Archive for May, 2014

>>Transfer wide receiver Jordan Leslie may become Taysom Hill’s new number one target. Jordan Leslie, an engineering graduate from UTEP has transferred to BYU for his Senior season and at 6’3″, 210 lbs Leslie can help BYU cruise to some major victories this season.

9/6 @ University of Texas – BYU upset Texas in 2013 in the same season that saw long-tenured Mack Brown depart from the Longhorns. With a new, talented coach in Charlie Strong, BYU will have an uphill battle in Austin without standouts Kyle Van Noy and Daniel Sorensen on defense and 6’4″ Cody Hoffman at wide receiver. If dynamic threat Taysom Hill can step up as a passer, BYU has a chance to win in Texas. Texas also sent standout players DE Jackson Jeffcoat and WR Mike Davis to the NFL as undrafted free agents. Texas will be lucky if they can start QB David Ash currently recovering from surgery as backup Tyrone Swoopes hasn’t demonstrated the passing prowess of Ash.

9/11 vs. University of Houston – BYU bested the (other) Cougars in a shootout in a 47-46 shootout last season. BYU will have homefield advantage, but Houston’s Sophomore John O’Korn has only improved since their last matchup. Houston also played above average defense in 2013 statistically speaking, though their competition is considered softer than average. BYU will need their defense to step up to contain O’Korn and the young passing offense Houston brings to the field.

10/3 vs. Utah State – Utah State’s put a strong product on the field for the past two seasons. The Aggies fielded a top ten scoring defense in 2013, with 17.1 points per game allowed in 2013. BYU’s dynamic offense allowed them to beat USU 31-14 last season in Logan. The arrival of Jordan Leslie as a true deep threat and BYU’s running offense should again allow BYU to handle USU’s defense. If BYU’s defense can contain QB Chuckie Keaton they have a strong chance against the Aggies in 2014.

10/9 @ UCF – Central Florida will have to operate without former starting QB Blake Bortles and starting RB Storm Johnson lost to the NFL draft. UCF will look to their ten returning starters on a top-20 scoring defense from 2013 and young RB William Stanback to build on a promising freshman season and establish a “ground and pound” philosophy with questions at QB. If Hill, Leslie and RB Jamaal Williams can establish a balanced rhythm on offense the Cougars should be able to beat UCF without too much trouble.

10/24 @ Boise State – Boise State lost two talented wide receivers to the draft but returns a powerful runner in Jay Ajayi. Boise State has a balanced offense with Grant Hedrick taking over at QB and Ajayi already having established himself as a top college bruiser. BYU overcame Boise State 37-20 with homefield advantage in 2013. If Bronco Mendenhall can build a strong defense out of 2014’s roster BYU will again have a favorable matchup against Boise State.

11/15 vs. UNLV – UNLV went to their first bowl game in 2013 in what seems like forever. UNLV saw RB Tim Cornett leave for the NFL but still returns Caleb Herring in a largely unimpressive statistical roster. 6’3″ wide receiver Devante Davis scored ten touchdowns in three games last season showing his ceiling and nose for the endzone. UNLV allowed more points than they scored in lopsided losses last season and BYU’s relatively strong recruiting should give them the upper hand.

Aside from key divisional match-ups (Miami and N.Y. Jets) and the occasional trap game (Detroit, San Diego) New England has five regular season games to establish their 2014 “clout” among the other heavyweights of the NFL. Fortunately for New England three of these games are home in “friendly” Foxboro Stadium.

Week 5: 10/5 vs. Cincinnati Bengals – New England gets CB Brandon Browner back from suspension just in time for their week five contest against Cincinnati. Hopefully Browner will be ready to jump right in and and put the brakes on one of Cincinnati’s first round tight ends or end-zone threat Marvin Jones. Andy Dalton’s quarterback woes have been well documented and New England’s suddenly strong secondary matches up well with Cincinnati’s one-man (A.J. Green and friends) show in the passing game. New England’s greatest struggle may be containing running backs shifty Giovani Bernard and bruising Jeremy Hill. Cincinnati has a top offensive line (according to profootballfocus.com) and will put the Patriots front seven to the test.

Week 8: 10/26 vs. Chicago Bears – Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner will have an exciting match up against the top wide receiving duo in the NFL. Chicago’s defense looks to improve on their dreadful performance from 2013, Chicago’s one Achilles’ Heel are the safeties which Brady will look to expose with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. Chicago may be choosing between 2013 underperformers Chris Conte, M.D. Jennings (a Green Bay castoff) and Brock Vereen a rookie to start at safety. New England will also need to contain ageless wonder Jared Allen from putting pressure on a 37 year old Tom Brady. The health of Rob Gronkowski will make a huge difference for New England’s ability to move the chains against Chicago’s improved defense.

Week 9: 11/2 vs. Denver Broncos – A rematch from 2013, New England got lucky waiting for Denver to make a special teams gaffe that cost them the game. New England ended up winning in classic New England fashion, by kicking their opponent to death at the very last second. A (presumably) healthy Revis and Browner should put up more of a fight than Aqib Talib was able to. Obviously pressuring Manning and taking away his favorite targets will be key to New England’s victory. On offense the Patriots will need to establish the run game against a fierce group of pass rushers and defensive backs (Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, and rookie Bradley Roby). New England’s receiving corps won’t scare anybody unless one of their young talents can step in in year two (and if they can force Denver to honor their running game).

Week 11: 11/16 @ Indianapolis Colts – New England pummeled Indianapolis in the playoffs with battering ram LeGarrette Blount. New England will have to choose between fumble-ridden Stevan Ridley and inexperienced fullback James Develin to start a runner that weighs more than 205 lbs. Indianapolis has been inconsistent in the past but can hang with the best of the NFL when playing at the top of their game. Picking on a first time starter at SS for Indianapolis and looking for the screen pass to take advantage of an overly-aggressive pass rush may be New England’s best strategy in Indianapolis. Indy may not be so exposed against the run as they were last season with the addition of former Brown ILB D’Qwell Jackson.

On defense New England will need to contain an underrated group of wideouts in Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Hakeem Nicks, and rookie Donte Moncrief. Indianapolis also has a pair of young tight ends (Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen) and basketball standout Erik Swoope who could provide coverage mismatches for New England’s defense. Brandon Browner and the rest of the NE secondary will have their hands full trying to contain the group of tall athletes.

Week 13: 11/30 @ Green Bay Packers – Green Bay routinely puts a quality product on the field and 2014 looks to be no different. Green Bay has a host of young rookies who could develop quickly into downfield receiving threats. Davante Adams had video game receiving numbers at Fresno State with over twenty receiving touchdowns in 2013. Sure-handed Jared Abbrederis’s received praise for his finesse in route running and 6’4″ Jeff Janis could prove troublesome to cover. And then there’s Cal TE Richard Rodgers who could become Green Bay’s replacement for the oft-injured Jermichael Finley. New England has depth enough at secondary and has a fighting chance against a strong and dynamic Green Bay roster if they can (again) take advantage of a rookie safety in Ha Ha Clinton Dix and establish a running offense with Ridley and the gang.

 

New England’s chances of returning to the postseason (as usual) rely on their ability to stay healthy and for their young talent to make strides in the passing game. New England’s window of opportunity to hoist another Lombardi trophy is closing and Bill Belichick will have to devise his best schemes yet to stay ahead of the competition.

 

“Instabilities of the Sun-Jupiter-Asteroid Three Body Problem.” That’s the name of the paper Ravens rookie Guard John Urschel published in the Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy scholarly journal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Urschel) during his time at Penn State. Like fellow football star/scholar Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Urschel hails from our northern brother in Winnipeg, Canada. Also like Duvernay-Tardif, Urschel graduated with outstanding grades. Urschel has a 4.0 gpa in his Bachelors and 4.0 in his master’s in mathematics. But two college degrees just isn’t enough for John Urschel. He’s begun work on a master’s in Math Education and has intentionsof earning a Ph.D. after his football career has been completed.” Why not? If you’re going to be a Canadian-born football star/Mega Scholar, you may as well go all the way. 

Urschel also has experience teaching at Penn State in undergrad math courses. Urschel “also is doing research in multigrid methods and computational mathematics.” I don’t think my skull will ever grow large enough to hold enough brain matter for me to be able to understand what “multigrid methods” or “computational methods” are. 

Urschel is also a talented enough lineman to be drafted by the Ravens in the fifth round. Nolan Nawrocki, creator of much of the content for nfl.com’s “draft profiles” had this to say about Urschel. “Underpowered, quick-footed, scrappy, zone blocker with the smarts, movement skill and competitive zeal to emerge as a very efficient pro. Displays the quickness highly desired at the pivot and might prove to be best at center.”

Urschel’s collected 24 starts at right guard during his time at Penn State and was a team captain at Penn State. Urschel has great size to be a next level interior lineman with a solid combine effort of a 5.31 40 time and 30 reps on the benchpress.

Many college athletes take the easiest courses and have tutors practically do the work for them. Urschel took the opposite direction and showed he’s dedicated to something other than himself or even sports. His work will benefit him and his other life endeavors forever and Urschel stands as a great example for young people as to what the point of College really is. To be passionate about and learn to apply something major into your life.

All sources, metrics, data, statistics, quotes (regarding Urschel’s academics), the title of the journal and paper come from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Urschel.

The quote by Nolan Nawrocki and the information about Urschel’s starts and combine performance come from http://www.nfl.com/draft/2014/profiles/john-urschel?id=2543845.

 

The dust has settled. The draft’s finished. Houston sent in the clown. Here are some of my predictions for the 2014 season for the AFC North.

Cleveland just okay, not great

I predicted Cleveland would become a playoff team on the assumption that Cleveland would draft wide receivers early and often. And that troubled-superstar Josh Gordon would be on the field. Cleveland failed to draft one wide receiver. Not even in the later rounds. They could’ve taken Odell Beckham at number eight. Instead they’re looking at Miles Austin, Earl Bennett, and Andrew Hawkins duking it out for starting jobs at wideout. Cue the laughter. Maybe in 2015 Cleveland will be a power team. They could draft Amari Cooper and Josh Gordon will be back.

The way things are now, Ben Tate will get injured about week six, and the Browns will be relying on a couple of rookies on offense (Manziel, Terrance West) to keep them in games. Maybe the Browns go 8-8, but they don’t look like a playoff caliber team anymore.

Pittsburgh returns to relevance

The Steelers reestablished their brand with a pair of tough defensive linemen (Stephon Tuitt, Daniel McCullers) and athletic linebackers (Ryan Shazier, Jordan Zumwalt) in the draft. Shaquille Richardson and Wesley Johnson should help stabilize positions of need. Wide Receiver Martavis Bryant should fight for the number two spot with Markus Wheaton and both will play a major role in the offense with Lance Moore stepping in as a role player. Dri Archer is a natural complement to bruising LeVeon Bell and LeGarrette Blount. Pittsburgh’s offense will have greater ability to spread defenses out and ultimately win double-digit games this season. I expect week seventeen to be the deciding match for the Steelers and Bengals to win the AFC North.

Cincinnati – Searching for an identity

Cincinnati has a strong defense with inconsistent QB play. The drafting of Jeremy Hill suggests the Bengals want to be a power run team..? A.J. Green and the Gresham/Eifert duo combine for a strong passing attack. WR Marvin Jones has demonstrated a nose for the endzone with ten touchdowns on only 51 receptions. Cincinnati can get by on talent against the NFL’s weaker teams, but to stay competitive against Baltimore and Pittsburgh they’ll have to get more consistent. The drafting of A.J. McCarron sends a clear signal to Andy Dalton that his job is not secure without improvement. If Dalton plays like Dalton, expect to see Cincinnati end the season with 9-10 wins.

Baltimore at a crossroads

A healthy Dennis Pitta, bringing in Steve Smith and the drafting of Mike Campanaro into the offense should help Ravens fans forget about the offensive ineptitude that plagued Baltimore in 2013. Colorado State TE Crockett Gilmore looks like he’ll replace departed Ed Dickson. Ray Rice, even if he misses no time struggled last season. We may see Bernard Pierce taking more handoffs with Rice’s on and off-the-field struggles.

Baltimore added three potential starters with their first three selections in C.J. Mosley, Timmy Jernigan, and Terrence Brooks. If Baltimore can stay healthy, they can make the AFC North one of the toughest divisions in football. The Ravens have a very beatable schedule. Baltimore should near the 9-10 win mark like Cincinnati in 2014.

Foo Fighters – My Hero, Live, Acoustic (Slow Version)

Slowing down “My Hero” puts emphasis on the lyrical emotion in the song and less so on the fast-paced nature of much of rock music. It’s easier to see Foo Fighters as artists than as hard-thrashing bros with guitars. Not that there’s anything wrong with hard-thrashing bros with guitars, but I like to believe my favorite artists have depth to their music.

Foo Fighters – Let it die

What gets me about “Let it die” is the jump in seriousness when Grohl bellows out:

Do you ever think of me?
You’re so considerate.
Do you ever think of me?
Oh, so considerate.”

It’s at this point the song gains new life and almost becomes it’s own animal from a calm poem to a rage-fueled storm of words. Supposedly Dave Grohl claims the song is not about departed Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain. Whatever the source of the anguish, it’s properly channeled in “Beautiful veins and bloodshot eyes” a likely drug abuse reference.

Foo Fighters – The Pretender

A fast-paced frenzy of self-assuredness and anger at apparent deception “keep you in the dark, you know they all pretend”, The Pretender gets going with “Send in your skeletons, Sing as their bones go marching in again” and keeps the beat until the song’s end. The Pretender doesn’t try to get too deep with the lyrics performing great as a fast-paced, angry rock anthem.

Pearl Jam – Sirens

Eddie Vedder and the musicians of Pearl Jam created an emotionally rich work with Sirens. “Sirens” puts out a more mature, old-man vibe than Pearl Jam’s earlier tunes. The climax of the song hits when Vedder admits the reality of death and what’s truly important in his life.

Want you to know that should I go,
I always loved you, held you high above, too.”

Pearl Jam – Even Flow

Even flow addresses the difficult reality that many of the homeless face today. Not only are they homeless, but they lack faith or mental/psychological stability to improve their situation.

“Kneelin’, looking through the paper though he doesn’t know to read, ooh yeah
Oh, prayin’, now to something that has never showed him anything.”

The end of the song features Vedder muttering about the protagonists’ own death. Probably minor commentary on how when a homeless man dies, it’s not considered the same tragedy as when a wealthy businessman or successful athlete/scientist/actor dies.

Kings of Leon – Coming back again

Coming back again (so far as I can tell) tells the story of an ex-lover resurrecting formerly deeply buried emotions.

I saw you right be-
Fore your eyes caught mine
Better than the rest

And I can feel it coming back again
I got a feeling coming back again”

Ex-significant others are a hairy situation in and of themselves, illustrated in the song : “you got me on the ropes, you got me on the ropes again.” Vocalist Caleb Folowill does an excellent job of guiding the song with his southern accent.

Audioslave – Be Yourself

“Be Yourself” found me over the radio in High School. The ever-grunginess of Chris Cornell permeates “Be Yourself” with contrasting dark and light stories:

Someone falls to pieces
Sleeping all alone
Someone kills the pain
Spinning in the silence
To finally drift away
Someone gets excited
In a chapel yard
Catches a bouquet
Another lays a dozen
White roses on a grave”

The message of the song, that regardless of good or bad, the only constant can be the self. You can’t control the weather, but you can control your attitude about the weather. It’s only a little ironic that Audioslave’s grunge-hit rings true with the Genie’s advice for “Prince” Aladdin in the Disney Masterpiece.

Arcade Fire – Ready to start

More indie than other entrants on the list, Ready to Start nails the (unofficial) grunge theme perfectly. If, then statements are important in philosophy for determining truth:

If I was scared… I would
And if I was bored… you know I would
And if I was yours… but I’m not

Now I’m ready to start”

“If I was yours… but I’m not” implies a freedom from a relationship “You say can we still be friends.”

“Now I’m ready to start” illustrates how the voice of the song can “start” his life away from being “yours” and instead be “his.”

Other, non grunge songs worth listening to include:

Of Monsters and Men – Yellow Light (The lyrics for Yellow Light make little to no sense to me. But I love the calm instrumental tones in conjunction with the general ‘guided by the light’ theme.)

We Were Promised Jetpacks – Keeping Warm (over 8 minutes long, most of the song is instrumental. Keeping Warm has a positive message for the listener “The chances of being born are so slim, so keep warm, keep warm.” And of course Adam Thompson’s Scottish accent sets WWPJ’s music apart from many other bands alone.)

B.O.B – John Doe ft. Priscilla (A rap song about prescription drug addiction, B.o.B is one of my favorite artists expressing self-awareness and generally less vapid song topics than many other rappers.)

Daughter – Medicine (It is a sad song. But sad songs are good every once in a while. Another song about drug addiction:

You could still be, 
what you want to be, 
What you said you were, 
when you met me.” 

The lyrics emphasize the distance between the addict and the burned lover in an infinitely better way than I just tried to describe on paper. Don’t listen to too much Daughter all at once or you’ll start wearing dark clothes and sipping coffee at Starbucks and waking up at noon everyday.)

Jamie Cullum – Don’t stop the music (Cullum’s jazz/pop rendition of the Rihanna song with piano accompaniment is simple yet striking. When I hear Jamie Cullum cover a song it almost sounds like the song was originally written for him to sing it, thus is his effectiveness with creative license in turning songs into his own creation.)

Maybeshewill – He films the clouds, pt. 2. (I learned about this band by watching this amazing video based on Max Manus, a notorious anti-nazi saboteur during WWII. The song itself doesn’t boast much in the way of lyrics, mainly entertaining for it’s instrumental work. Which is terrific and haunting.)

Dropkick Murphys – Rose Tattoo (A different feel from other songs on the list, Rose Tattoo made it to my workout playlist which means I generally don’t listen to it at other times so as not to confuse my pavlovian-trained brain. Tattoo’s written with lyrics of self-effacing “I ain’t winnin’ no one over”, and regret:

“Wore the faces of my own
I had these memories all around me
So I wouldn’t be alone”

Rose Tattoo expounds that behind the rough exterior and booze-ridden lifestyle, there is a man driven by selfless love for another whose life he values more than his own.

“I’ve got your name written here,
In a rose tattoo
In a rose tattoo
In a rose tattoo
Signed and sealed in blood I would die for you.”)

Todd Gurley, UGA RB

Gurley’s the best running back in College Football. His season was cut short dude to injury in 2013. Gurley’s got ideal size for the position at 6’1″ and weighing in at just over 230 lbs. He’s gotten it done against top college defenses including a 150+ yard/2 touchdown performance against Clemson and a 130+ yard/2 TD (1 TD rushing, 1 TD receiving) performance against Jadeveon Clowney’s alumni South Carolina. Finally, Gurley finished off the 2013 regular season with a dramatic double overtime win over Georgia Tech with 150+ yards from scrimmage and 4 total touchdowns on the day. Gurley’s a proven grinder who can run down the middle or catch the ball out of the backfield.

Amari Cooper, Alabama WR

Cooper saw his production drop in 2013 with a few games lost to injury but finished off his sophomore season better than any receiver in the country with seven touches for 200+ yards from scrimmage performance against fierce rival Auburn and a nine-catch, 121-yard performance in a loss to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. Cooper stands at a humble 6’1″, 202 lbs but has big-game potential.

Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M OT

Ogbuehi is the next bruising tackle in line at Texas A&M. Ogbuehi’s primed to be an early first round draft selection come 2015. At 6’5″ and 300 lbs, Ogbuehi could probably put on a little size to be a future franchise offensive tackle but has great height and excellent blocking production in his time protecting Heisman trophy QB Johnny Manziel. His time as a left tackle in 2014 will solidify his future as a franchise OT at the next level. Ogbuehi already’s slotted as a top-five overall selection in the 2015 draft by NFL talent guru Todd McShay. Ogbuehi’s got significant starting experience at guard and at right tackle suggesting he can be a versatile asset in any offense he’s drafted into.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon QB

Mariota would’ve been the first QB drafted in the 2014 draft if he’d come out this season. Houston may have even drafted him over Clowney. Mariota had absolute video game numbers this season and looks to only improve next year. He’s a great athlete as a runner but an even better passer and has great size/height to translate to the NFL. Mariota routinely torches opposing defenses and put up 50+ points in six games last season. Mariota produced 40 total touchdowns (31 passing, 9 rushing) with only four interceptions in 2013 with a gaudy 9.5 YPA on the season. Mariota will have another highlight reel season in 2014 and be a top five pick in the draft in 2015 if he chooses to come out.

Brett Hundley, UCLA QB

Hundley’s another Junior QB prospect from the Pac-12. UCLA doesn’t have the explosive passing offense used by Oregon, but Hundley still posted very strong passing  metrics with 35 total touchdowns (24 passing, 11 rushing) and 9 interceptions on the season. His completion percentage improved to 67.2 on the season with 8.32 YPA on the season. Hundley possesses acceptable measurables standing at 6’3″ and 222 lbs at playing weight. Hundley closed out 2013 with a decisive 35-14 win over a strong USC defense and an 42-12 thrashing of Logan Thomas’s Virginia Tech Hokies. Hundley was responsible for over 350 yards of offense and four touchdowns in the 2013 Sun Bowl against Virginia Tech.

Devin Funchess, Michigan TE

Funchess could stand to put on some weight at 228 with a 6’5″ frame, but he has the capacity to do so. Funchess caught seven touchdowns in 2013 and seemed to be at his best against Michigan’s toughest opponents. Funchess caught two touchdowns in a grueling quadruple (yes, quadruple) overtime loss to Penn State and one touchdown each in close losses to Nebraska (13-17) and to Ohio State(41-42) to close out the regular season. Funchess is a big-game threat who could become the centerpiece of the Michigan offense in 2014 with the departure of WR Jeremy Gallon in the draft.

6. Tennessee drafts OT Taylor Lewan in the first round 

The Titans have a high caliber starting left tackle in Michael Roos. The Titans also recently signed former Raven Michael Oher to presumably become their new right tackle. Tennessee awarded Oher with a 4-year, $20 million dollar contract with $9.5 million guaranteed. This setup is what made the drafting of Taylor Lewan in the first round so puzzling. As a standalone selection Taylor Lewan looks very solid and could probably become a starting tackle from week one if Tennessee wanted him to be. If that was the plan all along, why spend big money on Oher? Perhaps Titans GM Rusty Webster realized he’d made a monumental error in signing the underperforming Oher (especially to such a big contract) and drafted Lewan to correct his recent error. Whatever the thinking, the signing of Oher makes the drafting of Lewan superfluous for 2014.

5. Carolina doesn’t draft (or sign) a single Offensive Tackle 

Carolina has a gaping hole at starting left tackle after the retirement of Jordan Gross in late February. This gave Carolina plenty of time to pursue any of the big name tackles in free agency or to draft a tackle. But they didn’t do either. The Panthers only have three OT’s on their roster right now, with starting Right Tackle Byron Bell being the only one with more than three games’ experience. The Panthers opted to draft Kelvin Benjamin, a wide receiver in the first round of the draft. The second round, a prime opportunity for the Panthers to draft an OT, saw Carolina taking a falling DE Kony Ealy. Ealy made sense as a value pick, but only if Carolina would eventually draft a tackle. Which they did not do. They did draft an O-lineman with their third selection, but it was a Guard, LSU’s Trai Turner. Guards don’t come to the NFL and switch over to Tackle. Tackles come to the NFL and switch to Guard. The Panthers seem to have a massive hole at one of the team’s most important starting position. Perhaps Panthers head coach Ron Rivera plans to suit up and play on the offensive line. They certainly need it.

4. Philadelphia stretches out, reaches for OLB/DE Marcus Smith in the first round

Marcus Smith had great production at Louisville last season. But his measurables didn’t blow anyone away. And most importantly Smith rated out as a 3rd round/BORDERLINE second round prospect coming out of College. Smith would have EASILY been available by the time Philadelphia drafted again. At worst they could have drafted a first round prospect (Marqise Lee/Kony Ealy/Ra’Shede Hageman) and traded up to get Smith in the second if they were really worried he’d be drafted by the time Philadelphia drafted again. If Smith has a productive season (9 sacks or more ish) then the pick will make more sense than it does now. Either way, Smith is a huge reach for Philly in the most important round of the Draft.

3. San Diego State RB Adam Muema decides to leave the combine halfway through and live in an airport

No that is not a headline from The Onion. That really happened. Prior to the surreal turn of events, Muema actually had a very productive season as an Aztec in 2013 with a bright future ahead of him. But things took a bizarre, downward spiral after the season. Muema left the draft early because “God told him to” and is now apparently in Mexico preparing for the end of the world. The whole story is genuinely bizarre and I recommend you go read some actual good sportswriting via Sports Illustrated to get the whole scoop. I’m a generally Christian guy (in that I believe in generally Christian principles, not that I am always a perfect Christian person) and I do believe it’s possible that God could talk to a human being. But (I think) that’s not happening here. Mental illness is a serious thing and I don’t encourage making light of Muema’s plight. But someone should probably conduct an intervention before Muema joins the wrong cult.

2. Oakland lets beastly Left Tackle Jared Veldheer walk

This is Jared Veldheer. He is one of the league’s top blindside tackles with monstrous size and strength. Arizona signed him in free agency after Oakland let him stroll out the door to a five-year, $37.5 million dollar contract. This would have been a perfectly reasonable price for Oakland with their salary cap available and considering how talented Veldheer is. They instead signed former Jets right tackle Austin Howard to a five-year, $30 million dollar contract. Absolutely it saves Oakland some money but Howard will never be the player Veldheer is. In week seven Veldheer returns to Oakland when the Raiders host the Cardinals. Hopefully Oakland’s bargain roster can compete in with Arizona in that game and for the rest of 2014. The decision to let Veldheer walk is one of the most questionable ones of the offseason.

1. Philadelphia cuts Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson

Why did Philadelphia really cut DeSean Jackson? Was it the gang ties alluded to by nj.com? Was he really a locker room cancer as SI suggests? Did he really not fit in with the offense, or buy into it? The outside world may never know why Kelly wanted him off the team. We do know the Eagles either couldn’t or wouldn’t trade Jackson for fear of giving themselves a bad reputation to teams they want to remain on good terms with. Jackson had a career year in 2013 as the centerpiece of Kelly’s high profile passing attack. The drafting of Jordan Matthews out of Vanderbilt suggests Jackson’s already been replaced in Philly, though it remains unlikely the Eagles will have another receiver of Jackson’s pure speed and receiving talent for a very long time.

Jackson opted to sign with NFC East foe Washington. He and Robert Griffin III will have plenty of opportunities to burn the Eagle’s very soft defense for years to come.

Looking ahead

There’s still plenty of time for teams to humiliate themselves with poor roster moves. Intense pressure to “win now” can lead to moves like the Bills decision to give up a first round pick in exchange for Sammy Watkins over a player like Odell Beckham because coaches are constantly coaching for their jobs. Calling moves like these questionable is easy to do now but will be truly tested during the regular season. September cannot get here soon enough.