Hello, world!

This Sunday the Packers are playing the Bears, another fixture in their storied rivalry. Their first game was played in 1921 with the Bears winning 20-0 against the Packers, with 195 games played combined over the regular season and in the postseason. This weekend looks to be one of the least exciting games in memory. The Packers are 4-4, this is because the Packers are so frail on offence. They lost star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers who broke his collarbone in week 6, he is out for the season. His backup Brett Hunley has played in three games now, in each of them he’s been terrible, to put it bluntly. He has been holding onto the ball for far too long, taking sacks and has no chemistry with any of his receivers. As well as this their defence is ranked 25th yards per game with 357.4 yards, whilst giving up on average 24 points per game. So there is little to nothing to hang your hat on with this team so they will bad to watch in this game. On the other hand, the Bears are 3-5. John Fox this season as he has done throughout his career as a head coach with an exception to the 2003 Panthers, is playing football from the 1970’s. He has an almost prohibition on passing the ball, all this team does is run the ball and they do it very well. Jordan Howard, now in his second year has 662 yards and 4 touchdowns, he is one of the best in the league. He will be the only exciting offensive player on the field come Sunday, as Fox simply refuses to let 2nd overall pick Mitchell Trubisky throw the ball, he has only 38 completions to his name… With all of these factors in place, I will be steering away from this game come Sunday as it doesn’t seem all that exciting. SO on the other hand here are some of the most famous game in Packers vs Bears history:

1985 Regular Season Chicago Bears 23-7 Green Bay Packers.

This was the first game that introduced the world to William “The Refridgerator” Perry. William Perry in 1985 was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears as a defensive tackle from Clemson. He was hand-picked by Mike Ditka the Head Coach adding to the feud between him and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan who said Perry was a “wasted pick”. Perry then was used specifically be Ditka in goal-line situations as well as running the ball. In this game against the Packers on Monday Night Football at Soldier Field, Perry was blocking for Hall of Famer Walter Payton for 1 yard and 2-yard touchdown runs. As the Bears had their way with the Lynn Dickey lead Packers who had no match for Chicago’s famous and record-setting defence. Who held them to just 96 rushing yards and recorded 4 interceptions against them. As this game progressed into the second quarter, famously hard-nosed Ditka decided to taunt the Packers by having Perry run the ball in place of Payton. Perry succeeded, scoring a touchdown. He was the heaviest player to score a touchdown in NFL history being listed at 335lbs until Dontai Poe a defensive tackle scored for the Kansas City Chiefs, he’s listed at 346lbs.

2011 NFC Championship Green Bay Packers 21-14 Chicago Bears

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This was the first meeting of these teams in the postseason since 1941 when the Bears won 33-14. This game was a clash of defences as the Packers were ranked 5th Bears were ranked 9th in total yards allowed that season. In the game, the Green Bay defence knocked quarterback Jay Cutler out of the game who sustained a sprained MCL which meant that Todd Collins came in to replace him, but after the offence stalling under his control. With this happening head coach, Lovie Smith turned to his third choice quarterback, Caleb Haine who entered the game and lead the Bears on two touchdown drives but had a costly interception. This was a game that was controlled by the Packers who scored in the first, second and fourth quarter. Aaron Rodgers had a great game rushing the ball rather than throwing, he scored on a wonderful 1-yard run and hit receiver Greg Jennings all game long who had 8 catches for 130 yards. The win here for the Packers sent them to Dallas for Super Bowl XLV and when they beat Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 becoming the first 6th seed in NFL history to win the Super Bowl. Since this game, the Bears have not been back to the playoffs since losing this game. This game strangely was almost a microcosm of their seasons coming after it. As their quarterbacks got injured, their defence gave up 113 yards on the ground and in the end, they lost. This was a great game and one for the sheer madness of a third-string quarterback almost winning in his first start to take his team to the Super Bowl but threw an interception to a 337 lbs defensive tackle who sealed the game, sending his team to the Super Bowl.

 

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NFL

Hello, world,

I watched the Redskins play the Eagles on my laptop as I got the night bus back from London, having seen Arizona Cardinals vs Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham. It was a great game with the Eagles showcasing to the “football cognoscenti” why they have the best record in the league right now. It took a long time but with it being only £13 in total, my journey was as enjoyable as it was expensive. However, the Cardinals fans must have been thinking differently; they must have been as tired watching the game as I was when I reached home in the morning…

For those same Arizona fans, having seen their best player David Johnson get injured and be out for the rest of the season in the first game of the season. Must have been a hard pill to swallow. But on Sunday, star quarterback Carson Palmer left the game midway through the second quarter with a broken arm. The initial reports of the injury suggest that Palmer could be out any period of time and that recovery estimates were “up in the air”. This is terrible news for the Cardinals, and their fans who even before this game were enduring a difficult season; but have now fallen deeper into the depths of NFL obscurity with this injury.

As I foretold in my preview of this game, what the Cardinals needed to do to win was to establish their running game. Unfortunately, at Twickenham, this was as successful as watching the game without hearing American Football described by people around me as “Yeah…. almost it’s like rugby but with pads” It was maddening, to say the least. Adrian Peterson finished the game with 21 rushing yards on 11 carries. He was bottled up by the Rams, who exploited the clear weakness of the Cardinals their offensive line. LA had constant pressure on every play, whether it was men in the backfield as they ran the ball or hitting the quarterback when Arizona tried to pass the ball. The Rams defence set the tone early and it didn’t stop punishing Arizona all game long. What did not help Peterson’s case was that the Rams took the lead early on and his quarterback got hurt. Both of these meant that the Cardinals simply couldn’t run the ball as it would have wasted too much time already losing the game.

So with a running game that was utterly devoid of any success; the Cardinals had to throw the ball for almost the entire game, in fact, they only ran the ball 12 times. In the first quarter, Palmer did lead a 9 play 65-yard drive however it ended up with a missed field goal. That was the best it got for Arizona, with their the passing game drying up faster than water in the surrounding deserts of Glendale, Arizona. Palmer finished with a stat line of 10/18 for 122 yards with an interception and a QBR of 30.9. Drew Stanton who came in to replace him after the injury, finished with 5/14 for 62 yards also with an interception and an anaemic QBR of 11.2. This game was a write off for Arizona as soon as Palmer got injured with Stanton looking unprepared and overmatched against LA’s defence. He was abysmal for the Cardinals who’s season at this point is now a write-off. I see very little hope for success this year after watching this performance at Twickenham.

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On the other hand, this was a wonderful performance by the Los Angeles Rams. They did a great job on offence, quarterback Jared Goff came to Twickenham and delivered a sound performance. He had 225 yards passing, with one touchdown and one interception while gaining a touchdown on a 9-yard run. He didn’t have to do too much on Sunday as running back Todd Gurley had one of his best games this season. Gurley was the focal point of the Rams attack, running the ball he had 106 yards on 22 carries with a touchdown. He also had 4 catches for 48 yards. These may not be his most impressive numbers, but the Rams lent on Gurley throughout the game and the Cardinals knew this, yet couldn’t stop him. Gurley’s ability to make 3 or 4 yards per run on first and second down, gave Goff short and easy third downs to complete. The Rams went 13/19 on third downs meanwhile the Cardinals were a meagre 3/12.

With Gurley succeeding on the ground it gave Goff a solid platform to build off using play action. He completed passes to seven different players during the game, as the Cardinals feared that Gurley would run for a touchdown whenever he touched the ball. Gurley had the best play of the game with a wonderful 18 yard run for a touchdown, outrunning two defenders to reach the end zone and put the game on ice for the Rams with 5:25 minutes left in the first half! Goff will play harder teams this season but this game was a perfect encapsulation of his season so far with McVay. Nothing is too difficult in his scheme, it’s just allowing Goff to make the best decision with what is in front of him. Unlike under Fisher when any decision would have been a sign of progress…..

In conclusion, the Rams won this game comfortably as the score suggests. I would not hold out hope for the Cardinals this season as they looked about as comfortable to watch as a Donald Trump speech. But the Rams on the other hand now sitting at 5-2 look to be getting better and better each week. They could make the playoffs for the first time since 2004 if they continue like this. It was a great game and a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to go again!

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NFC, NFL, NFL UK, Review

Cardinals Rams Football

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello World,

Today I am going to Twickenham to watch the Cardinals vs the Rams and I can’t wait! I’ve been to Wembley three times to watch NFL, meaning this will be my visit to Twickenham to watch it. Here is my preview of the game, I’ll be analysing each team’s season so far, what both team’s need to do to win and my prediction of the final score. Let’s start with the “home” team; Los Angeles Rams.

So far this season, the Rams have been one of the most surprising teams in the league. They sit atop their division with a 4-2 record and have been playing some of the most exciting football in the league. This dramatic shift in fortunes for the Rams is down to one reason. They fired longtime head coach Jeff Fisher and hired Sean McVay as his replacement. McVay used to be the offensive coordinator with the Washington Redskins between 2014-2016. McVay, when he was hired, became the youngest Head Coach in NFL history at only 30 years old. Fisher had been the Rams coach since 2012 and when he was fired, it was an emotional moment for the entire organisation. If you need proof of this, I encourage you to watch the last season of “All or Nothing”. It’s an Amazon Prime documentary series showcasing their 2016 season. McVay has completely transformed this team, he has taken former number one overall pick Jared Goff from the edge of becoming a bust to a capable NFL starter, he has transformed former Pro Bowl running back Todd Gurley from looking like he had concrete in his boots to looking like he’s been shot out of a cannon.

So far this season, the Rams have made a massive improvement all along their offence. They got wide receiver Sammy Watkins in a trade with the Buffalo Bills to add an element of explosion to their passing attack, they signed offensive linemen John Sullivan and Andrew Whitworth to give Goff some much-needed protection and then drafted rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp and tight end Jerald Everett to help their passing game. These additions along with McVay’s system and skill as an offensive coordinator have helped the Rams. It now means Goff has more time to throw, with receivers that can get open and a running game that’s extremely effective. This has seen the Rams flip from being last in points in 2016 to first so far this season.

Coming into this game the Rams sit atop the division with a 4-2 record, which already equals their win total from last season. In order for the Rams to win this game, they need to establish their passing attack. The Cardinals rank 22th in total yards per game on defence, so if the Rams can successfully protect Goff from Arizona’s pass rush. Whilst also stopping Adrian Peterson from running right through them will give the Rams the much-needed recipe for success.

The Arizona Cardinals are 3-3 heading to Twickenham. Before the season started, Bruce Arians their head coach said “It’s not a one year window” for his team to win the Super Bowl. This was something I didn’t agree with, especially due to the plague of injuries they have had, the rising age of their superstar players Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald and the lacking resemblance of an offensive line. With six weeks of the season though, I am still pessimistic on the Cardinals Super Bowl chances. This is because they have won half their games so far. With two out of their three wins coming against the 49ers and Colts, who in my opinion along with the Browns are the dregs of the league. This means I can’t put much stock into their record due to these wins, meanwhile, they have been manhandled in their losses to the Lions, Cowboys and Eagles. All three of which could capably become playoff teams by the end of the season.

Now, if you are a casual Cardinals fan or so-called “expert” on Twitter. Your heart will have sunk in week 1 when your saw star running back David Johnson leave with a wrist injury only to find out he is out for the season. So, seeing your General Manager Steve Keim acquire NFL legend and future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson from the Saints would have made you jump for joy. He has enjoyed a bright start in Glendale, in his first game last week against the Buccaneers, he had 134 yards and two touchdowns. To give Cardinals fans more confidence, the last time Peterson played in London was in 2013 for the Vikings. He had 140 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns as the Vikings beat the Steelers 34-27. I would be excited to watch him today, as Peterson showed last week he’s still an effective running back and the Rams have the 29th ranked run defence. He will have a big game at Twickenham.

With their running game being on a knife edge due to the lack of offensive line for the Cardinals but the lack of Rams rushing defence. The success for Arizona could come down to their ariel attack. This could play into their hands as they have the 3rd ranked passing attack in terms of yards per game with 286.2. Carson Palmer has looked very streaky this season with 9 touchdowns and 6 interceptions so Arizona will need him to exude confidence and consistency to help them win. The Cardinals will need to have Peterson succeed running the ball, allowing Palmer more options to throw the ball when using play-action. By doing these things, the Cardinals will be confident in returning to Phoenix with a victory.

In conclusion, I believe the Rams will win this game continuing their hot start to the season. The Rams rank first in points per game with 29.8 and will surpass this mark at Twickenham. Jared Goff will throw for three touchdowns and 300 yards as the Cardinals put up a valiant effort but due to the Rams quick scoring offence, Adrian Peterson will have 2 touchdowns but not get as many attempts to run the ball, as the Cardinals will be in catch up early on. This will force the Cardinals into throwing the ball to keep pace with Los Angeles providing more opportunities for Palmer to turnover possession. This all NFC West game will end 31-23 to the Rams.

Blog, NFL, NFL UK

Hello world,

Coming off the back of Deshaun Watson’s first three starts for the Texans. A win versus the Bengals, a strong performance against the Patriots and a huge win against the Titans. This question has been kept low but I am still wondering, how did Bill O’Brien decide that Tom Savage should have been the starting quarterback ahead of Watson? With hindsight looks like a bad decision as the Texans were obliterated in their opening game 29-7. In O’Brian’s defence, this is a debate that if you were to interchange the names has been plaguing head coaches for years. I am going to examine a few examples that have been successful for the players, coaches and organisations involved, as well more often than not in these situations the examples that didn’t go well.

Sometimes, it doesn’t take till halftime of the opening game to change your quarterback like O’Brien did. In 1970, Steelers head coach Chuck Noll, a future Hall of Famer, played number one pick and rookie Terry Bradshaw for 8 games. Those other 6 games were played by, yes you guessed correctly. Terry Hanratty… This was a decision that caused opinions to swirl about the reliability of Noll as a coach. In his first game of his career, Bradshaw threw an interception and conceded a safety as they lost 19-7. Bradshaw was so embarrassed to be the starting quarterback when he lost. As told in one of my favourite books,

“Noll yanked him, and backup Hanratty finished up. After the game Bradshaw sat in his truck in the players’ parking lot, weeping.” – The Last Headbangers by Kevin Cook.

The amazing description of the situation by Cook, whose book beautifully analyses the NFL between 1972 and 1982, shows just how much Bradshaw wanted to succeed not only for himself but also Noll and the team. This is something rarely seen in young quarterbacks today, an example of this being Johnny Manziel who sat out the last game of the 2015 season due to a concussion, however, a video was found of him partying in Las Vegas seemingly fit and well. This lack of commitment, amongst other things is why Manziel is out of the NFL and why Bradshaw is in the Hall of Fame.

Despite what it looked like after that opening game and that 1970 season, Terry Bradshaw’s stats read as follows: 38% completion, 1410 yards, 6 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. Reading those stats is harder than watching a Jeff Fisher press conference. But with hindsight, Noll made the right decision, because the Steelers improved from being the worst team in the league with a 1-13 record the year before to a 5-9 record in 1970. Only 4 years later, the Steelers won their first of 4 Super Bowl titles in the 1970s. These four championships made the pair the most successful coach and quarterback duo till last season when Brady and Belichick won their fifth title. So, in this case, it helped the coach when deciding who to play to already have Hanratty there as the starter. It provided competition for Bradshaw to improve and a player to compare Bradshaw against for Noll.

However, this isn’t the case for every coach and rookie quarterback. Instead of having a veteran already there some quarterbacks can be thrown into the fire from the start. Now their failure can, I believe, be attributed to many things such as a lack of coaching, contract holdouts, lack of surrounding talent and lack of effort. The primary instance of a team starting a rookie quarterback and it going all down in flames is with #1 all-time draft bust: Ryan Leaf pictured here being drafted in 1998.

In 1998, he was selected number two overall by the Los Angeles Chargers formerly of San Diego. He was the epitome of a disgrace, he constantly didn’t study film, workout or practice with teammates. Reports suggest that he flew to Las Vegas the night he was drafted, partied all night and yawned all through the introductory press conference the next day. Leaf signed the largest rookie contract ever at the time. A 4 year $31.25 million with a guaranteed $11.25 million signing bonus. His stats for his rookie season were: 10 games played, 1,289 yards, 45.3% completion passes, 2 touchdowns, a staggering 15 interceptions and an anaemic QBR of 39. His go-to move was to blame his teammates for his poor play. As you can guess this did not endear him very well to his teammates or fans. This lack of friendship and vulgarity wasn’t new to Leaf; in an interview he did with the San Diego Tribune he said “There was a joke going around campus when I was at Washington State.

It went,”What’s the difference between God and Ryan Leaf?” The punchline was, “God doesn’t think he’s Ryan Leaf.”

Add this to his incomprehensible amount of arrogance, a lack of commitment, a litany of injuries, fickle temper and overall dismal play. All of this has made him the poster child of NFL bust and in my eyes the owner of the worst rookie season by a quarterback ever.

Having watched Watson for his last two games, he has made incredible strides as a quarterback. A normal rookie would be hidden behind a running game, using play-action passes to find open receivers to get him settled in the game. But Watson has been able to find and sense pressure in the pocket, he’s moving defences with his eyes and is making great intermediate throws. Not to make a direct comparison, but both Watson and O’Brien can take advice from Hall of Famer and twice Super Bowl champion John Elway who said about his rookie season “I needed that year it made me a better player rather than sitting it out”. Watson has a strong defence and cast of offensive weapons surrounding him to make his transition into an NFL starter an easier one than most. His swift rise as a quarterback makes this conundrum much easier for O’Brien to stomach especially as he realised his mistake only 30 minutes into the season. As long as Watson plays well, then all of the noise surrounding O’Brien and his decision to start Savage will disappear into the ether. If the Texans fall away then expect it to all explode again but don’t expect this to happen anytime soon. I think Watson is here to stay.

AFC, American Football, Blog, NFL, NFL UK, Rookies

My award predictions for the 2017 NFL season

AFC, American Football, Awards, Blog, NFC, NFL, NFL UK, Predictions

Hello world,

The NFL season kicks off today and I’m more excited than a Browns fan seeing their team win a game. It means that normal, real and important football is within our grasp. We don’t have to wade through any more of these weak, trivial and frankly boring preseason games, but are instead let back sweetly into the world of excitement that is regular season football. So here are my predictions for NFL awards; now last season I got 1 out of 7 correct, let’s hope this year goes a bit better.

MVP – Aaron Rodgers

Last season, Aaron Rodgers had a slower start than a snail trying to ride a bike. It was a poor start that left the Packers at 4-6 which held Rodgers back from the MVP award. His last 6 games of the regular season were incredible, with 16 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The hardest defence he will face this season is Seattle’s; last year against them he had 246 yards and 3 touchdowns, so expect them and every other defence he faces to fall by the wayside on his way to MVP. This will happen because Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL. Period. As well as that, the cast of players surrounding Rodgers has improved since last season, with Martellus Bennett being the main addition at tight end as well as Ty Montgomery in the backfield because you know what? The NFL needs more stars from position changes. It adds to the “Joie de vive” of the league.  I mean it’s done absolute wonders for Tyrelle Pryor, why not the same for Montgomery? Rodgers will throw over 5,000 yards and for 45 touchdowns cementing his status as one of the best ever when he collects his third MVP trophy next February.

Offensive Player of the Year – David Johnson

David Johnson last season had one of the best seasons ever by a running back till he got injured. He had 1,249 rushing yards and 879 receiving yards, a 15 game span of at least 100 yards from scrimmage which matched Hall of Famer Barry Sanders’ record from 1997. I believe that Johnson will continue this scintillating form into this season, as he looks to only get better and better on an improving Arizona team. On Arizona’s schedule, only the Giants and Texans have any form of a top 10 defence, so expect him to tear up everyone else this season. Johnson this season will push himself into the upper tier of NFL talent, becoming a household name although the Cardinals won’t make the playoffs. He will become the first back with at least 1,000 rushing yards and receiving yards in one season since Marshall Faulk in 1999 (guess what? he’s in the Hall of Fame as well). By doing this he will be propelled to the offensive player of the year this season.

Defensive Player of the Year – J.J Watt

J.J Watt is now injury free, having only played 3 games last season after having had back surgery. I see no reason why this award should be going in any other direction than back to the three-time winner. He is the best defensive player in the NFL till proven otherwise. The Texans have one of the best defensive lines in football, especially with the progression Jadeveon Clowney made without Watt last year. By combining both of them, it will result in Watt showboating through offensive lines for 18 sacks and defensive player of the year. No other player in the NFL causes offensive coordinators as many problems as Watt does. It’s not just his power, technique, speed, size but his versatility and ability to line up anywhere along the defensive line that causes them problems. He is the most destructive defensive player in the league.

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook will thrive this year, as he becomes the centre piece to a Vikings offence afraid to concede turnovers. He will set a new NFL record for the number of carries for a rookie in a season; such is the paranoia surrounding Sam Bradford with his almost innate ability to throw interceptions. He makes it look easier than tying a shoelace. Cook will show us his talent by managing to win this award despite Minnesota’s leaky offensive line. He will shine with his combination of speed and power, making it easy for Vikings fans to accept the decision to let Adrian Peterson head down to the New Orleans Saints this offseason. Cook will lead all rookie running backs in both yards and touchdowns with 1350 yards and 8 touchdowns. He will just pip Christian McCaffrey to the award, expect big things from this FSU star this season.

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Solomon Thomas

The 6ft 3in, 273lbs defensive end has performed well through training camp and into the preseason. Thomas can show off the skills he showcased during his time at Stanford on a defence that will be making a few heads turn this season. Expect Thomas to cause havoc alongside fellow rookie Reuben Foster. The defensive coordinator for the 49ers, Robert Salah has talked about his defence being “fast, physical [and] everything being about the ball.” For Thomas these are his main skills; it’s his speed and aggression that causes the most problems, the opposition simply doesn’t think a man of his stature can be so dynamic. If you need proof, I insist you go and watch the game between UNC and Stanford last season, Solomon Thomas was the best player on the field by far. Thomas will use this speed to cause mayhem at defensive end, he will land over 13 sacks and garner the defensive rookie of the year. If he wins the award, Thomas will be the first 49ers player to win the award since Patrick Willis did in 2007.

Comeback Player of the Year – Tyrain Mathieu

Now I should be placing JJ Watt here, considering he will win defensive player of the year and is coming back from surgery. But at the NFL awards, they like to spread the love with the winners so I’m predicting that Cardinals safety Tyran Mathieu will win this award. Last season he only played 10 games after sustaining a shoulder injury against the Panthers. With the Cardinals developing and drafting new players, Mathieu will go back to safety. From his preseason play, he is back to 100%, making him one of the top defensive players in the NFL, desperately giving the Cardinals defence some power and aggression. He will have 6 interceptions and 110 tackles to take the award.

Coach of the year – Bill Belichick

This is easy, he is the best coach in the league. So why not have this be the season where the voters remove their cataracts and give him the award. I will predict for him to win this award every year till he retires from coaching.

 

 

 

Hello World,

The NFL season is only 33 days away and within the period between seasons, teams have one goal: to improve enough to win the Super Bowl. For every team, this comes down to their scouting, their drafting, their coaching and as well their signings. The free agency period is a strange time for NFL teams; it seems that in some way, shape or form all of the 32 teams are active, whether that’s trading away players, players retiring or signing other players. For teams such as the Dolphins, Jets, Saints and Browns, it can be seen that an all-guns-blazing strategy in free agency doesn’t work out. Rather, a more subtle and slower approach taken by teams such as the Patriots, Seahawks and Packers does lead to more success. The players in free agency are ones that are out of a contract, so with the 24/7 coverage of the NFL nowadays, these players are thrust into the spotlight, every fan wants to know who their team can pick up and whether they will help lead them to success.

With this being the way, players that perhaps were average starters or back ups, perhaps come off an injury or finished the season strong are now held up to be pivotal players these teams need to have in order to win, with analysts, pundits, commentators and die-hard fans having to find positives in every signing in order to justify it, and all the while just waiting for the season to come around to see whether their team made the right decision. Using Free Agency as a tool to improve your team is high risk and high reward. In this post, I will give my opinion on four offseason signings; two of which I believe can help their team improve by providing success and two of which I believe will be disasters for everyone involved with the signing.

Here we go my two favourite offseason signings were:

DeSean Jackson WR Washington Redskins to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Contract: 3 year $33.5 million

I love this signing for Tampa Bay. Jackson brings, as he has done his whole career, a scary, defensive-coordinator-worrying level of speed that will take the top off any defence in the league. He is now 30 years old but still in the prime of his career, shown by last season with the Redskins leading the league in yards per catch with 17.9. Buccaneers GM Jason Licht has done a great deal here for the Bucs offence last year because last year Mike Evans broke out as a superstar with career highs in catches and yards (96/1,321). By adding Jackson to an offence with Evans, Quarterback Jamies Winston will have a field day picking apart teams’ defences, knowing he can trust either of these guys down field. Jackson is the master of creating space for his fellow receivers because of his speed. The defences are so scared of it, they will have to double team now both him and Evans leading to breakout tight end Cameron Brate having single coverage and the Bucs offence going from stride to stride this year.

Martellus Bennett TE New England Patriots to Green Bay Packers

Contract: 3 year $21 million

Martellus Bennett last season achieved the pinnacle of every NFL player’s career. He won a Super Bowl ring. Bennett was part of the Super Bowl 51 champion New England Patriots where he played in the absence of an injured Rob Gronkowski, his stats being an impressive 55 catches, 701 yards and 7 touchdowns. He played very well to start the season but was held back with a foot injury later on down the stretch. But he came away with a ring and this season he has possibly the chance to repeat that feat as he signed with the Green Bay Packers. It’s not often players go from quarterbacks with as much talent as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers and don’t succeed. Bennett is a great signing for the Packers who struggled to finalise a deal with the previous tight end Jared Cook but in my eyes managed to get a much better player out of it than him in Benett. Bennett when healthy will bring a talent to the tight end position Packers fans haven’t seen since Jermichael Finley. Having Bennett alongside Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery will allow Aaron Rodgers to recreate the incredible form he showed down the stretch of last season for hopefully all of this upcoming one. This was a positive free agency move for the Packers looking to win a second Super Bowl under Rodgers and McCarthy.

Here are my two bad free agent signings:

Jamaal Charles RB Kansas City Chiefs to Denver Broncos

Contract: 1 year $3.75 million

If this was 2013, then I would praise the Broncos from here to high heaven for pulling off such a trade. Charles was one of the premier backs in the league, having come off 1,500-yard season the year earlier, and looking to a positive future. But it’s 2017 and Charles since has fallen fast; he had successive surgeries on his ACL, was replaced by Spencer Ware and Chanderick West and has only played 8 games since 2015. I don’t like this free agent signing for the Broncos because of the situation. Denver does have a lead back in CJ Anderson who is a good player but after that they have nobody. In the draft, they had the opportunity to take a multitude of running backs but Denver only decided to take one in the 6th round, De’Angelo Henderson from Coastal Carolina. This doesn’t fill me with confidence – I’m not holding high hopes for him to even play any snaps this year. As well as this, it’s a bad signing because Charles is a 30-year-old back, with a messy injury history who isn’t as productive as he once was, but has been brought in as an effective cover for Anderson late in the season. I see this becoming a costly signing for the Broncos when it comes down to the end of the season and they suddenly realise they have to turn to an old, past-his-prime, Charles to help with their playoff push. It will be then that they will realise they should have taken a running back much earlier in the draft and stayed away from Charles, whose lack of speed and burst will hold their offence captive down the stretch and be one of many reasons why the Broncos will miss the playoffs.

Riley Reiff T Detroit Lions to Minnesota Vikings 

Contract: 5 year $58.75 million

If you want to make some money in this world, become a middling offensive lineman in the NFL. I can’t believe that the Vikings have paid this much money to a player that was plagued with issues on the left-hand side of the line with his years in Detroit. Their initial action was last year was to move Reiff to the right-hand side of the line when they drafted his replacement Taylor Decker at left tackle. If I couldn’t make it more obvious to you that this was a bad signing for the Vikings, here is the analysis given on NFL.com on their Free Agency Report: “The Vikings who just lost out on Ricky Wagner, signed Riley Reiff, per Ian Rapoport”. Now, when their analysis of a signing is saying that they lost out on a better player,  that doesn’t fill me with confidence and it definitely won’t for Vikings fans. Reiff has managed to garner a large contract this offseason and already into training camp he has missed 4 straight practices with an undisclosed injury, so his durability will be a cause for concern for Minnesota. He was meant to be a saviour for this line and if he’s injured he can’t play, leaving their line in a much worse state. If I was a Vikings fan, I wouldn’t be filled with confidence by this signing because you’re being sold a player who was replaced by his old team, wasn’t your number one priority because he was middling to average in Detroit and is now injured.

I hope you enjoyed reading this! Much love x

AFC, Free Agency, NFC, NFL, Signings

Hello world long time no see,

It’s been a long time since I last posted due to being in my final year of school and having exams. But mercifully just like Jeff Fisher’s tenure as Head Coach of the Rams they are over which means I can hopefully make these more regular.

Gloriously, the NFL season waits tantalisingly like a star atop a Christmas Tree less than 9 weeks away. The Free Agency period as always provides us with some surprises; whether it’s players moving teams, retiring or even returning! But teams mainly look to the NFL Draft as the best way to improve. I believe that these rookies will be the most exciting to watch in 2017. For depth, I will choose 2 rookies from each of the first 3 rounds on the draft. I hope you enjoy! 

Corey Davis WR – Tennessee Titans


One reason why Corey Davis will be an exciting player this season is because of the quality of the roster he has entered. Davis is the prime candidate to become the Titans WR1. He will be catching passes alongside Eric Decker, Rishard Matthews from Marcus Mariota, as well as blocking for Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray. The quality of these players will only help Davis as they will allow him to settle into the offence and not be forced to carry it like Atlas and the world. 

He was taken 5th overall from Western Michigan. The 6ft 3, 209lbs wide receiver during his time as a Bronco, became the all time leader in NCAA career receiving yards. This is no mean feat; he averaged 16 yards a catch and scored 52 TDs in 4 seasons. His aggressive style but soft hands will translate well into Offensive Co-Ordinator’s Jeff Robiskie’s offence, giving Mariota the number 1 receiver he needs for the Titans to become contenders. 

Christian McCaffery RB – Carolina Panthers


Christian McCaffery was taken 8th overall by the Panthers due to his astonishing ability as a runner as well as his versitlilty across the field.  He is as versatile a player as Daniel Day Lewis is to acting. This is a player that was 2nd in the Heisman voting in 2015 and holds the NCAA record for all purpose yards with 3,864. He will be exciting as a runner because of his combination of  patience and agility; he will be difficult to stop for opposing defensive co-ordinators. McCafferry’s ability to catch passes out of the backfield, as well as return kicks and punts means that luckily for us we will be seeing this talent a lot more than usual this season.

Teez Tabor CB – Detroit Lions


I thought it was criminal for Tabor to fall to the 2nd round. This is a man with 1st round talent written all over him. The University of Florida Cornerback fell to the 53rd pick for the Detroit Lions. He will be an exciting player this season because he is an aggressive cover corner who walks a thin line between penalties and interceptions. He is a strong open field tackler; at Florida he was twice All-SEC first team. He will bring class to a Detroit secondary that apart from Darius Slay is severely lacking it, making him an exciting player to watch.

Dalvin Cook RB – Minnesota Vikings


Cook was an amazing talent at Florida State; he became their all-time leading rusher and a force to be reckoned with throughout college football. This was shown by his ranking as the best college running back in the draft by both Pro Football Focus and Sports Illustrated. However, off the field issues such as being charged for battery saw him fall into the second round. Now, don’t kid yourself Latavius Murray fans (if you exist?) but Dalvin Cook WILL be the starting running back for the Vikings. With this comes huge expectations as former MVP and Vikings legend Adrian Peterson was their last RB. But he left to join the New Orleans Saints in the offseason, so he has some big shoes to fill. But Cook has already said when talking to CBS Sports “So the only thing you can do is come in and be yourself.” With this humble attitude as well as astonishing talent, Cook will be very exciting to watch. 

Chris Wormley DE – Baltimore Ravens


Wormley was a standout Defensive End at the University of Michigan. He played 4 years, having torn his ACL as a freshman and in 2016 was named First team all-big 10 and Second Team All-American. As he had 39 tackles (9 for loss) and 6 sacks. His character and leadership were surely recognised as he was made a team captain by his fellow players. Despite being a 3rd round pick, going to Baltimore will be good for both Wormley and ourselves. As their combination of a lack of defensive talent but good coaches means we will see him a lot this season, showing us and the Ravens why he was such a star at Michigan.  

Tarrell Bashem OLB – Indianapolis Colts


Bashem was an good talent at Ohio, playing 4 years and racking up a school record 29.5 sacks. He played OLB for Ohio having been taken by the Colts. He will most likely move from a 4-3 defensive end where he played in college to a 3-4 outside linebacker. This transition will be difficult to make especially for a rookie but having veterans such as Akeem Ayers and Barkivious Minho to learn under will help him grow through the season. We will see the 2016 MAC defensive player of the year on the field this season, so expect some big things, perhaps not as many sacks but a strong defensive impact the Colts have been missing for a number of years. 

Hope you have enjoyed! Much love 💚

AFC, Blog, NFC, NFL, NFL UK, Rookies