Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

  • Jets – Trevor Lawrence, Clemson QB – Lawrence is widely considered to be the best quarterback in the class. Only him or Fields would really make any sense at number one.
  • Jaguars – Justin Fields, Ohio State QB – Fields is a strong downfield thrower who rarely turns the ball over.
  • Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase, LSU WR – Chase is the draft’s best receiver, and Burrow’s teammate in 2019 at LSU.
  • Cowboys – Penei Sewell, Oregon OL – Jerry has invested heavily in the offensive line. Because of injuries and departures the Cowboys no longer field a strong group up front. Sewell is this years’ Quenton Nelson.
  • Football Team – Trey Lance, North Dakota State QB – Lance’s ceiling is sky high and lets Washington start over.
  • Chargers – Jaylen Waddle, Alabama WR – The Bolts need to upgrade their offensive line, but this is an opportunity to draft an elite wide receiver.
  • Giants – Micah Parsons, Penn State LB – The Giants have an identity on defense and don’t want to move on from Daniel Jones yet.
  • Dolphins (from Texans) – Devonta Smith, Alabama WR – Tua gets a familiar face and an elite receiver.
  • Falcons – Christian Barmore, Alabama DT – The Falcons defense continues to be a liability. Barmore and Jarrett could be powerful together.
  • Panthers – Zach Wilson, BYU QB – Teddy’s been impressive in the Panthers’ offense. Wilson could learn from his mentorship and give the Panthers a bigger arm while still throwing with accuracy.
  • Lions – Patrick Surtain II, Alabama CB – It’s tough to predict whether Quinn/Patricia will be in town for the 21 draft. I think Surtain is a great value pick here no matter who is drafting.
  • Patriots – Dylan Moses, Alabama LB – We all know New England needs to draft a quarterback. Belichick feels at home drafting defense. Patriots might go cornerback here, Belichick loves his corners.
  • Vikings – Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech CB – Minnesota’s regretting the guaranteed money Cousins contract. Farley address a deep need in the Vikings defense.
  • 49ers – Elijah Moore, Ole Miss WR – Moore is on fire. He’s a slot receiver, but Shanahan will know better than anyone how to get him down the field.
  • Broncos – Gregory Rousseau, Miami DE – A stud pass rusher, Rousseau can alleviate the loss of Von Miller.
  • Bears – Mac Jones, Alabama QB – The Bears will never be competitive until they get a real quarterback.
  • Dolphins – Kwity Paye, Michigan DL – Paye can line up at End or Tackle. Flores will value Paye’s versatility.
  • Ravens – Richard LeCounte, UGA DB – LeCounte can offset the loss of Earl Thomas, and the Ravens’ secondary is generally not the strongest.
  • Eagles – Alex Leatherwood, Alabama OT – The Eagles have spent high picks on offensive linemen, but they always seem to be injured. No quarterback will succeed in that offense until they have a healthy, strong offensive line. Leatherwood has been Alabama’s left tackle for two seasons now.
  • Cardinals – Travis Etienne, Clemson RB – I know Etienne is a running back, but he would make Arizona so much tougher to defend.
  • Raiders – Rondale Moore, Purdue WR – Moore forces the defense to prepare for a multitude of different options. He’s a deep threat, he takes balls out of the backfield, he has great lateral agility.
  • Jaguars (From Rams) – Chris Olave, Ohio State WR – Assuming the Jaguars get an offensive coach, Olave is a premium slot receiver Fields is comfortable passing to.
  • Colts – Kyle Trask, Florida QB – The Colts are thriving with old man Rivers who may not be back next year.
  • Browns – Shaun Wade, OSU CB – The Browns offense is humming at about its peak. Wade is a value pick here.
  • Jets (From Seahawks) – Jalen Mayfield, Michigan OT – Joe Douglas will want a strong o-line for Lawrence. Mayfield has performed well as a pass protector and can start at right tackle right away.
  • Titans – Patrick Jones II, Pitt DT – The Titans are pretty strong all around. Jones is an excellent interior pass rusher to help Tennessee compete with Kansas City.
  • Buccaneers – Jay Tufele, USC DT – Tufele could finally take over for Suh as an elite interior pass rusher. He’s got the size and pass rushing chops to compete.
  • Bills – Jaycee Horn, SC CB – The Bills defense hasn’t looked as strong in 2020, and Levi Wallace may not return in ’21.
  • Packers – Rashod Bateman, Minn. WR – The Packers can go ahead and finally draft a wide receiver. Bateman is a deep threat.
  • Chiefs – Terrace Marshall Jr, LSU WR – The Chiefs can go any direction here. Marshall would give them some height outside of Kelce.
  • Saints – Kyle Pitts, UF TE – Whoever plays quarterback in 2021 for New Orleans will value the drafts’ best tight end. Pitts is an athlete and has plus height/wingspan, ideal for a younger QB.
  • Steelers – Chazz Surratt, UNC LB – The Steelers typically prioritize the front seven early in the draft. Surratt’s a playmaker who could transition to strong safety if needs be.

Other names to watch for: Christian Darrisaw – VT OL, Justyn Ross – Clemson WR, Wyatt Davis – OSU OL, Amon-Ra St. Brown – USC WR, Trevon Moehrig TCU S.

Week 8 NFL reactions

Posted: November 3, 2020 in Uncategorized
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The Upsets

Cincinnati limited Tennessee’s top five-ranked scoring offense to just 20 points in a surprising win over Tennessee. Joe Burrow did a good job spreading the ball around between a young trio of Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Auden Tate. While legendary receiver A.J. Green has seen more usage in recent weeks, the Bengals offense doesn’t seem to need him to score points. This is not likely the Bengals’ year in a tough AFC North, Cincinnati’s defense showed some teeth and the team overall looks promising for 2021 and beyond. The Bengals get a rare win after Marvin Lewis’ departure.

The Vikings look like the Vikings again. In a defensive showout, Kirk Cousins threw the ball 14 times, which does not bode well for his long term future with Minnesota. Cousins has a lot of dead money tied up in his contract until the end of 2022. This performance demonstrated what Zimmer wants his Vikings to be, a grinding running offense and a defense to keep him in the game. Like Cincinnati, Minnesota’s not likely to go to the playoffs in 2020, but if they can win the bulk of their games for the second half of the season, Coach Mike Zimmer may very well keep his job.

The Raiders and Browns played a weather-impacted game of football with heavy winds. I assumed Cleveland would have the advantage with a healthy offensive line and being one of the most efficient rushing offenses in football when neither Baker or Derek Carr were able to push the ball downfield. I was wrong. Raiders’ defensive coordinator Paul Guenther may have saved his job by keying in on Cleveland’s rushing attack and limiting a Browns’ offense averaging 29 points a game to a WHOLE six points. The Raiders are still alive in a crowded AFC, and even have a coveted win over Kansas City.

Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins put the Rams to bed. While Tua’s numbers were ugly as sin, Miami’s scoring forced Jared Goff to throw 61 times, a deviation from where Sean McVay wants to be as a more run heavy offense. The Dolphins refuse to go away, extending their win streak to three. Miami is fielding one of the league’s top defense as Coach Brian Flores establishes himself as the Belichick acolyte who doesn’t try to copy the Patriot way, and the most successful one (RIP Bill O’Brien). The Rams Sean McVay has been among the league’s steadiest coaches, but a failure to make the playoffs again may put him on the hot seat to perform in ’21.

The Rise of Arizona

I was very critical of Arizona’s decision to hire Kliff Kingsbury as their next head coach. The young coach had failed to keep Texas Tech competitive in a softer college football conference and had just accepted a job as USC’s offensive coordinator. I compared the move to Oakland’s hiring of Lane Kiffin (thumbs down). At 5-2 with a QUALITY win over the Seahawks, the Cardinals look like the favorite in most if not all of their remaining games. Arizona is operating as a top ten team on both offense and defense and Murray’s elusiveness continues to give defenses fits. Never mind the Texans’ gift wrapped DeAndre Hopkins for free. The only weakness I see with Arizona is the lack of an obvious power run game, but that’s not slowed them down so far.

It HURTS to see

Eagles’ franchise passer Carson Wentz is having the worst season of his career. Even in games against awful Dallas or worst in the NFL Washington he’s putting up bad numbers. I wouldn’t venture to guess that Howie Roseman saw this coming, nor would I guess that Wentz is just DONE, as we’ve seen several seasons of high level play out of Wentz. Nevertheless, the drafting of Jalen Hurts gives Philly options should Wentz struggles persist into 2021. They still are on the hook for 70+ million dollars even if they did find a trade partner for Carson, but the Eagles have demonstrated they can be a bottom five NFL team and still win the NFC East, so having no cap space for a season wouldn’t even necessarily keep them out of the playoffs. Especially with Dallas actively working against themselves to be bad on purpose.

New England backing into a top 10 draft pick

The Patriots, even in their ‘down’ years have still been able to claim the AFC East crown for 19 out of the past 20 years. New England isn’t even likely to crack .500, never mind make the playoffs. Last NFL draft, I screamed and writhed in pain as Coach/GM/Dark Lord Belichick chose to not draft QBs Jordan Love or Jalen Hurts, and instead trade down to select safety Kyle Dugger. While Dugger is a fine safety, New England needs a Quarterback to at least give the club hope for the future. Belichick’s drafted 4-year juniors or seniors in the past (quarterbacks) who keep turnovers low, so Florida’s Kyle Trask, Miami’s D’Eriq King, or Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond may fit his profile. Patriots corner Stephon Gilmore has put his house up for sale, indicating Belichick may be looking to move him in the offseason. An additional first round pick may suggest Belichick wants to move up to draft Justin Fields or Trey Lance, or it may just be Belichick being Belichick accruing draft picks because that’s what he does. One criticism I have of Belichick is his lack of understanding for how important offense is. He’s had Brad who’s lifted his offensive castoffs year after year and Belichick’s been able to invest heavily in defense while still getting top offensive production from Tom. If he and Josh McDaniels don’t figure something out offensively in 2021, the ‘Belichick sucks’ crowd will have some fair criticism of his inability to win without the greatest quarterback of all time. I don’t feel that criticism is entirely fair, but the Patriots will have to show resilience in the face of a challenge they haven’t faced in 20 years.

I’ve started listening to this album on my drives home from work. I have a 45 minute-ish drive later in the night, and it helps me to get out of work-brain mode. Twisted Myths – Killigrew

In The Tank

San Francisco, Detroit, THE ENTIRE NFC EAST, Atlanta, Denver, Cincinnati*, NY Jets, Jacksonville.

San Francisco, even with all of their early injuries, looked competitive in their wins and losses at the start of the season. The stomping by Miami with Jimmy G. in the lineup just further reinforces that 2020 is not their season. Detroit needs a new coach and likely a new GM. Their team has talent but can’t execute consistently. The NFC East can’t seem to do anything. The Falcons are still winless and their offense can no longer make up for their awful defense. Denver would still be in this spot if their starting QB were healthy. Cincinnati has actually shown signs of life, and I contemplated putting them in the playoff hopefuls category, but they reside in the strongest division in football and their roster is still in the rebuilding phase even though Joe Burrow is playing well. The Jets have regressed badly from their 7-9 campaign last year. Jacksonville has one win and show no signs of returning to their glory years with an unrecognizable roster from 2018.

Playoff Hopefuls

Arizona, Minnesota, Chicago, Carolina, Tampa Bay, LA Chargers, Las Vegas, Miami, New England, Houston, Tennessee.

Arizona brings a wild card offense with Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, not unlike what the Texans used to be. Not the most consistent team, defenses still struggle with Murray’s feet and they have a chance to win every game. The Vikings have struggled but have too much talent and coaching to stay down for too long. The Bears defense is keeping them in games and Nick Foles finally wrestled the starting job from Mitchell Trubisky. Carolina’s showing up and playing football. Even without Christian McCaffrey this team could take the NFC South in a chaotic season for Tampa and New Orleans. Tampa has a top ten ranked scoring offense and scoring defense. Brady will have to show he can keep the pick-sixes under control and stay above .500 against a BRUTAL mid season stretch. The Chargers look like they’re just outside of being a playoff caliber team with close losses to Tampa Bay and Kansas City. Herbert’s playing with no fear. The Raiders just dropped 40 against the Chiefs in KC’s first loss of the season. They still don’t have a pass rush, but it may not matter if they can score at will against high performing defenses like Kansas City’s. Miami’s record is ugly, but they bring real talent on both sides of the ball and could make a run for a wild card spot after dismantling San Francisco with 30 points in the first half. New England is a scrappy, undertalented team with a stingy defense and a one dimensional offense. Belichick will keep them relevant, they need to make serious personnel changes at QB and wide receiver to remain competitive in 2021 and beyond. Houston isn’t an awful team, while their defense lacks strong secondary play, they have one of the league’s better quarterbacks with a group of B-class receivers. The Titans have three ugly wins and will face Buffalo on Tuesday Night Football. Tennessee is still a steady, “Decent”, team.

The Actual Good Teams

LA Rams, Seattle, Green Bay, New Orleans, Kansas City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo, Indianapolis.

Chaotic seasons like 2020 illuminate how important strong coaching is. Sean McVay doesn’t the best team, but he has maybe the most disciplined team. Jared Goff is firing on all cylinders and their only loss came to a surging Buffalo team. Seattle might be the best team in the NFL right now. Their defense isn’t great, but they just outscore everybody. Russell is the league MVP right now. Green Bay doesn’t seem to need any new wide receiver help as Aaron Rodgers is enjoying his best season maybe ever. The Packers are 4-0 and have suffered no serious injuries are crucial positions lately. New Orleans is starting to fall apart, but the NFC South is their’s until someone takes it from them. They are still a competitive roster, losses to Green Bay and Las Vegas were losses to GREAT teams. The Chiefs finally lost, to Jon Gruden’s Raiders of all teams.

  • Former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien enjoys substantial time off after being relieved of his duties as head coach and team dismantler of the Houston Texans football club.
  • Cocaine user Adam Gase, despite being the worst coach in recent NFL history, still retains his title as head coach of the New York JetsTM.
  • Pro Football Focus gurus Steve Palazzolo and Sam Monson have replaced their several servers of NFL analytics data with a napkin that was scribbled on with the following message: “DRAFT BIG, STRONG WHITE MAN” after witnessing Bills quarterback Josh Allen rank number three overall in ESPN QBR and number six overall in PFF player grade (amongst his same position peers). Former Oregon Duck and ROOKIE Justin Herbert (who I have aggressively criticized) is also performing well, with a 13th (out of 32) ESPN QBR rating despite running a dink and doink offense at the prestigious Joey Harrington University (Oregon). In order to bring balance to the force, Carson Wentz is intentionally throwing the football into the turf, into the hands of defenders and just past the outstretched arms of ELITE receivers like Greg Ward and Travis Fulgham. (Ward and Fulgham are not starting caliber receivers, Wentz has thrown 4 TDs and 7 INTs this season).
  • Another promising young, quarterback has been tossed in the bin as Dwayne Haskins will sit on the bench in Washington’s upcoming home game against the Rams. Kyle Allen, who played under Ron Rivera at Carolina, will get the starting nod.
  • 36 year old Aaron Rodgers doesn’t appear to need high quality wide receivers, excelling with Allen Lazard and Marques Valdez Scantling as two of his top three receiving threats.
  • It is highly probable that a 6-10 Dallas Cowboys team will be a number 4 seed in the 2020 NFL playoffs. The Eagles can’t seem to beat anyone (except the 49ers), the Cowboys have the worst defense in football and Washington is just still bad. Oh and the Giants have the worst offense in football, (points per game).
  • The 49ers have resorted to starting 3rd string quarterback C.J. Beathard, as their playoff hopes are likely over after losing a game to the previously winless Eagles.
  • Tampa Bay Quarterback Tom Brady has thrown two pick sixes in his first four games of the 2020 season. While he is a 43 year old man adjusting to a brand new offense, this phenomena could also link to Bruce Arians’ offense being naturally risky, as Jameis Winston set an NFL record for pick sixes thrown in a season (7). Brady, who was previously not a high-INT passer, is on pace to beat that record in 2020 under the same offense Winston ran in ’19.
  • The historically maligned Browns are 3-1, with a top five scoring offense led by QB Baker Mayfield who seems to have regained his form after a rough 2019.
  • Russell Wilson is trending toward a historic season with 16 TDs in 4 games. He’s also completing 75% of his passes with 9.4 yards per attempt.
  • Coaches likely to be gone by the end of 2020: Lions Matt Patricia, Falcons Dan Quinn, Jets Adam Gase, Jaguars Doug Marrone,

Song of the post. I sat by the ocean, Queens of the Stone Age.

On March 3rd, Philadelphia and Buffalo agreed on a trade for LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso. McCoy, arguably the better player remains glued to a contract worth over 25 million over the next three years. Alonso still on his rookie contract is good for less than a tenth of that in the next two seasons.

McCoy’s a great running back. He really is. But going out and spending 7-9 million a year on a running back is like buying a ten dollar bottle of water. Sure it’s nice water. But you could buy water that hydrates just as well for pennies on the dollar elsewhere. Buffalo just sold the farm to buy a 26 year old running back. Now they’re committed to getting tackles and guards that can run block for him. When instead they should focus on solving the quarterback problem and mining the most gold out of the NFL draft.

Philadelphia on the other hand just freed up a ton of cap space. They can now cut DeMeco Ryans (a good but now unnecessary) linebacker and can pick up a talented running back on the cheap in free agency or in the draft. Or both. Their offense doesn’t need a power runner like McCoy to operate. It needs a fleet-footed passer and talented pass-catchers. The Eagles machine should still roll smoothly with tons of money to spend on free agency.

The Eagles won the battle but the outcome of the war of the offseason is to be determined. It’s hard to say what Chip Kelly’s game plan is. In two seasons he’s willingly thrown to the wind the Eagles’ two most exciting players. DeSean Jackson’s attention grabbing play hasn’t been replaced by Riley Cooper or Jeremy Maclin. And now the team cannot lean on a top-shelf runner when their QB struggles, which Foles and Sanchez both did last season. Whatever Coach Kelly’s got up his sleeve, he’s going to look awful silly after bleeding two of the team’s most electric players if the Eagles don’t take the NFL by storm this season.

NFC West Preview/Rant (7/24)

Posted: July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

The NFC West could field four teams with winning seasons in 2014. The Super Bowl Seahawks being the most highly touted in the division, San Francisco, Arizona, and St. Louis also played spectacular throughout last season. Seattle reaffirmed their emphasis on defense and running offense through the draft, but may see some underrated aspects of their team suffer.

Seattle’s receiving corps is already much weaker this off-season than it was in February. Sure-handed and equally underappreciated Golden Tate will be missed on an offense that thrives on ball control. The retirement of Sidney Rice leaves the Super Bowl champs thin in the receiving corps. ‘Hawks fans will see a significant dropoff in the receiving talent between Percy Harvin and the rest of the group. Amidst Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and rookie burner Paul Richardson (all promising but unfulfilled talents) someone will have to surface as a reliable pair of hands for Wilson to turn to when Harvin is lost in double coverage. 

On the flipside, the Cardinals passing attack is about to take flight after drafting John Brown, a speedy wide receiver out of Pittsburg State (KS). With The Larry Fitzgerald, an established 1,000 yard wideout in Michael Floyd and the arrival of John Brown, the Cardinals could be easily go three or four wide regularly this season and put defenses like Seattle’s elite secondary to the test. The addition of quick-footed Ted Ginn Jr. and rookie standout TE Troy Niklas will give Carson Palmer the best receiving corps since Chad Johnson, T.J. Whosyourmama, and Chris Henry who combined for 3,055 yards receiving and 25 touchdowns in 2006. 

The fearsome foursome is back for the St. Louis Rams as Robert Quinn and Chris Long lock up the bookends and Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford and rookie wunderkind Aaron Donald will each compete for two interior spots on the defensive line.The Rams aggressive front seven will make their young secondary’s job a little easier with the constant pressure on opposing QB’s. Their offensive line and oft-injured QB will hold St. Louis back from taking the next step in a tight NFC. Still, St. Louis will be a dangerous team to face in the wild card round for an unprepared Atlanta or Dallas who might wander into the playoffs. Watch the Rams to continue to upset stiff competition in 2014. 

All the pieces are in place for San Francisco to win a championship, but Kaepernick needs to prove he will play up to his $61 million dollar-guaranteed contract by pushing through elite NFL defenses. The defense is stacked at linebacker and very solid in the secondary and defensive line. Their offensive line is among the best in the league and their backfield is very deep with a deceptively talented receiving corps now featuring Bills export Stevie Johnson and undersized rookie Bruce Ellington. The only unsure factor remaining is Kaepernick’s big-game play. The NFL has seen him dominate second-rate defenses. But can he show true QB prowess against elite defenses? That’s what $61 million dollar QB’s get paid to do. And that’s what’s missing for the Harbaugh-Kaepnernick experiment to become a success.

I try not to spend much time asking ‘what if’ questions. There can’t be anything done about what if questions. I can’t go back and change something if I worry about it enough. All that aside, what if Donald Sterling had paid off V. Stiviano and the tape of his generally racist comment had never leaked? Mr. Sterling was on pace to win a second lifetime achievement award from the NAACP for “donating money to minority charities and giving Clippers tickets to inner-city kids.” Soon after the tape reveal, Sterling was discovered to have prostate cancer. A piece of information that could have been used by his PR team (assuming he’s got a PR team) to dress him up as a “cancer stricken old guy who fights racism.” 

Many close to Sterling apparently knew him or thought of him as a racist individual but receiving a second lifetime achievement award from the NAACP may have quieted those critics. Without the leak of the audiotape. Instead of ESPN rolling tape of the Clippers being an awful team for decades and detailing how Sterling committed housing discrimination against minority families, they may have chosen to put together a video of the Clippers’ recent rise to relevance in the NBA, Sterling receiving his second NAACP award, and some gosh awful interview of canned questions designed to make him look personable. And then the cancer reveal for the cherry on top to elicit pity from the audience. 

Let me be clear, cancer is an awful thing and I don’t believe Donald Sterling deserves to have it for doing, saying racist things or even being racist. I think he deserves to be at the wrong end of racism so he can understand what he’s done over the years, and perhaps even attempt to begin to at least consider righting his wrongs. Not as a PR move, but because he wants (in this fictional universe I’ve imagined up) to become a better person and for other people to be happy.

Because of Stiviano’s (apparent) extorting methods, the whole world gets to see a picture that only those close to Sterling saw in the past. He’s un-apologetically racist. The success of the team has nothing to do with it. If the Clippers had won seven championships during his time as owner or zero, racism is still racism. Running video of the Clippers being a bad team while explaining that Sterling is a bad person misses the mark. There are racist people who are brilliant at their jobs. Sterling’s extremely wealthy, he didn’t get to where he is by accident. 

Don’t trust everything you see on television (please) and don’t vilify villains for being bad at their job, vilify them for being inhumane.

 

 

 

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/naacp-big-resigns-award-planned-donald-sterling-article-1.1776598#ixzz312skfztx

In June of 2013, I predicted six players would breakout this season. Two QBs, two rookies, and two pass catchers. I will now proceed to grade my own predictions with the benefit of hindsight of the 2013 season.

1. Kansas City Chiefs Tight End, Tony Moeaki

Moeaki was “considered one of the top tight end prospects for the 2010 NFL Draft” coming out of Iowa. His play in Kansas was continually cut short due to injury. This August he got injured yet again. In October, Moeaki became a free agent and joined the Bills. He played in two games in Buffalo and registered no catches or carries on the season.

Moeaki certainly does have potential. But he’ll never live up to it if he keeps getting injured. If the Bills decide to part ways with Scott Chandler (another former Hawkeye) they could promote Moeaki to the starting position and give him a chance to develop a rapport with E.J. Manuel. Ultimately, Moeaki was either injured or irrelevant for the 2013 season.

Final Grade: F

2. Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver, Emmanuel Sanders

I was correct in identifying that the departure of former receiver Mike Wallace would allow a new Pittsburgh receiver to step in and become the new number one target for Roethlisberger. Many NFL analysts correctly predicted that Antonio Brown would be that player. Brown finished the season second overall in receiving yards besting even the dominant Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green for total receiving yards (to be fair Johnson missed two games due to injury). This was a swing and a miss for me as Brown’s season exploded whereas Sanders’ season was indeed a career best, but by no means a breakout campaign.

Sanders played in all sixteen games this season catching sixty-seven passes for 740 yards and six scores. He played the best season of his career but watched as teammate Antonio Brown became the breakout receiving star in Pittsburgh.

Final Grade: C

3. Miami Dolphins QB, Ryan Tannehill

Tannehill had a slew of new receiving options for the 2013 season. Dolphins ownership brought in Dustin Keller (immediately lost to injury), WR Brandon Gibson, and former Steeler Mike Wallace to allow Tannehill plenty of talent in the receiving corps to make the passing offense a more viable option for Miami. Tannehill finished the season with twenty five total scores and seventeen interceptions. Acceptable improvement on a fairly rocky rookie campaign where he turned the ball over (17) more than he scored (14).

Tannehill has definitely stepped up his game from the 2012 season, but will need to continue to improve in order to have a true “breakout” season.

Final Grade: C+/B-

4. San Diego Chargers QB, Philip Rivers

Many NFL pundits predicted Mike McCoy would “fix” Philip Rivers of the turnover problems that plagued his game for the past three seasons, and he seems to have done just that. Part of the problem of Rivers’ turnovers could be blamed on TE Antonio Gates’ frequent injuries. Gates had his first sixteen game season since 2009. Part could be blamed on the loss of number one wideout Vincent Jackson to Tampa Bay after 2011. It could be the lack of stability in the run game transitioning from one of the NFL’s greatest running backs in LaDainian Tomlinson to the occasionally underwhelming Ryan Mathews. Regardless, all has been forgiven as Rivers finished in the top three QB in total QBR and kept turnovers relatively low with eleven interceptions to thirty-two touchdowns. Rivers has returned to pre-2011 form and stands as one of the league’s top Passers.

Final Grade: A

5. San Francisco 49ers FS, Eric Reid

San Francisco moved up in the first round to grab Reid in order to recuperate from the loss of pro bowler Dashon Goldson to Tampa Bay. Reid started all sixteen games for San Francisco and was actually San Francisco’s only representative in the Pro Bowl this season. Reid finished the season with 77 total tackles and 4 interceptions. Considering how quickly Reid earned a starting spot, his opportunistic play, and his entry into the Pro Bowl, Reid’s quickly become one of the league’s top safeties.

Final Grade: A

6. Houston Texans WR, DeAndre Hopkins

Houston management drafted DeAndre Hopkins to give Andre Johnson the opportunity to play without being double-covered every game. Hopkins’ rookie season suffered because of Houston’s catastrophically poor Quarterback play. Matt Schaub seemingly fell apart at the seams with pick-six after pick-six and returned to the bench as Case Keenum started in his absence without much more success. Hopkins finished second among rookie in receiving yards with 802 yards and averaged an impressive 15.4 yards per reception. While not as impressive a campaign as San Diego’s Keenan Allen, Hopkins still put up a strong showing considering Houston’s plummet down the power charts and their dire QB situation.

Final Grade: B

Miscellaneous:

– Christmas morning of the NFL season arrives in 3 1/2 months. The combine is less than a month away.

– Team Rice overcame Team Sanders 22-21 in a hard fought Pro Bowl match on a Mike Tolbert two point conversion play. The “unconferencing” of the Pro Bowl seems to have salvaged the game for future seasons as it was a competitive defensive contest this season.

– The Michael Crabtree/Richard Sherman fiasco is overblown media hype of back and forth between wide receiver and defensive back that happens in every NFL game. Sherman’s unhinging on Erin Andrews has brought the event to the forefront of the Pro Football media world. Richard Sherman is not a thug. He’s a pro football player who lost his temper on national television. Though he should not have behaved like that in front of Ms. Andrews. Although Sherman seemingly meant to be a good sport about the whole thing, on Mike and Mike in the morning Pittsburgh Safety Ryan Clark correctly pointed out that Sherman’s post-game congratulation to Crabtree could be seen as condescending or insulting because of how the game ended, thus resulting in Crabtree grabbing Sherman’s helmet and likely saying something out of anger. That doesn’t justify what Crabtree does, but it does contextualize it a little better. Crabtree’s a good receiver, but Sherman is an elite corner.

– The Super Bowl looms six days away and I can’t remember being less excited for the outcome. I picture it like Hitler and Stalin in the boxing ring. I’m delighted to see one lose, but not so the other wins. Manning’s worked hard enough and humbly enough that a second championship doesn’t seem unearned. Seattle’s been a dominant team all season and could get away with the trophy if the weather’s too cold/unfriendly for the passing game to play a role. Enjoy the game and may the best team win.

NFC West

Fact 1: The entire NFC West ranked in the top ten for toughest schedules in 2013. – http://www.theredzone.org/Features/NFLStrengthofSchedule.aspx

Fact 2: The NFC West is 42-22 this season. The best in the NFL for any division. The AFC West (contributing half of the AFC teams in the playoffs) posted a 37-27 record.

So what? This means not only did the NFC West put up the most wins, they did it against the toughest competition.

Other Stuff

Vincent Jackson and Torrey Smith are the only receivers among the top 40 to catch less than half of the passes thrown to them. – nfl.com

The New England Patriots are the only team in the AFC East with a positive point differential at +106. Miami, Buffalo, and New York finished at -18, -49, and -97 respectively. – nfl.com

Demaryius Thomas lead the top 40 receivers in YAC with 718. – http://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/stats/yards-after-the-catch/2013/

Thirteen running backs ended the season with 1,000 rushing yards. This is the lowest total in at least the past 15 seasons, probably the lowest since the season was expanded to 16 games. The metric marks the rapidly shrinking value of the bellcow tailback, as offenses look to score primarily through the air more than ever.

Really important facts (not really)

The leading white-guy rusher (that’s racist!) was the unconquerable Alex Smith with 76 runs for 431 yards and a touchdown.

Jeff Fisher leads the league in facial hair superiority with the best mustache in the NFL.

Tony Romo will still somehow get blamed for Dallas’ loss to Philadelphia even though he didn’t play and finished 12th in the nation with a QBR of 59.5, ahead of the widely praised Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Andy Dalton.

Mike Wallace was the second leading receiver in Miami, behind Brian Hartline, and the leading mistake in the offseason. Wallace’s $60 million four year contract with $30 million guaranteed resulted in a 930 yard, five touchdown season. All things considered, not a terrible performance, but dramatically below what his contract suggests.

Nick Foles outplayed his peers this season as Vick remained on the sidelines after recovering from his injury. He scored a higher total QBR than Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill and the struggling Robert Griffin III. Foles was a second round pick from Arizona that caught flack for lack of mobility, inaccuracy on the deep ball, and attracted the undesirable title of “game manager” by some critics. Now Foles “manages” the second highest scoring offense in the league.

NFL 2013 quiz

Posted: January 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

1. Which quarterback led the league in total QBR?

  • A) Nick Foles
  • B) Russell Wilson
  • C) Peyton Manning
  • D) Josh McCown

 

2. Which of these players totalled the most yards from scrimmage?

  • A) LeSean McCoy
  • B) Jamaal Charles
  • C) Knowshon Moreno
  • D) Calvin Johnson

 

3. Which player led the league in sacks?

  • A) J.J. Watt
  • B) Robert Quinn
  • C) Mario Williams
  • D) Robert Mathis

 

4. Which NFL team swept their division?

  • A) Indianapolis Colts
  • B) Denver Broncos
  • C) New England Patriots
  • D) Seattle Seahawks

 

5. Which team finished second in total yards rushing?

  • A) New England
  • B) Kansas City
  • C) Buffalo
  • D) Seattle

 

6. Which team led the league in turnover ratio?

  • A) Carolina
  • B) Kansas City
  • C) Seattle
  • D) San Francisco

 

7. How many ‘new’ (first season with the team as HC) head coaches posted winning records?

  • A) Three
  • B) Four
  • C) One
  • D) Two

 

8. Which University sent the most players to the draft April 2013?

  • A) Alabama
  • B) Florida State
  • C) Miami
  • D) Georgia

 

9. How many Denver Broncos not named Peyton Manning scored double digit touchdowns?

  • A) Two
  • B) Three
  • C) Five
  • D) Four

 

10. Who recorded the most receiving yards this season?

  • A) A.J. Green
  • B) Calvin Johnson
  • C) Josh Gordon
  • D) Jimmy Graham

 

Answers:

  1. D
  2. A
  3. D
  4. A
  5. C
  6. C
  7. B
  8. B
  9. C
  10. C