Monthly Archives: December 2016

NFL pass protection is complicated, especially for young offensive linemen

Y’all are in for a treat with this article. I’m going to peel back the layers about pass protection and help for offensive linemen, especially young ones, in pass protection. What it looks like, why it’s needed, and why not everyone does it.

I played in six different offenses with six different offensive line coaches. I’ve started games at left guard, right guard, and right tackle. I understand the goal of protection and the how, what, and why of scheming help. More than anything, when I was young, I was the guy who got the help.

This isn’t intended to knock anyone or prove a player is better than someone else. It’s too inform about the nuances of offensive line help and reiterate how confidence plays a huge role in the mindset of an offense lineman.

My first start in the NFL was in 2009 on Sunday Night Football against the Vikings. I was playing right tackle for the Panthers. We were 5-8, they were 11-2 with Brett Favre at quarterback.

My coaches were terrified of my ability to pass protect. We changed the entire game plan to help me. We put a tight end next to me to chip. We slid to the right more often. The right guard keep an eye out for me. We put in rollouts on third down.

We won the game. It was a blast. I played well. This is important to note here. I knew entering the game that I wasn’t going to be left on an island. I was confident that I’d have help when I needed it. The night before the game, I’m not thinking about the 30 plays I’ll be alone blocking Ray Edwards, just the 10 or so. Instead, I’m thinking about all the protections where I can set aggressive knowing I have help or set knowing the only rush that can beat me is the speed rush.

The idea of helping offensive lineman in pass protection is to either physically hit the rushing defensive end, distract him with the threat of contact, or slide protect to help a tackle. These are all built into a team’s offensive philosophy, if they choose to give help. It’s rarer now, but some teams design an offensive scheme around this concept of more help in protection.

Panthers vs. Falcons 2015 picks and predictions: Carolina not a unanimous pick to get to 15-0

Game Denzel Perryman Jersey Midway through the season, it looked as if this late-year tilt in Atlanta between these two talented NFC South teams would be a pivotal one. In fact, it seems like just yesterday that the Panthers and Falcons were both undefeated.

But since starting off the year with five straight wins and six victories in seven games, Atlanta has fallen off a cliff. The Falcons lost six in a row before defeating the Jaguars last week and now find themselves playing out a season that will end when Week 17 does.

Carolina, meanwhile, has spent the year steamrolling opponents. The Panthers, after their exciting win in last week’s battle against the Giants, are now 14-0. The question going forward will be how much Ron Rivera elects to play his starters. Will the Panthers keep the foot on the gas and go for 16-0, or would they rather hand their players a couple weeks of rest?
Game Carl Davis Jersey
But even if Payton does stay aboard, changes are still likely coming to the 5-9 Saints, who have clinched their second consecutive losing campaign. Rapoport also reports the team may try to persuade Drew Brees to take a hometown discount, as he’s entering the final year of his deal and is currently slated to eat up $30 million in cap space for 2016.

The person who would oversee all of these possible transitions remains unknown as well. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes the Saints are expected to overhaul their front office in order to combat owner Tom Benson’s failing health. Saints executive vice president and general manager Mickey Loomis could take on a bigger role managing Benson’s sports properties, which also include the struggling New Orleans Pelicans. Under this potential arrangement, Loomis would no longer be a part of the day-to-day decision making for the Saints.

Crasnick notes that Chicago demanded versatile utility man Jurickson Profar and a “lot more” this past July

Game Youth Taylor Lewan Jersey
Five months after the Texas Rangers checked in with the Chicago White Sox about Jose Quintana prior to last season’s trade deadline, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the teams have reopened discussions this winter.

Rumor CentralThe White Sox are in full rebuild mode after dealing ace Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton during the winter meetings, but their asking price for Quintana might still be too high for the Rangers.

Crasnick notes that Chicago demanded versatile utility man Jurickson Profar and a “lot more” this past July. While it’s unclear what the ask was beyond that, Crasnick writes that the Rangers are “probably not serious [suitors] unless [the] price drops.”

Quintana, 27, posted a 3.20 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 32 starts this past season, earning his first All-Star selection in the process. The five-year veteran is under team control for the next four seasons, including club options in 2019 and 2020. If those options are exercised, Quintana would earn $36.85 million during that span.

Texas joins the Houston Astros, Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves as teams that have reportedly shown interest in the durable southpaw. Also in the mix are the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have “worked hard” to land Quintana, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported earlier on Wednesday.

At the time, no modern team had ever won a championship following such a talent binge. When the defending-champion New York Yankees spent the off-seasons of 1994 and 1995 loading up on players, that meant adding 9 net WAR of talent and 56 percent more payroll5.

Game Youth Stevie Johnson Jersey In terms of totally overhauling their roster from the outside, mainly through the power of free-agent shopping, the Marlins were on another level entirely.

Olsen has the top five single-season reception totals in team history

Whether Olsen will play long enough to move higher than that remains to be seen. He¡¯s 2,776 yards behind fourth-place Shannon Sharpe and 7,843 behind first-place Tony Gonzalez.

But there¡¯s no question Olsen will rank among the top tight ends of all time.

Authentic Kids Matt Dumba Jersey He¡¯s definitely Carolina¡¯s top all-time tight end, blowing past the records Wesley Walls established from 1996 to 2002.

Olsen has the top five single-season reception totals in team history. He has four consecutive seasons with 70 or more receptions. The last tight end to do that was Jimmy Graham for New Orleans from 2011-14.

So it should come as no surprise that Olsen is set to surpass 1,000 yards for the third straight year. Had the offensive line not become a shambles last month because of injuries, he¡¯d probably already be past his single-season record 1,104 yards established last season.

“If we had done something like a zero blitz in the Super Bowl and got bombed for a touchdown to lose the game, then I’m sure [it would] be understandable there, the reason,” he said.

Sherman said he and Bevell are in a good place and talked about the situation last week. He described the meeting with Carroll as productive.
Alex Mack Jersey
When asked if he thinks it’s ever the place of a defensive player to question a play call, Bevell said, “No, I don’t.

“He’s still going to have his opinion. Everybody’s going to have their own opinion. You could sit there and try to convince him and show this, show that, but it’s not going to serve a good purpose. So we got to a good place.”

Carroll and Bevell have admitted that the loss in Super Bowl XLIX is still a factor with the current group of Seahawks.

“I think that’ll linger for a lot of people for a long time,” Sherman said.

“I think sometimes things need to happen like that,” Sherman said of the sideline outburst. “People need something to talk about this week, so you’re going to talk about that. But it worked out. The way our team works, it worked out fine. We’re moving forward.”

Drew Brees, Brandin Cooks have monster days, but it all comes too late for Saints

Ummm, where has that been for the past two weeks?

The New Orleans Saints exploded out of their offensive slumber in Sunday¡¯s 48-41 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, who had entered the week with the NFL¡¯s No. 1-ranked defense.

Drew Stafford Authentic Jersey Unfortunately, it was too little, too late after the Saints (6-8) let their season crumble with two offensive flops over the past two weeks.

Chicago Bears quarterback Matt Barkley — a native of Huntington Beach in California who attended the University of Southern California — told ESPN¡¯s Michele Steele on Sunday morning that he planned to wear a wetsuit under his uniform to combat the frigid conditions at Soldier Field when the Chicago hosted Green Bay.

Barkley had every reason to be concerned about the weather. The official temperature at game time was 11 degrees with a wind chill of minus-4.

For the most part, Barkley¡¯s decision paid off. The warm-blooded quarterback did turn the ball over four times, but Barkley still passed for 362 yards and two touchdowns for a 81.7 quarterback rating. The Bears (3-11) lost 30-27 to the Packers but Barkley led them on a game-tying drive with 1:23 left in regulation.

Chris Higgins Authentic Jersey ¡°I¡¯ve worn a wetsuit in water, but not on a football field,¡± Barkley said after the game. ¡°It ended up working out well. It did not restrict my play.¡±

Brown’s five fantasy points represented only his fifth single-digit fantasy score in a game in 2016, and his three receptions were his fewest since 2015 Week 6 (also 3). With that, Brown is now on pace for only 110 receptions, which would be his lowest total since 2012, and 203 fantasy points, which would be his fewest since 2013.

Seven ways NFL players keep from freezing

Temperatures in Chicago on Sunday are projected to hover around zero degrees — with wind chills falling much lower than that. That means the rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears could get nasty if the players aren’t ready to handle the cold.

After playing my college ball in Iowa City, Iowa, with NFL stops in Green Bay, Washington and Buffalo, I’ve seen some brutal weather on the field. Snow, wind, ice — you name it. And the hits sting in the cold. That stuff hurts. On top of getting past the mental block that it’s going to be freezing on the field, how can NFL players prep for the unwelcome conditions?

The Packers are headed to Chicago to play Sunday in what might end up as the coldest temperature in team history. The anticipation brings up memories.
Authentic Brian Quick Jersey
The forecast calls for a high of 1 degree when the Packers visit Sunday, but the Bears’ Pernell McPhee insists he will be sleeveless in Chicago.
Bears, Packers prepare for historic cold in Chicago

With the win the Giants are on the verge of qualifying for the postseason for the first time in five years. And they’ve surprisingly done it on the back of a strong defense that is allowing 18.8 points per game. They’ve done it despite being minus-5 in turnover differential and struggling badly on offense.

“What’s even weirder is that our record is what it is and we haven’t [seen our best offense],” Beckham said. “That’s putting things in perspective. That’s a good thing, I guess. We haven’t lived up to our potential on offense and we’re still finding ways to win games. A win is a win. We just keep it going.”

Authentic Dalton Pompey Jersey A win on Sunday against a red-hot Detroit Lions team that has won five straight could (with plenty of help) clinch a playoff spot. At the very least, it will put them in an enviable position heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.

Norman hasn’t been challenged by opposing quarterbacks every week

Limited Youth Sebastian Janikowski Jersey It’s not revenge that Josh Norman wants. He’s not necessarily trying to prove a point — OK, maybe he wants to a little bit.

What he really wants is action. So when he faces his former team Monday night, he wants his old teammate, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, to test him on the field.

Norman hasn’t been challenged by opposing quarterbacks every week. He wants that to change more than ever Monday.

“I hope so,” he said. “Cam, the coach [will] tell him no. Cam, the competitor, yes. So I’m looking for that guy. Just like practice.”

Elite Anquan Boldin Jersey Since Dez Bryant returned in Week 8, he has seen 57 targets in the passing game, and he has produced 27 receptions for 494 yards (18.30 yards per catch) and four touchdowns. I understand why Prescott would want to get the ball out to Bryant. He’s a true No. 1 with the speed, size and matchup ability to win inside and outside of the numbers.

Plus, in my opinion, Bryant is also the league’s most dynamic weapon in the red zone. He’s too physical for defensive backs at the point of attack.

But given Bryant’s 47.4 percent catch rate since Week 8 and his average air yard per target of 15.39, the Cowboys’ hyperefficient passing game that we saw earlier in the season has dropped off a bit with Prescott locking in on his No. 1. This showed up multiple times on the tape versus the Giants when Prescott had options open on much higher-percentage routes.

He paints the guns draped in Mardi Gras beads, sometimes just floating in space, other times laid out on a bed of crawfish. One has the Gaelic phrase “Kiss my ass” over the gun. He loves how so many people have such strong reactions to the paintings. “I don’t care if anything ever sells,” he says. “I just want people to think. Our priority in this city is about partying. I feel like our priority should be stopping violence and finding out what the problem is.”

A broken foot didn’t stop Marcell Dareus from ruining the Jets’ season

Marcell Dareus revealed on Instagram on Monday that he suffered a broken foot when he limped off the field on Sunday, before returning to the field to finish the game and season for the Buffalo Bills.
Authentic Kids Grant Hill Jersey
The fifth-year defensive tackle finished with just two sacks in 2015 after racking up 10 sacks the year prior and earning first-team All-Pro honors. Just before the beginning of the season, Dareus signed a six-year, $96 million contract extension with $60 million guaranteed, the highest mark for any NFL player, aside from quarterbacks.

While Dareus said on Instagram that he suffered the injury in the fourth quarter, it appeared to happen with a couple minutes remaining in the third quarter. Dareus jogged off the field before returning to play in the fourth quarter and helped preserve the lead in a 22-17 win for the Bills.

The Packers are 4-1 ATS in their last five playoff road games per the OddsShark NFL Database. Washington is 0-5 ATS in its last five games as home favorites.

Despite being an underdog in each of their last four games of the regular season, the Washington Redskins went a perfect 4-0 SU and ATS to claim a playoff spot by winning the NFC East Title. The Redskins were outstanding on offense down the stretch, scoring 35.7 points per game over the team’s last three games. The Redskins are 6-2 SU in their last eight Wild Card games and 12-4 ATS in their last 16 playoff appearances overall.

Sunday’s total is set at 45 points. The UNDER is 10-3 in Green Bay’s last 13 games and 6-2 in the last eight games between the Packers and the Redskins.

Womens Chandler Jones Jersey While Washington is certainly in better form, the Packers enter the game with the superior defense and one of the best quarterbacks in the game in Aaron Rodgers. Look for Green Bay to pull out the upset at Washington.

The best NFL QBs who could change teams in 2017

While some might think it’s unfair to label players as free-agent busts three-quarters of the way through the season, the NFL is a bottom-line business, and results matter.
Kelvin Benjamin Mens Jersey
If players aren’t performing to the level of the deals they signed this offseason, judgments have to be made.

The Seahawks need Thomas Rawls to perform like he did last season in order to make a playoff run. The Cowboys, meanwhile, could rest Ezekiel Elliott if they clinch home-field advantage.

Some players and coaches marveled at how Kelly has handled everything.

“I know that he has that exact same feeling being back here,” Smith said. “We’re around each other more than we are around our families in general, so it’s good to have that type of love and support here. And we have his back. I wish we could have got that win for him, because I know what it means to play or coach under those circumstances. We have just got to finish the right way.”
Womens Devan Dubnyk Jersey
The Niners did not get that win for Kelly last week, but for a group that doesn’t need more motivation to end its woes, there seems to be at least a little added incentive this week to try to lift Kelly’s spirits.

“We are all with Chip,” Harold said. “I know how he feels. It’s tough losing a parent, and being so far away from home, I know it’s taken more of a toll on him than it would other guys who haven’t gone through something like that. But we are all in together. We break down every day on ‘family,’ and that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. We’re all a team, we’re all together. That family thing, it’s real huge.”

The Texans’ wildcat play with J.J. Watt and Vince Wilfork was the most beautiful failure ever

Limited Mens TJ Brodie Jersey The Houston Texans fulfilled your wildest Madden dreams, letting J.J. Watt take a direct snap in the wildcat and run the ball right behind defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. The only problem is, the play was terrible.

Of course the Chiefs stuffed it; they knew exactly what the play was. What else were the Texans going to do in that formation?

It was like the Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin’s parents give him a cigarette. Sometimes you have to learn your lessons the hard way. Watt did.

J.J. Watt on red-zone play that backfired: ‘We’ve had that play in for weeks now and just never had opportunity to run it.’

First, let’s go over what happened in the final minutes, when the Bengals came so close to putting this game away.

With 3:28 left in the game, AJ McCarron had the ball at Pittsburgh’s 45-yard line after a nice punt return by Adam Jones. He was unable to get a first down on three plays, setting up a fourth-and-2 with less than three minutes left, but McCarron hit Marvin Jones inside the 30 to convert. Three plays later, McCarron hit A.J. Green for a 25-yard touchdown, giving Cincinnati its first lead of the game.

Roethlisberger came back in after missing most of the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury. He was clearly limited in his arm strength, throwing nothing but dumpoffs and screens. The Steelers faced fourth-and-3 from their own 41 with 28 seconds left, and converted with Roethlsiberger finding Antonio Brown, crossing midfield in the process. They got in field goal range when Burfict nailed Brown on a helmet-to-helmet hit, drawing a personal foul.
Limited Youth Ryan Harris Jersey
The Chiefs were left for dead after starting the season 1-5 and losing Jamaal Charles to a torn ACL. Instead of folding up the season, Andy Reid rallied the troops to 10 straight wins, wrapping up the No. 5 seed with a chance to win the AFC West going into the final week.