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Redskins Fan

2014 Washington Redskins posted by Redskins Fan

The Washington Redskins were a complete mess last season. Quarterback Robert Griffin struggled after returning from injury too quickly. He eventually found himself riding the bench for the last three games of the season because of his poor performance and bickering with the coaching staff and even his teammates.

This year figures to be a rebound year for the Redskins. The front office hired Jay Gruden, former offensive coordinator of the Bengals who did a creditable job with Andy Dalton. He’ll be called upon to resurrect Griffin’s career. It helps that Griffin is not coming off an injury this time.  He also needs to be more cooperative and avoid being a Prima donna.

The team also did upgrade its offensive line to help Griffin. The Redskins signed Shawn Lauvao to a four-year deal and he’s expected to start at left guard. He’ll be joining left tackle Trent Williams and center Will Montgomery.

The big offseason move in Washington was the signing of DeSean Jackson after he was released by the Eagles. A speedy Jackson would contribute right away to the Washington offense, but he can also be a locker room headache aside from being constantly injured.

Pierre Garcon will be back, and the team expects he’ll be dynamic as he was last year. Despite the struggles of their quarterback, Garcon played well with 113 catches and five touchdowns. He’ll have his reception numbers go down with the entry of Jackson, though.

The Redskins defense was brutal last year, surrendering close to 30 points a game. So the management looked for help on defense by signing former Steeler Ryan Clark. They also acquired Tracy Porter who’ll join DeAngelo Hall and David Amerson. Redskins fans should also be excited with the signing of Jason Hatcher.

Continue reading "2014 Washington Redskins"

Titans Fan

The 2014 Tennessee Titans posted by Titans Fan

The Tennessee Titans were in a position to draft quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel but elected not to because they wanted to see if Jake Locker can still be the franchise quarterback they’ve hoping he’ll be. The eight pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Locker has been inconsistent and if he is unable to improve his play, so goes the Titans.

Another issue many critics have with Locker is his health. He has missed 14 games in the last two seasons. If Locker can stay healthy, then he’ll have weapons to make the Titans offense more formidable. The team has gotten rid of two locker room headaches—Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt, replacing them with second round pick Bishop Sankey. The Titans do have a good receiving trio in Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter, and Nate Washington.

Aside from Sankey, the team drafted Taylor Lewan during the first round. Lewan is expected to start on the right side, relegating veteran Michael Oher as the back-up.

Other players returning to the Titans are Andy Levitre who lived up to the massive contract he signed in the previous offseason, and sophomore Chance Warmack who surrendered a disappointing seven sacks last season. They’ll be joined by sophomore Brian Schwenke.

The Titans have their issues in defense. Jurrell Casey would be a poor fit in the 3-4 defensive scheme that the team plans to adapt this year. Another good rotational player with solid upside, Mike Martin, is also anticipated to get lost in this scheme.

The safety position of the team is quite secured with returning starters Michael Griffin and Bernard Pollard. Both these guys are not stars but expect steady performances from them game in, game out.

Continue reading "The 2014 Tennessee Titans"

Bucs Fan

The 2014 Tampa Bay Buccaneers posted by Bucs Fan

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of the worst clubs last year with a 4-12 record. This year they look to improve their record with a new head coach in Lovie Smith. The former Chicago Bear coach also brought in Josh McCown, his former ward in the Windy City. The two would want Tampa Bay fans to forget last year’s debacle that featured ex-head coach Greg Schiano and former quarterback Josh Freeman.

McCown is coming off a great year where he completed 66 percent of his passes and posted a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 13-to-1. While some critics can say that a big part of his success was having Marc Trestman getting the most out of him, Buccaneers fans will at least have offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford doing that for McCown.

The new Buccaneers quarterback will have number seven pick Mike Evans as one of his primary targets, alongside Vincent Jackson. Evans is big at six foot five while Jackson is equally massive. Another probable target is second round selection Austin Seferian-Jenkins, himself big at six-foot-five.

The Tampa Bay front office has done an excellent job of replicating what McCown had in Chicago, so there is optimism that the new quarterback can do what he did in the Windy City.

Evan Dietrich-Smith was also added to the offensive line. A new acquisition from the Green Bay Packers, Dietrich-Smith is a talented lineman who can play all interior positions. He’ll join Carl Nicks and either Patrick Omameh or Kadeem Edwards in the offensive line.

The team did release one of the league’s best cornerback in Darrelle Davis but they acquired Alerraun Verner to a multi-year deal.  The Buccaneers have one of the best defensive tackles in Gerald McCoy and veteran Michael Johnson who will be tasked to carry the defensive front line.

Continue reading "The 2014 Tampa Bay Buccaneers"

Rams Fan

The 2014 Saint Louis Rams posted by Rams Fan

The question for the Rams going forward is whether Sam Bradford will become a franchise quarterback or not. The quarterback did have a good rookie campaign four years ago but he has been pedestrian in the past three years. He has also missed 15 games since his rookie year. He has never had a YPA more than 6.7 and while he has a touchdown to interception ratio of 14:4, most of these scores were made during garbage time.

The problem is that Bradford is paid like a superstar but he has not performed like one. Most recently it was announced that Bradford is out for the season with a torn ACL, and that could be it for his career in St. Louis. In his stead, veteran Shaun Hill will be starting for the Rams.

The Rams did add former number two overall pick Greg Robinson last spring with the hopes that he’ll contribute in offense. He could team up with left tackle Jake Long, Scott Wells, Rodger Saffold, and Joseph Barksdale up front.

Another new acquisition that could help their cause is Kenny Britt. A very talented receiver, Britt has had personal issues and injuries but could thrive under coach Jeff Fisher. If Fisher can do so, he might make Britt and Tavon Austin quite a good pair.

The Rams did improve their defense by picking interior disruptor Aaron Donald with the 13th pick in the 2014 Draft. Donald will make the Rams defense more frightening and could pose problems to top quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick.

Donald could boost the Rams’ sack total this year. Last year, Robert Quinn had 19 sacks in his junior year and the 24-year-old figures to be better this season. Chris Long had 33 sacks over the past three years and should contribute as well.

Continue reading "The 2014 Saint Louis Rams"

Seahawks Fans

The 2014 Seattle Seahawks posted by Seahawks Fans

The reigning Super Bowl champions look to repeat this year. With one of the best defensive units in the league, the Seahawks will once again rely on their intense defense to beat teams. The front office rewarded two key players, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, with multi-year contract extensions. The defensive backs form the backbone of the best secondary in all of football, so it’s hard to argue about the wisdom of throwing more than $100 million between them.

The team did not just reward their key players on the defensive end but also signed other veterans like Michael Bennett. Signed from the Buccaneers to a four-year deal, he’ll be valuable in stopping the run and rushing the passer.

The linebacking corps will return led by Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith, K.J. Wright , and Bobby Wagner. 

Still, there are some concerns as well. The team lost Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, and Clinton McDonald so the depth has been affected. To address that issue, the team did add ex-Viking Kevin Williams. The team also needs former first round pick Bruce Irvin to finally step up after playing poorly last season.

Quarterback Russell Wilson will return for the Seahawks, and the team will look for him to lead them back to the promised land. It remains to be seen how the popularity will affect his play. Two years ago, Wilson was drafted in the third round because of issues like his height and work ethic. But since leading the team to the Super Bowl title, he’s been an overnight sensation, appearing on commercials and being the subject of many tabloid rumors.

Continue reading "The 2014 Seattle Seahawks"

49ers Fan

The 2014 San Francisco 49ers posted by 49ers Fan

The 49ers are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl after falling short last year. It all begins with quarterback Colin Kaepernick who struggled in the first half of the season but torched opposing teams in December 2014. He even totaled 130 rushing yards versus the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship, but was one tipped pass away from leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

The first order of business for the front office was to upgrade Kaepernick’s supporting cast. So they acquired Stevie Johnson from Buffalo for their 2015 draft pick. While Johnson is injury prone, he should perform well as the tertiary receiver this time around. The team also signed Brandon Lloyd and drafted Bruce Ellington.

The franchise also boosted the running back corps by drafting Ohio State standout Carlos Hyde. The team will still rely on Frank Gore but he’s slowing down at 31 and will become a free agent next offseason.

The 49ers will still have one of the best offensive lines in the league. Four of their starters are back on the roster, with center Jonathan Goodwin the only exception. They did draft center Marcus Martin who’ll probably replace Goodwin or compete against Daniel Kilgore.

Defense will not be a problem for the 49ers as they have one of the best  defensive units in the league.  Although the team lost Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers who both left for Oakland, the team did draft rookie Jimmie Ward. He could back-up sophomore Eric Reid and new acquisition Antone Betha. Going forward, expect Ward to start alongside Reid perhaps as early as next season.

Continue reading "The 2014 San Francisco 49ers"

Chargers Fan

The 2014 San Diego Chargers posted by Chargers Fan

The San Diego Chargers were able to sneak in the postseason with a 9-7 record last year. Quarterback Philip Rivers looked like a goner before the start of the 2013 season as he had a career-low 6.8 YPA while surrendering 16 interceptions. But he was able to turn things around with the improved offensive line of the Chargers.

The Chargers have baffled many by their poor blocking in years. With the signing of King Dunlap last year as well as the drafting of D.J. Fluker, the Chargers were able to improve their offensive line. Fluker played well in his rookie year while Dunlap was a key acquisition surrendering only three sacks the past year.

The Chargers also boast of two solid interior linemen in Chad Rinehart and Nick Hardwick. Pedestrian Jeromey Clary will be challenged by rookie Chris Watt at right guard, and this would only improve the offense of the Chargers.

Rivers will also be looking to throw to sophomore Keenan Allen who compiled 71 receptions, eight touchdowns and 1,046 yards in his rookie season.  But Allen is pretty much what the Chargers have at receiver as Malcom Floyd is coming off an injury and Vincent Brown remains a project.

The Chargers defense has a lot of holes to be filled. The team was 23rd in the league in yards allowed, 29th in pass defense, and 27th in rush defense. But the defense should improve this year with the return of Melvin Ingram. The best pass-rusher in the team, Ingram was out for the first part of the season with a torn ACL.

But the Chargers’ defensive front and linebackers will also need to perform well if the team hopes to book a second straight playoff appearance.

Continue reading "The 2014 San Diego Chargers"

Steelers Fan

The 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers posted by Steelers Fan

The Pittsburgh Steelers won six of their last eight games last season, salvaging what looked like a lost campaign and ending the year with an even 8-8 record. This season, the team looks forward to building from that strong showing and perhaps entering the playoffs.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, throwing for 4,261 yards and 28 touchdowns with only 15 interceptions. Like his team, he started slowly with six scores and six picks in his first four outings. But he caught fire late in the season, and the Steelers hope he’ll bring that momentum in the new season.

But he’ll have to play without Emmanuel Sanders who was their starting receiver. Antonio Brown is still there and the receiver was impressive last year with 110 receptions. Still, the Steelers will need another receiver to step up.  Some of the more promising candidates to step up to the challenge are rookie Martavis Bryant and third-year pro Markus Wheaton.

The improved play of the Steelers offensive line was one of the top stories for the team last year. Guards David DeCastro and Ramon Foster were their top blockers last year, surrendering only two sacks.  Left tackle Kevin Beachum also did a stellar job of protecting the blind side of their quarterback, surrendering only one sack in the last six games of the season.

The Steelers have always taken pride in their defense, but they were uncharacteristically a step slower on defense the past year. In fact they allowed opposing teams to score 23 points per game against them.  The team hopes that two rookies--- Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt---- would provide the spark in defense. Michael Mitchell was also signed to boost the defense as he’ll start next to Troy Polamalu and in lieu of the ineffective Ryan Clark.

Continue reading "The 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers"

Eagles Fan

Another Painful Year For Philadelphia Eagles Fans? posted by Eagles Fan

The Eagles finished last year’s season with a 10-6 record and part of that success was the fantastic play of quarterback Nick Foles. A third round pick in the 2012 Draft, Foles completed 64 percent of his passes, posted 9.1 YPA and an astounding 27 to 2 touchdown to interception ratio.

It’s hard to imagine Foles repeating that kind of performance as the Eagles will have a tougher schedule this year. Plus, he’ll be a target for opposing defenses that  will have the entire offseason dissecting coach Chip Kelly’s offense.  Plus, he’ll have to play without DeSean Jackson, who left the team due to locker room issues and bickering with the coaching staff.

But Foles will have other weapons like tight end Zach Ertz. The second-year pro showed what he could do at the latter part of the season with a 6-57-1 line at Minnesota. Coach Kelly has said that Ertz will be a bigger part of the Eagles offense this year. Foles will also look for Daren Sproles who came from the Saints. While  Sproles is on the decline, he’s still a decent addition to the team.

The Eagles are also banking that LeSean McCoy will have another big year. While his numbers dipped when Foles entered the line-up, he and Foles will have the entire offseason to get acquainted.

While the Eagles had one of the best offenses last year, their defense needs a lot of improvement. In fact it surrendered a mind-boggling 48 points to the Vikings who were playing without Adrian Peterson in December 2013.

The team hopes new players Malcolm Jenkins and Nolan Carroll will improve the defense. Carroll is expected to start while Jenkins is an upgrade at safety only because Patrick Chung was a disaster last year.

Continue reading "Another Painful Year For Philadelphia Eagles Fans?"

Raiders News

The 2014 Oakland Raiders posted by Raiders News

Matt Schaub, formerly of the Houston Texans, is now with the Raiders after a disastrous 2014 campaign where he set a NFL record for consecutive games with a pick-six. He’ll be the starter until rookie Derek Carr proves himself worthy of the position. It would be foolish to expect Carr to be the starter right away, but expect him to win the starting job by the middle of the season.

There’s some cause for optimism in Oakland. Running back Darren McFadden is looking to have a banner year after changing his offseason workout habits. The injury-prone McFadden has never been known for training properly in the offseason so Raiders fans can expect good things from him this year.

The team did improve their offensive line by signing left tackle Donald Penn and right tackle Austin Howard. Howard is a fine acquisition but Penn has had weight problems throughout his career.

The Raiders hope that former Packer James Jones will help the receiving corps. Jones has had some good seasons playing with Aaron Rodgers, but playing with either Schaub or Carr will definitely affect his performance. In case Jones fails to meet expectations, third-year receiver Andre Holmes will get more minutes.

On defense, the Raiders will have five new defenders in their roster. While the new acquisitions are talented than what the team had before, it remains to be seen if they’ll stick with the Raiders beyond this season. Free agents Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley are on the decline, while defensive lineman Antonio Smith is also showing some signs of slowing down. The other new players are Carlos Rodgers and Tarell Brown who were signed from the 49ers.

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NFL Football News

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Manning-Brady rivalry began in obscurity (The Associated Press)

The greatest quarterback rivalry in NFL history began quietly with plenty of empty seats on a cloudy, cool and windy afternoon at Foxboro Stadium on Sept. 30, 2001. Baby-faced backup Tom Brady, a sixth-round draft pick from Michigan the year before, made his first career NFL start in place of Drew Bledsoe, who had suffered a sheared blood vessel in his chest one week earlier. On the other side was QB blue blood Peyton Manning, the top overall pick in the 1998 draft out of Tennessee, and the heavily favored Indianapolis Colts. ''That's prepared me because, whatever expectations people put on me, I have higher expectations for myself.'' The Associated Press story from that first meeting between Manning and Brady didn't even mention Brady until the 11th paragraph, 319 words in. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Brady, Manning set to add another chapter to storied rivalry (Reuters)

By Simon Evans (Reuters) - Two of the mosts successful quarterbacks of all-time face each other when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots host Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos on Sunday but the clash is all about the present. While both have already secured places in the Pro Football Hall of Fame their recent form suggests they have plenty of fight left. The way they are plyaing, the duo could very well face each other in an AFC playoff battle in January. ... [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

All of the Portland Trail Blazers got brand new motivational hammers to start the season (Photo)

Welcome to the 2014-15 NBA season, Portland Trail Blazers. Please report to your lockers, inspect your uniforms to ensure that your last name is spelled properly, and pick up your complimentary personalized big ol' hammer. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] Each Blazers player was given one of these today from the organization. —Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) October 28, 2014 Now, I know what you're thinking, and the answer is no. The NBA didn't decide to implement Marcin Gortat's idea of allowing fighting during games and go one step further by encouraging players to have weapons at the ready should the beef get to sizzling. (I know what else you're thinking, and yes, I too immediately thought that Robin Lopez probably named his hammer Mjolnir .) These are merely inspirational hammers, hammers of metaphor and imagery, intended to remind the members of this year's Blazers squad —facing the difficult task of building upon last season's surprising 54-28 record and second-round playoff appearance —of the importance of giving it their all each and every night. From Erik Gundersen of The Columbian : According to Wesley Matthews, who was so kind as to let us take a picture, the hammers are a reminder to “keep grinding, stay on our worst behavior.”Some players had theirs out while some still had them in their box. [...] To recap, the hammer for each player is just a physical manifestation of the “COMPETE”mantra the Blazers have on their gear, all over their locker room and practice facility. This sort of "physical manifestation" has been a go-to move for some coaches in years past. Recall, if you will, Dwane Casey having a 1,300-pound boulder plunked inside his office after taking over the Toronto Raptors, which put to shame the 200-pound hunk of granite that Jon Gruden showcased inside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' locker room during their 2002-03 Super Bowl run. I prefer the Blazers' token talismans, though. Easier to move, and plus, you can use them for repairs around the house. All these rocks and hammers, of course, circle back to the same point of inspiration —the following famous quote by Danish-American social reformer and activist Jacob Riis: "When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before." Riis' quote became a mantra for Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, and was later deployed by former Spurs assistant Mike Brown during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, and by Lawrence Frank during his stint with the Detroit Pistons, and by a slew of other coaches all over the place. (It's a copycat league, after all.) The co-opting makes sense —it's smart to emphasize hard work, perseverance and focus on process rather than immediate results, after all —but it's especially nice to be able to connect yourself to five-time NBA champion Popovich, who loves the quote so much that he used it as the name of his wine . Keep your eyes and palates peeled for Pop dropping that new Jacob Riisling in the summer of 2015. Amar'e Stoudemire, for one, can't wait . Whether Terry Stotts experiences more success in Portland with his hammering than Brown did in L.A. or Frank did in Detroit remains to be seen, but if nothing else, the Spurs' ring night ceremony offered a pretty stellar and shiny reminder of what can happen if you just keep swingin' 'em: The pounding the rock detail on the Spurs' title rings is excellent. —Andrew A. McNeill (@drew_48moh) October 29, 2014 I mean, personalized tools are one thing, but there's a hell of a motivator. More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

KellyTough: Hurricanes set to honor former QB (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Eagles center Kelce practices, return more likely (Yahoo Sports)

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce made it through his third straight day of practice Thursday, making it more likely he will return from a sports hernia injury in this weekend's game against the Houston Texans. ''I'm not ready to say anything definite yet,'' Kelce said. I think we're at the point where it's not going to get worse by playing.'' A sports hernia is different than many other football-related injuries, with some unknowns when trying to recover, Kelce said. ''There's a pain I'm not really used to,'' Kelce said. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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