Category Archives: NFL

NFL: All Eyes On Johnny Manziel As Cleveland Browns Open Training Camp

Browns rookie QB Johnny Manziel debuts at Cleveland Browns training camp with plenty of buzz, distractions and excitement: 

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Via The Associated Press:

BEREA, Ohio — There were No. 2 jerseys everywhere, ringing the practice fields in various shapes, sizes and colors.

On the first day of training camp, Browns fans came out by the thousands, many of them to get their first live look at the popular and polarizing quarterback who electrified college football and who may one day lead Cleveland back to pro football glory.

They all came to see Johnny Manziel.

Strutting around the field with his usual swagger, Manziel went through his first training camp practice on Saturday, a workout that finally allowed the focus to be on his playing ability after months of his social life making headlines. A day after acknowledging he “made some rookie mistakes” with his off-the-field exploits, Manziel zipped passes and showed some of the elusiveness that earned him his Johnny Football nickname while at Texas A&M. “I have fun playing this game,” Manziel said. “I have fun going out on this field playing football. It’s what I live for, it’s what I love to do.” Read the rest of this entry

NFL Draft: Recapping The Best Picks By Each Team After An Exciting NFL Draft

Taking a closer look at some of the best draft picks and overall value by each team after a very busy 2014 NFL Draft: 

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Via ESPN Insider: After looking through each team’s draft board, these choices stood out as being the best based on what each player brings to the table, how he fits with his new team and where he was drafted in the order (and also who else was available at the time).

Here are my favorite picks of all 32 teams, plus plenty of thoughts on some of the other choices I did or didn’t like for each.

Baltimore Ravens
Round 3 (79): Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State

I could have gone with C.J. Mosley, who was the best player on the board when the Ravens took him at No. 17 overall, and is an NFL-ready player who will be a playmaker behind the Ravens’ big defensive front.

But I decided to go with Brooks here, as I think he was a steal in the third round and could develop into an every-down starter for Baltimore given his physicality near the line and range in coverage. He’s always around the football.

Timmy Jernigan, drafted at No. 48 in the second round, is a good player, but I don’t totally understand his fit as a 1-technique. He won’t provide much as a pass rusher, and he comes with some character baggage.

Buffalo Bills
Rd. 1 (4): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (from CLE)

It came at a high cost (a 2015 first-rounder in the trade with Cleveland to move up from No. 9 to No. 4), but the Bills got the most dynamic offensive playmaker in this draft — and the best wide receiver prospect since A.J. Green — in Watkins. They are going to need to surround second-year QB EJ Manuel with great players to give him a chance to succeed, and in Watkins he will have a true No. 1 target. Read the rest of this entry

Eagles Release DeSean Jackson Over Off-Field Acquaintances; Joins Redskins

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles and Coach Chip Kelly decide to release the team’s most explosive player over off-field concerns:

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Via NFL.com: The Philadelphia Eagles announced Friday that DeSean Jackson was informed of his release.

Jackson will finish his six-year Eagles career with 356 receptions, 6,117 yards and 39 total touchdowns.

The end of the Jackson saga comes in the wake of a Friday morning NJ.com report claiming the Eagles have “serious concerns” about the wide receiver’s continued association with reputed Los Angeles street gang members tied to a pair of homicides.

The same report also questions Jackson’s attitude, work ethic, chemistry with coach Chip Kelly and penchant for missing team meetings to hang out with friends.

Jackson addressed the report through a statement obtained by NFL Media.

“First I would like to thank the Eagles organization, the Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia for my time in Philly,” Jackson said. “I would also like to thank coach Andy Reid for bringing me in. Secondly, I would like to address the misleading and unfounded reports that my release has anything to do with any affiliation that has been speculated surrounding the company I keep off of the field.”

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NFL Free Agency Is Underway, Lots Of Big Name Players On The Move Early

2014 NFL Free Agency officially underway: Revis, Talib, Ware, Decker and Sproles all heading to new teams:

Via SI:  Declaring winners and losers in free agency is not unlike handing out draft grades in the immediate aftermath of that event  in that, both sets of reactions usually turn out to be at least 50-percent wrong.

We can only base opinions off what we know (or what we think we know) for the time being, though. Thus, the early stars and stumblers from NFL free agency:

Winners:

• Tampa Bay … to a point: The Buccaneers’ first offseason under Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht has started with a bang. They have secured no fewer than four impact players in DE Michael Johnson, OT Anthony Collins, CB Alterraun Verner and underrated DT Clinton McDonald. TE Brandon Myers should help, too, assuming he can fend off Tom Crabtree and 2013 surprise Tim Wright.

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NFL: Seahawks Embarrass Peyton Manning’s Broncos in Super Bowl Route

Seattle’s defense shuts down Peyton Manning and Devner’s offense, bringing Super Bowl title to the Pacific Northwest:

The Seattle Seahawks’ mantra all season was to make each day a championship day.

They made Super Bowl Sunday the best day of all with one of the greatest performances in an NFL title game — sparked by a defense that ranks among the best ever.

The Seahawks won their first Super Bowl crown in overpowering fashion, punishing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8. That masterful defense, the NFL’s stingiest, never let the five-time MVP get going, disarming the highest-scoring offense in league history.

Seattle (16-3) was too quick, too physical and just too good for Denver, and that was true in all areas. What was hyped as a classic matchup between an unstoppable offense and a miserly defense turned into a rout.

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ESPN Exits Frontline’s NFL Concussion Project After Recent NFL Meeting

The New York Times investigates league TV partner ESPN’s’ sudden exit from Frontline’s  NFL Concussion project, after intense pressure from league executives: 

ESPN was involved with a hard-hitting television series that delivered an unsavory depiction of professional football players. The N.F.L.’s commissioner was so perturbed that he complained to the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, ESPN’s parent company. Not long after, ESPN stopped promoting the show, then decided to end its run after one season.

The year was 2004, and the TV series was a fictional drama, “Playmakers,” which did not even include the words “National Football League.” Nearly a decade later, a strikingly similar set of circumstances — though this time with a more serious topic — has left ESPN, the multibillion dollar sports behemoth, again defending its dual existence as a sports platform and a news organization.

On Thursday, ESPN, which has spent heavily in recent years to build its investigative reporting team, abruptly ended its affiliation with “Frontline,” a public affairs television series that was weeks from showing a jointly produced two-part investigative project about the N.F.L.’s contentious handling of head injuries. The divorce came a week after the N.F.L. voiced its displeasure with the documentary at a lunch between league and ESPN executives, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

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NFL: Patriots Aaron Hernandez Directly Connected To Murder Investigation

  • Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez facing numerous legal issues surrounding Boston area murder investigation:

Via FoxBoston.com — Patriots’ TE Aaron Hernandez drove his SUV to Gillette Stadium before taking a trip past the FOX 25 studio in Dedham Thursday as investigators continued to look for clues in the death of one of his 27-year-old associates.

Police confirmed Wednesday that the body of Odin Lloyd, of Dorchester, was found in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro. Lloyd’s death has been deemed a homicide.

Thursday morning Hernandez left his home in a white Audi SUV at about 11 a.m., drove to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, parked in the player’s lot and entered the facility. Just after noon he left the building, drove to a Gulf gas station and fueled his car up.

FOX 25’s Ted Daniel approached Hernandez at the gas station and described their interaction as “all business.” Hernandez who often speaks to the media at his locker had nothing to say.

From the gas station Hernandez drove to Dedham, passing the FOX 25 studio. He drove through Jamaica Plain into Boston and into a parking garage at the Prudential Center where he was seen meeting with a group of people believed to be attorneys at the prestigious law firm Ropes & Gray.

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Previewing & Predicting The Top Players In This Week’s NFL Draft

NFL Draft just days away; looking at some of 2013’s top prospects:

Via NFLDraftScout.com

After months of preparation, the 2013 NFL Draft is finally hours away.

And as we make final preparations before the commissioner steps to the podium, my top-100 draft board is finally set. There haven’t been too many changes over the past few months, but minor tweaks to narrow down my top 100 players in this year’s draft.

Final 2013 Draft Board

1. OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan (6-7, 306, 4SR)

Fisher proved in the Senior Bowl and at the combine that he could hang with the big boys and not just dominate MAC competition. He has room to grow, but the upside is undeniable.

2. OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M (6-6, 306, 3JR)

He’s a three-year starter, and the game seems to come easy to Joeckel. He is smooth in his movements with a stout base, winning with both quickness and strength.

3. DE Dion Jordan, Oregon (6-6, 248, 5SR)

A rare athlete for his size, Jordan needs to show he can stay healthy and add good weight. His fluid feet and range make him a versatile asset for any defense.

4. CB Dee Milliner, Alabama (6-0, 201, 3JR)

Although he doesn’t have elite speed, Milliner makes up for his lack of quick-twitch athleticism with smooth hips, natural instincts and very good read/react skills.

5. OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma (6-6, 303, 5SR)

A personal favorite, Johnson moved to the offensive line in 2011 and is still growing at tackle, but he flashes all the necessary skills to develop into an NFL starting LT.

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Roger Goodell’s Powerful Impact On The NFL Is Not Going Unnoticed

ESPN The Magazine’s Don Van Natta examines NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s  power over America’s most popular sport:

BEHIND THE CLOSED doors of a Capitol Hill chamber, Roger Goodell sits on a panel with an Army general before a rapt audience of two dozen lawmakers. The NFL commissioner swaps ideas with four-star Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III about how to better protect the brains of the young people who fight America’s wars and play America’s game. They also discuss changing the “warrior mentality” among soldiers and players, who keep fighting and playing through pain. The parallel is unmistakable: To detect and treat traumatic brain injuries, the U.S. Army and the NFL are partners in survival.

This was on Sept. 12 of 2012. Clad in a navy blue business suit offset by a bright yellow tie, Goodell, 54, jots notes as Austin speaks. Almost 7,000 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan have sensors embedded in their helmets to record concussive events, Austin tells Goodell. Another general muses that it’s easy to imagine that someday the Army’s sensors will be embedded in every NFL player’s helmet.

From Capitol Hill, Goodell races to a luncheon interview at the W Hotel before a crowd of fans. The interview, initiated by the league office, is conducted by a friendly questioner from the Politico website who allows Goodell to combat a swirl of bad news, from the league’s lockout of the referees to a run of negative player-safety studies. On that most important issue, he tells the awed audience, in his methodical manner of speaking: “Player health and safety is an issue that we’ve always been focused on. It’s always been a priority.”

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Super Bowl Preview: Ravens vs 49ers; February 3rd, New Orleans

Sports Illustrated previews Superbowl XLVII, Ravens vs 49ers:

Even though the San Francisco 49ers failed to secure the NFC’s top playoff seed, their appearance in the Super Bowl comes as no surprise to most people. The Ravens, on the other hand, limped into the playoffs as losers of four of their last five regular season games and faced what looked like an impossible road to New Orleans.

Three weeks later, here we are.

The Ravens will be making their first Super Bowl appearance since winning it all during the 2000 season. The 49ers have not competed on the NFL’s biggest stage since the 1994 campaign — a drought during which 12 other NFC teams played for the Lombardi.

Neither team has lost in the Super Bowl: San Francisco is 5-0, and the Ravens victorious in that lone trip.

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