, the entire organization seems to be underfire again after Hernandez’s legal troubles, as well as cornerback Alfonzo Dennard’s DUI arrest.

So who are the Patriots? We will learn this season. This will likely be the most scrutinized and challenging season since Spygate and the 2008 season when Brady tore up his knee on the first play of the season. However, until another team defeats them for the AFC East title they’ll always be the favorite, but their reign may end soon with the moves the Miami Dolphins have made bringing in wideout Mike Wallace from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe from the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. Can the Pats use some Tebow magic? I can’t believe I just said that, I won’t go there.

Will RG III, Be RG III?

Courtesy: ESPN.com

Sophomore slump isn’t even the biggest concern for last season’s Rookie of The Year. Coming off a gruesome knee injury in the NFC Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks, where both his ACL and LCL needed surgery in the offseason, many are wondering if Robert Griffin will make an Adrian Peterson comeback or be like other mere mortals who have taken close to a full year to return to form.

The NFC West, The NFC’s Best?

Courtesy: devianART.com

There was a time recently when this division was known by many as the NFC worst. The San Francisco 49ers will begin their season with Quarterback Colin Kaepernick having his first full training camp as the starter. The reigning NFC Champions are all in for not only a return to the Super Bowl, but winning it all. Shortly after losing to the Baltimore Ravens, they traded for wide receiver Anquan Boldin from the reigning Champs. At the time it was seen as just a shrewed move for insurance purposes, but after the leading receiver Michael Crabtree blew his ACL in the offseason, the Boldin move is now even more important. If they have any shot of getting to Super Bowl 48 in New York, Boldin will have to be Kaepernick’s go to guy like he was for Joe Flacco.

The Seattle Seahawks are much improved as well, adding triple threat wide receiver Percy Harvin to their arsenal after making a trade with the Minnesota Vikings. Quarterback Russell Wilson will come into the season with a full training camp as the starter after battling and beating out Matt Flynn last season. Wilson is expected to be better and lead an offense that is more high powered than last season’s when they surprisingly made it to the Divisional Playoff round.

The St. Louis Rams went 4-1-1 in the division. This will be their second year under Head Coach Jeff Fisher and are expected to be improved on offense, especially with the addition of do it all weapon Tavon Austin. The Rams will need to find an answer at running back after losing Stephen Jackson to the Atlanta Falcons.

The Arizona Cardinals shouldn’t be totally inept at the Quarterback position after bringing in former Pro Bowler Carson Palmer from the Oakland Raiders. Palmer should be able to jump start an offense that let their defense down after getting off to a 4-0 start in 2012. If he can regain any of his old form he had with the Cincinnati Bengals, he should be able to help wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald revitalize the offense.

The winner of this division could very well be the NFC representative in Super Bowl 48.

What Defending Champions?

Courtesy: Sports Illustrated/CNN

The Baltimore Ravens lost 9 starters from their Super Bowl winning team including Iconic leaders Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, as well as Danell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger; that’s just on defense. As mentioned previously, they traded wide receiver Anquan Boldin to their Super Bowl 47 opponent. Can we really call them the defending champions?! The AFC North which is widely regarded as the best division in the NFL looks to be headed for a down year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost key Receiver Mike Wallace to the Miami Dolphins, former Defensive Player of The Year James Harrison now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, also the Steelers top ranked Defense from a year ago is another year older which has been the knock on them for the past three seasons. Don’t be surprised if this division will have a throwback to the late 1980s and come down to the battle of Ohio for the title.

Will Matt Ryan And The Dirty Birds Fly North For The Winter?

Courtesy: Atlanta Journal Constitution.com

Matty Ice and the Atlanta Falcons were 30 minutes away from representing the NFC in Super Bowl 47 before they collapsed to the 49ers. The Falcons have talked Tony Gonzales into postponing his time on the Hall of Fame clock for enshrinement, to return for a 17th season and another shot at an elusive Super Bowl. Running back Stephen Jackson brings his 10,135 rushing yards from St. Louis to the ATL to help balance out one of the best aerial attacks in the NFL. After winning his first playoff game in 4 season, it all falls on Matt Ryan. Can he be like Joe Flacco and EARN his place on the list of NFL elite QBs?

Rookie Quarterbacks

There is no Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson in this class. There was only one QB taken in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL draft. After last season’s class rivaled the one of 2004 with Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, not many are expecting much from this group of signal callers. However, there will be plenty of intrigue from the group. Will Geno Smith end the Mark Sanchez era with the New York Jets? Will Buffalo’s EJ Mannuel justify being selected 16th overall by the Buffalo Bills? Most had him pegged as a third rounder, second rounder at best. If the Philadelphia Eagles struggle early in Head Coach Chip Kelly’s first season, will he pull Michael Vick and look to the future in Matt Barkley out of USC? Barkley was said to be headed towards being a #1 pick whenever he decided to leave So Cal before an injury and unexpected down senior season.

Dallas Cowboys

When is America’s team not a storyline? Tony Romo got paid this offseason to the tune of 6 years $108 million, $55 million guaranteed. The expectation is now he’ll have more of role in the offensive game plan. Jerry Jones raised eyebrows when he said Romo will have “Peyton Manning like” responsibilities. Can Romo in his 10th season, finally get over the hump and restore glory to one of the most glamorous positions in all of sports?

Records Are Made To Be Broken

Courtesy: NY Daily News

Last season Minnesota Vikings Running back Adrian Peterson did the unthinkable for everyone but him and returned from a gruesome knee injury at the end of the 2011 season to fall 9 yards short of Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record in 2012. AP is on record as saying he wants to rush for 2,500 yards this season, which will shatter Dickerson’s record of 2,106.

Courtesy: ESPN.com

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson overcame the EA Sports Madden cover jinx to break Jerry Rice’s single season receiving yards record that stood since 1988. Megatron is already predicting he’ll be the first to receive over 2,000 yards in a single season.

Good luck to both of them. Every Defensive coordinator will have 8 in the box against the Vikings and triple coverage against the Lions planned all season. Either way, i’ll be watching to see if they can come through on their predictions.

Ice Bowl, I Mean Super Bowl 48.

Courtesy: Football.ballparks.com

Most people are looking forward to the Super Bowl not because of who will be playing in it, but because of the elements the game could be played under. The big game will be played outside in a cold weather city for the first time when the AFC and NFC champions take the field in MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014. In 2013, the temperature in the New York, New Jersey area on was 19 degrees on the same day. Will 2014 bring the same? Will a successful game in Super Bowl 48 open doors for other cold weather cities with outdoor stadiums like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago or Philadelphia to get a Super Bowl in the future?

My Predictions

I reserve the right to change this after the preseason before the opening game of week one. I’m confident in these picks barring MAJOR injuries.

Regular Season Awards:

Most Valuable Player: Quarterback, Matt Ryan (ATL)

Rookie of The Year: Running back, Monte Ball (DEN)

Defensive Rookie of The Year: Linebacker, Jarvis Jones (PIT)

Defensive Player of The Year: Linebacker, DeMarcus Ware (DAL)

Coach of The Year: Pete Carroll (SEA)

Division Winners:

AFC East: Miami Dolphins

AFC North: Cincinnati Bengals

AFC South: Houston Texans

AFC West: Denver Broncos

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys

NFC North: Green Bay Packers

NFC South: Atlanta Falcons

NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

Conference Championship Games:

NFC: Atlanta Falcons Vs. Seattle Seahawks. Winner: Atlanta Falcons

AFC: Houston Texans Vs. Denver Broncos. Winner: Houston Texans

Super Bowl 48: Atlanta Falcons vs. Houston Texans; Champion: Atlanta Falcons

Getting Tony Gonzales to return and signing Stephen Jackson will keep the continuity of the most high powered offense in the NFL. This is what Matt Ryan needs in addition to getting the playoff monkey off his back to lead this team to its first Super Bowl title. 15 years after their first and only Super Bowl appearance, the Dirty Bird returns to dance at the 50 yard line in the New Meadowlands.