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It’s been a big week for the Cincinnati Bengals, as they beat the Indianapolis Colts and now get set to take on a division Youth Carlos Dunlap Jersey rival in primetime. Will they be able to step up to the challenge?Bill Lericos from SB Nation’s Baltimore Beatdown joined us to preview the huge Thursday Night Football contest. Along with his appearance, we had a lot on the docket this week, including the following:Was the Ravens’ win over the Bills a by-product of Baltimore being truly dominant, Buffalo looking to struggle in 2018, or both?What’s the confidence level in Joe Flacco right now?From a Ravens perspective, how do those surrounding the franchise view the Bengals at this point?Was the Bengals’ win over the Colts nothing more than fool’s gold?How did Cincinnati’s trench players perform this week?Our listeners want to know if Marvin Lewis has learned some lessons after 15 years and has bought into halftime adjustments and much more!Our thanks to SB Nation and Vox Media for allowing us to be a part of their network , and our gratitude to our listeners who tuned in live and chimed in with their questions!If you’re unable to join us live here at Cincy Jungle or YouTube every episode, all Orange and Black Insider content is available here on CJ, as well as on our SoundCloud, Stitcher, through the Google Play app and YouTube channels, as well as on iTunes! You can tweet us @BengalsOBI or get in touch with us via email at Thanks for listening and go subscribe to our channels!The Bengals reached a big scoring milestone against the Ravens The Bengals are 2-0 after a 34-23 win over the Ravens on Thursday Night Football. If that score looks familiar, it’s because that was the same margin Cincinnati defeated the Colts by last week. It’s also the first time an NFL team has scored at least 34 points in each of their first two games since the 2013 Broncos.In case you forgot Kevin Huber Jersey , the 2013 Broncos made it to the Super Bowl. It’s hard for an NFL team to be sharp enough to score that many points in each of their first two games. They’re still getting chemistry down and back in true football shape after not playing a four-quarter game for almost a year. So for the Bengals to do enough to reach that feat is pretty impressive, even if it is against Colts and Ravens teams that seem to be in the bottom half of NFL teams. If nothing else, we should feel even more confident about the Bengals getting back to the playoffs. They’re certainly in good shape for that, but there’s still plenty of season left.
Behind the defense’s first shutout since the 2010 season, the Green Bay Packers cruised to a 22-0 win over the Buffalo Bills to improve Youth Kevin King Jersey to a 2-1-1 record. A pair of interceptions and an unexpected seven sacks against rookie Josh Allen paved the way for the Packers as the offense struggled to get into a rhythm once again with off-target passes and drops. Still, an important home win for Green Bay sets the stage for its next NFC North battle with the Detroit Lions next Sunday.Sitting alone atop the division remain the Chicago Bears, winners in amazingly lopsided fashion over Tampa Bay. An unforeseen offensive output from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, paired with a relentless defense, helped Chicago enter the bye week with momentum. Meanwhile, shaky defensive games from the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings led to losses that provided cushion for Chicago and Green Bay in the standings. Both the Lions and Vikings enter a pivotal week of adjustments in preparing for strong offenses in week five.Today’s rundown takes a look at some of those areas needing to be cleaned up as the NFL schedule crosses the quarter-season mark.Chicago Bears (3-1)Won 48-10 vs. Tampa Bay; Bye nextBears defense excited to see offense shine: ‘It feels like we’re a complete team’The Chicago defense was no slouch, intercepting three passes against Tampa Bay. But it was a six-touchdown, 354-yard passing performance from Trubisky and the offense that stole the headlines on Sunday for a surging Bears team.Column: Bears’ romp made possible by Bucs’ horrific defenseBrad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune takes a little bit of a different approach to the offensive explosion, citing the Buccaneers’ defensive faults as a key to Trubisky’s big day. Tampa coach Dirk Koetter called the performance “horrific,” along with some other attention-grabbing quotes.Chicago Bears’ torrid defense shows no signs of cooling offThree interceptions and four sacks helped lead the Bears’ defense in an impressive showing against the Bucs. A promising offense through the air in the first three games was held to just 251 passing yards on the afternoon.Detroit Lions (1-3)Lost 26-24 at Dallas; Next vs. Green BayRECAP: Lions at CowboysSlowing Ezekiel Elliott proved too tall a task on Sunday, as the Cowboys’ running back almost surpassed 100 yards both rushing and receiving. Meanwhile, the Lions had three receivers step up, while T.J. Lang missed some action once again.Lions defense fails, wasting a massive day from Golden TateThe blown lead looms large over what was a dynamic performance from Tate Youth Jaire Alexander Jersey , who hauled in eight catches for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His showboating after a go-ahead touchdown was addressed, however.Jarrad Davis’ pass coverage cost the Lions a possible win in DallasIssues in coverage continue for Detroit’s middle linebacker, who gave up a key reception to Elliott late in the contest. Davis’ issues as a rookie have not yet been solved.Minnesota Vikings (1-2-1)Lost 38-31 at LA Rams; Next at PhiladelphiaRams Outlast Vikings in a Shootout, 38-31A thrilling offensive game concluded with the Rams on top, as Minnesota’s defense was gashed for a second consecutive week.Vikings coach Mike Zimmer: Probably never been this poor in pass coverageMore on that defense that allowed 556 total yards and 465 yards and five touchdowns via the passing game. Head Coach Mike Zimmer and several players were distraught about the team’s defensive woes following the game.Mike Zimmer says Everson Griffen won’t return to Vikings until at least Week 6After a personal incident last week, Minnesota’s star defensive end will sit out the next several weeks with the Vikings’ support. The Green Bay Packers drafted a trio of wide receivers on the third day of this year’s 2018 NFL Draft, and through four games there had been little reason for excitement about any of them. Fifth-rounder Marquez Valdes-Scantling seemed to entrench himself as the WR4 behind a trio of veterans, and he had also made a handful of impressive plays on special teams.However, his offensive production was limited to one big play, which only came with Randall Cobb already out of a game and Geronimo Allison having left with an injury.On Sunday with both players out, MVS and a fellow rookie, sixth-rounder Equanimeous St. Brown, displayed the skill sets that excited Packers fans when their names were called on that Sunday in late April. The two combined for ten receptions, 165 yards, and a touchdown and demonstrated that they have plenty of potential to play a foil to Davante Adams on the opposite side.Now the key will be maintaining that success and chemistry with Aaron Rodgers Womens Tramon Williams Jersey , which is no easy task for a pair of rookies.Packers will use extra prep to recover and focus | Packers.comWith a Monday Night Football game coming up, the Packers get an extra day to recharge after last Sunday’s debacle. Then after that, it’s a full week off before the most brutal stretch of the schedule begins in week eight.Packers rookie stock report: Week 5 vs. Lions | Packers WireAlthough Marquez Valdes-Scantling impressed, so too did Equanimeous St. Brown, who had a whopping 60 snaps and showed great ability after the catch.Packers coach Mike McCarthy: There’s more to Aaron Jones’ playing time than stats | Packersnews.comWhat, exactly, is that “more” he’s referring to? Anyone with functioning eyesight can see who the best runner on this team is, and Jones has held up well as a pass-blocker so far this season, though the coaches say he still has work to do. Is that really the major holdup?Kevin King’s day in Detroit started badly and ended bloody | ESPNKing’s chin got messed up in the second half when Golden Tate’s cleat cut him up, adding injury to insult after that awful call on an early Lions punt.Michael Thomas, Josh Norman get into Twitter battle - NFL.comThomas is roasting Norman, who has since deleted his tweets in response to the Saints wideout.Mike Tomlin SHOULD be pissed about the NFL’s roughing the passer rule - SBNation.comThe awful calls that plagued Clay Matthews a few weeks ago have shifted to Pennsylvania, where the Steelers' T.J. Watt and Jon Bostic plus the Eagles' Michael Bennett were on the receiving end of some bogus penalties.
It’s Saturday at Arrowhead Pride Youth Steven Nelson Jersey , so you know what that means: we’re leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers in the past and moving on to the Kansas City Chiefs’ matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3!This week, the Chiefs get to line up against a very innovative and dynamic offense that may not be as strong in the talent department as the previous two opponents, but they’re definitely capable of hanging points on any opponent due to their scheme and speed.This week, like every week, I’ll be heading down to the Laboratory to take a look at what the opposition’s offense looks like, some matchups and tendencies that they like to exploit and what the Chiefs defense can do to try to stop them this Sunday.The 49ers offenseSergio Estrada-USA TODAY SportsA blockbuster trade brought quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco last year, and the 49ers paid him handsomely this offseason. Garoppolo is an accurate quarterback with a quick release that has grasped head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense well, putting up good numbers at the tail end of last year. While he hasn’t started with quite the same output this year, he’s very capable of putting up points and yards in a hurry against good defenses.After losing running back Jerick McKinnon to a torn ACL, the 49ers have relied on veteran Alfred Morris and second-year back (NFL rushing leader after Week 2) Matt Breida to lead the way. Morris offers a more “grinding” style of running, especially between the tackles, while Breida has been a change of pace back and pass catcher thus far this season. Breida, in particular, was able to find success last week against the Detroit Lions, showcasing his speed. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk is one of the bigger weapons on this offense, atypical of your normal fullback. He’s a rangy, athletic player that can be a matchup nightmare by offering the 49ers some personnel flexibility in their run and passing game.At wide receiver, San Francisco is led by speedster Marquise Goodwin and route runner Pierre Garcon on the outside. Rookie Dante Pettis has showcased some big-play ability this year as well, averaging 32 yards per reception thus far in the 2018 season. All three players have the capability to break a game open and run away from the secondary when defenses are forced into bigger personnel.At tight end, the 49ers have a steady presence in Garrett Celek, a good blocker and pass catcher, but arguably the most dynamic weapon on the offense is second-year player George Kittle. We’ll address Kittle below, but the offense does a good job getting him into space where he can use his speed and athleticism to rack up major yardage against linebackers and safeties.The San Francisco offensive line is still trying to gel this season after adding rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey opposite stalwart left tackle Joe Staley. The interior of Weston Richburgh, Laken Tomlinson, and Mike Person is a decent group, but definitely a better matchup for the Chiefs than the previous two week’s interior OL.How to defend21 personnelThe 49ers love to trot out a running back Allen Bailey Jersey , a fullback, a tight end, and two wide receivers in their offense, and the play above shows why. They’re able to utilize Juszczyk as an H-back in a counter run here with a jet sweep attached. Juszczyk is able to get well out in front of the play, springing Breida for a huge play on the first play of the game.Conversely, the 49ers are able to motion Juszczyk out of the backfield and force a good coverage linebacker completely out of the box. When the sweep is faked and the San Francisco offensive line blocks down, the linebackers flow to the running back, leaving Kittle wide open on the slant. A better throw springs this for a big gain, and it’s set up by having a FB that can split out wide and command a quality coverage defender, leaving your “run-first” linebackers stressed in their underneath coverage.Finally, the 49ers like to take advantage of bigger personnel on the field to stress the safeties and get open looks in the secondary. By lining up in 21 personnel, the defense is in their base personnel with a safety in the box opposite the tight end. This leaves three members of the secondary in coverage to the field, and San Francisco takes advantage of it.The outside receiver runs a 9-route, clearing out the boundary corner. The slot receiver shows a post route, and the single high safety has to carry that post route in his Cover 1 responsibilities. However, after the safety commits, the slot receiver cuts back and runs an out route. With the cornerback in trail coverage, there are all kinds of space for Garoppolo to make the throw.With the Chiefs likely shifting into their base 3-4 defense against 21 personnel, we’re likely to see lots of linebackers Reggie Ragland, Dee Ford, and Justin Houston in coverage to help try to stifle the 49ers passing attack. It’s not the ideal option from a pass rush standpoint, but that extra defender in coverage could help keep the San Francisco tight end, fullback, and running back in check, forcing third-and-longs.George KittleKittle is the engine that makes this offense tick. A Travis Kelce-esque tight end, Kittle is a poor matchup for almost anyone tasked with covering him. On top of that Authentic Chris Jones Jersey , the 49ers do an excellent job getting him into space through motion and drags across the backside of the offensive line post-snap.As shown above, Kittle motions across the formation opposite the running back. The 49ers run a play action pass and leave the backside blitzer unblocked. Kittle comes across the formation and underneath the blitzer. The run action has sucked linebacker Eric Kendricks inside and Kittle is now wide open in the flat with room to run.This time, out of a two tight end set, Kittle once again comes across the backside of the formation opposite of the run action. Everyone on the Vikings front seven bites on the fake and Kittle’s into the secondary with nobody remotely close to him. The Vikings have an exceedingly good defense that plays sound football, and they let Kittle find acres of space against them in Week 1.Due to Kittle being used for wham and slice blocks in the run game, defenders will try to beat him to the gap to wreck the play when he’s moving against the flow of the blockers. Shanahan uses this to his advantage, springing Kittle in the flat. The Chiefs linebackers and safeties are going to have to keep track of Kittle at all times this week, a tough task for any defense, let alone one that has been gashed by passes to the flats in the first two weeks of the season.Exotic pass rushesWhile San Francisco’s offense (and Garoppolo, in particular), does a good job getting the ball out quickly, Garoppolo will panic with some of the more exotic pass rushes. The Vikings defense brought a few overload blitzes at Garoppolo, especially at McGlinchey. The one shown above was the most costly of the game.The Vikings bring the edge rusher, off-ball linebacker, and the slot defender at the right side of the 49ers line. Garoppolo doesn’t see it coming and shift protection, and McGlinchey is left high and dry, trying to block three defenders. Garoppolo panics and rushes the throw off his back foot, straight to the cornerback who walks in for an easy pick-six.The defense doesn’t have to send extra rushers to disrupt the San Francisco passing game. On this play, the Lions show a five-man rush, and the weak-side linebacker drops off to cover the running back. The strong-side linebacker engages the right guard and appears to drop into coverage. The right guard turns to find work and help the right tackle, and the linebacker shoots the B-gap, unblocked for a sack.Simply by showing on tape a willingness to rush 3 (something the Chiefs have done with much frequency this year), the opposition was able to employ this tactic to bring an exotic rush by playing on their prior tendencies. Coupled with some overload blitzes, the Chiefs could employ an extra element outside of their normal rush tendencies this year to get home against an inferior line from the first two weeks.The bottom lineThe 49ers are a fast, dynamic team that exploits bigger defensive personnel well. That doesn’t bode well for the Chiefs, as the Chiefs linebackers and safeties have struggled in coverage thus far in 2018.However Youth Eric Fisher Jersey , the talent level on the offensive side of the ball is a little lower than the stacked offenses the Chiefs defense has seen in recent weeks.Shanahan is a fantastic offensive play-caller, though, and he’ll find a way to scheme guys open, especially if the Chiefs lean on their zone defense again this week. The 49ers can go up-tempo and force poor matchups with their personnel, and keep them on the field.That said, if Bob Sutton and the Chiefs defense can keep their superior man defense on the field and bring some twists, stunts and delayed rushes, I truly believe that they can find success in rushing the passer and throwing Garoppolo off his game.If the Chiefs play passive again this week, though, Shanahan and the 49ers offense will find the gaps and exploit the defense to the tune of big yardage and many points.Let’s hope we get a little more of the Week 1 scheme from Sutton and some better execution in the first home game of the year to keep Arrowhead loud and crazy all the way through the fourth quarter.Chiefs free up cap space by cutting veteran linebacker Frank Zombo After five seasons with the Chiefs, outside linebacker Frank Zombo’s career in Kansas City is over. The Chiefs cut Zombo on Saturday as part of the 53-man roster cutdown, as first reported by ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky. Demovsky suggests the Packers could bring Zombo back, as Green Bay was the landing spot for Zombo after he went undrafted in 2010. Zombo was part of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV win in 2010-11. The Chiefs now have no players on their roster with a Super Bowl win to their name. If the Packers want him, that choice will be up to Zombo, as noted by 41 Action News’ Nick Jacobs on Twitter.During his five years with the Chiefs, Zombo appeared in 80 games with 27 starts, compiling 123 combined tackles, 7.5 sacks, four passes defensed, one interception, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.Zombo was reliable for the Chiefs on special teams and was seemingly always healthy and able to start when Justin Houston and Dee Ford dealt with various injuries.Zombo’s cut likely means the Chiefs will keep four outside linebackers and opens the door for the team to keep a surprise player like Ben Niemann. Zombo’s release opens up approximately $1.17 million in cap room, according to Spotrac.
Philip Rivers surrounded by co-stars. An air-it-out quarterback in Kansas City. Von Miller sauntering around Denver again thanks to the arrival of a new pass rush partner in Bradley Chubb.Widely regarded as the best defender in the draft Womens Marcus Peters Jersey , Chubb, the No. 5 pick overall, teams with Miller, Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett to form a fearsome front ready to rankle the likes of Rivers, Patrick Mahomes II and Derek Carr, and reclaim the division crown they used to own when Peyton Manning was around.The Broncos have a bona fide QB again themselves with the free agent signing of Case Keenum, who's out to prove his breakout 2017 season in Minnesota was no fluke.He'll have to navigate a new division that features some of the league's best pass-rushing duos ready to wreck game plans and quarterbacks alike.The Chargers feature Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram as bookends to an ever-improving defense. The Chiefs have Dee Ford and Justin Houston to cover warts on their defense. Oakland has Bruce Irvin and — maybe — Khalil Mack, who wants a long-term contract.Here's a quick tour around the AFC West:RECHARGED CHARGERS : The Chargers ranked third in the league last year in yielding 17 points a game, but their run defense was their soft underbelly and kept them from an even bigger bounce-back season (9-7) in coach Anthony Lynn's first year.Enter versatile rookie safety Derwin James, who was selected at No. 17 overall in the first round of the NFL draft out of Florida State. James played in the box effectively as a strong safety for the Seminoles, and he's learning to play deep as a free safety. He's also getting chances to rush the passer from multiple spots in the formation Authentic Austin Blythe Jersey , adding more experiences to his skill set.The addition of James and a year of familiarity in defensive coordinator Gus Bradley's system have the Chargers expecting big things in 2018."It's looking like we are going to have a great defense," Bosa said.And that would take pressure off Rivers in the Chargers' quest for their first division title since 2009.RESUSCITATED SANDERS : Emmanuel Sanders proclaimed Denver as "wide receiver heaven" upon his arrival in 2014, and with Manning, Sanders indeed found paradise, setting career highs with 101 catches for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns his first season in the Rocky Mountains.Nirvana gave way to wide receiver purgatory after Manning's retirement, however.Sanders caught just 47 passes for 555 yards and two touchdowns last year when he was stifled by a nagging ankle injury and the Broncos' QB turnstile that churned through Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch.Energized by a return to health and Keenum's arrival, Sanders is ready for a comeback, sporting a rookie's enthusiasm to go with his veteran moxie while building chemistry with his new quarterback."I'm just loving football these days," Sanders said.MAHOMES' MOMENT: After trading away ball-protecting Alex Smith to Washington , Andy Reid is turning over the reins to Mahomes, the athletic Texas Tech QB who's a perfect fit for the Chiefs' steady diet of misdirection and multi-option reads.Eric Bieniemy takes over as offensive coordinator following Matt Nagy's hiring as Bears head coach, and he'll have plenty of firepower at his disposal with reigning rushing champ Kareem Hunt, speedy Tyreek Hill, star tight end Travis Kelce and new wide receiver Sammy Watkins.Mahomes gave the NFL a tantalizing glimpse of what he could do in the preseason when he ducked through a collapsing pocket and threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Hill, who burned three Falcons D-backs to catch the pass in stride."I underthrew it, to be honest," Mahomes said with a wry smile.The Chiefs might need to pile up the points to compensate for a depleted defense that was atrocious in the preseason after cutting loose veterans Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali and trading Marcus Peters to the Rams.LACK OF MACK: When Gruden gave up his TV gig to return to the sideline for the first time in a decade, he quickly jettisoned punter Marquette King in a surprising move. King wasted no time in signing with Denver, fueled in part by the revenge factor.King said he never had a chance to speak with Gruden before getting jettisoned in Oakland."I just saw him on car commercials and stuff," King said. "I get to see him two times a year."Gruden didn't just give the silent treatment to King but also to his star pass rusher as Mack held out for a long-term contract.Mack skipped the Raiders' offseason program , all of training camp and the entire exhibition season. Whether he reports before the start of the regular season remains to be seen."I don't want to put any timetable on it," Gruden said. "This has obviously been a long a process that has been grueling for both parties and fans and me personally. We're just hoping we can get him in here."PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: Chargers, Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders.AP Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow and Sports Writers Dave Skretta and Greg Beacham contributed. Mike Williams is starting to show why the Los Angeles Chargers selected him in the first round of the 2017 draft.The second-year wide receiver has three touchdowns and is averaging 17.2 yards per catch. He had his first two-touchdown game with four receptions for 81 yards in Sunday's 35-23 loss to the Rams ."His confidence is at an all-time high. He's looking good," coach Anthony Lynn said Monday. "Last year he was learning on the run because he wasn't practicing a lot. He has been really consistent for us so far."Williams, who is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, can be a matchup problem for opposing defenses when he is healthy. But he has battled injury problems two of the past three seasons.During his sophomore year at Clemson in 2015, Williams broke his neck when his head slammed into the padded base of the goal post after a touchdown. He missed six games last year due to back and knee injuries.Williams is hoping that this year mirrors what he did at Clemson in 2016, when he had 98 receptions for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns to lead the Tigers to their second national championship.If the first three weeks are any indication Youth John Johnson Jersey , Williams has the potential for another bounce-back season.Both of his touchdowns against the Rams came despite tight windows to catch the ball. The 42-yard touchdown during the first quarter came while Marcus Peters was draped over him in coverage in the end zone on a go route. On Williams' second touchdown, which came during the third quarter, he caught the ball at the Rams 3 on an out route and was able to outmuscle Lamarcus Joyner to the end zone."I'm making the best of my opportunities. Every time the ball comes my way, I feel like something good comes from it," Williams said.Williams is also showing a knack for making positive plays when he has the ball. All but one of his 11 receptions has been for a first down and four have gone for 20 yards or more. Williams' ability to move the chains is also a reason why he continues to gain more trust from Philip Rivers."He's come along. He's going to continue to do this," Rivers said. "He's only going to continue to be more and more of a factor for us."Williams is hoping to have another big game this week when the Chargers host the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners (1-2) come into the game with the fifth-worst pass defense in the league and will be without cornerback Richard Sherman (groin) as well as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Sunday's 38-27 loss at Kansas City.Notes: Lynn said Monday that defensive end Joey Bosa will miss his fourth straight game due to a foot injury. Lynn has not shut the door on a possible return for offensive tackle Joe Barksdale. Barksdale suffered a knee injury in the Sept. 9 game against Kansas City and has missed the past two games. ... After watching the tape of the Rams game, Lynn put a lot of the blame on punter Drew Kaser for having his punt blocked in the end zone. Lynn said Kaser should not have taken a three-step drop and should have gotten rid of the ball sooner.Follow Joe Reedy at joereedy
Stefon Diggs will take the field on Sunday when the purple host the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. . .well Adam Thielen Jersey Black Friday , this isn’t it.Courtney Cronin of ESPN is reporting that the Vikings will be promoting wide receiver Chad Beebe from the practice squad before Sunday’s game.Beebe, the son of former Buffalo Bills’ wide receiver Don Beebe, signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent out of Northern Illinois. He had a pretty solid preseason, catching nine passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns in four preseason games. With the Vikings’ glut of talent at wide receiver, he was let go as part of the team’s final cuts, but was signed to the practice squad right away.The Vikings appear to be playing things cautiously with Diggs, who suffered a rib injury in last week’s loss to the New Orleans Saints. With the Vikings’ bye coming next week, if he were to sit this week he would have two weeks to get ready for the team’s Week 11 contest at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears.The Vikings have not yet announced the corresponding roster move they would have to make in order to put Beebe on the 53-man roster. When they do, we’ll have an update to this story. MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — P.J. Williams was having a hard time keeping up with Minnesota’s dominant wide receiver duo, with frequent attacks by the Vikings on the third-year nickel cornerback for New Orleans during long touchdown drives each of their first two possessions.Williams and the Saints sure enjoyed their revenge.With assistance on a forced fumble that set up a touchdown late in the second quarter and an interception he returned for a score midway through the third quarter, Williams had quite the eventful night for the Saints in their 30-20 victory over the Vikings on Sunday .“Part of being a cornerback in the NFL is to be able to bounce back,” Williams said, adding: “It was a little relief , definitely, after giving up a few plays.”The Saints (6-1) were tied for the second-fewest takeaways in the league entering this rematch of the divisional round playoff game last season that Stefon Diggs won for the Vikings with that stunning last-snap 61-yard catch and run for a touchdown . Though the action was packed with plenty of highlight-reel plays, this one lacked the down-the-stretch tension and that where-were-you moment that immediately went viral like the “Minneapolis Miracle.”“We felt as if we were in a shootout until the third quarter, and then you felt them break,” Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan said. “At some point, they didn’t want it anymore.” Adam Thielen was putting together yet another stellar performance for the Vikings (4-3-1), who were on the verge of extending a 13-10 lead when Thielen plunged forward for extra yardage after a short first-down catch. Williams and Alex Anzalone converged and pried the ball loose at the 14, and Marshon Lattimore scooped up the fumble to start a 54-yard return . Two plays later, the Saints were in the end zone to complete the sharp momentum shift.“You can’t make mistakes against a really good football team,” said Thielen, who had seven receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown.Diggs, who had his own standout game with 10 catches for 119 yards and a score, was largely responsible for the other crucial gaffe by the Vikings. Though the stat sheet will forever show that Cousins was picked off by Williams Marcus Sherels Color Rush Jersey , Diggs stopped his drag route too soon while his under-pressure quarterback tried to dump the ball off to where he was counting on Diggs to be. Williams grabbed it instead and raced the other way for a 27-13 lead .“He just did what he was supposed to do, threw it to the spot,” Diggs said. “Miscommunication, and I take full responsibility.”Here are some other key developments from the game:STAYING STRONGThielen climbed over the neck of Williams for a tricky third-down catch on the first drive for the Vikings. Diggs beat him with a back-shoulder grab at the goal line and again four plays later on a toe-tap touchdown at the edge of the end zone on fourth down. On the next possession, Williams had a pass interference penalty that set up a short scoring run by Latavius Murray.The Saints, who were outgained 420-273 in total yardage, were able to keep their confidence and energy high despite the unfavorable start and stay undefeated in four road games this year.“We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game,” said quarterback Drew Brees, who had only 120 passing yards and threw his first interception after 231 attempts without one but went 18 for 23 to maintain his league-leading 77.4 completion percentage. “The difference was getting some of those turnovers.”GOING FOR ITDiggs and Thielen each scored their touchdowns on fourth-and-goal plays from the 1, but in between the fumble and the interception was another pivotal negative play for the Vikings. The fourth-and-1, empty-backfield pass by Cousins from their own 45 on the opening possession of the second half was incomplete when Lattimore knocked the ball out of Laquon Treadwell’s hands. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo decided earlier in the week they’d take an aggressive approach in those situations, with the indefatigable Brees and bold-and-unpredictable coach Sean Payton on the other side.“I love that they stuck to that plan,” Cousins said.THIELEN ITThielen tied Calvin Johnson’s NFL record of eight straight 100-yard receiving games Brian O'Neill Jersey , set in 2012 with Detroit. He also matched Patrick Jeffers with a fifth consecutive game with 100-plus yards and at least one touchdown, a mark set in 1999 for Carolina.“I think I’ve said this eight weeks in a row: 100 yards doesn’t mean anything unless you’re winning games,” Thielen said.DUAL THREATAlvin Kamara capped the opening touchdown drive by catching a forward flip from Brees on a jet sweep play with both backup quarterbacks, Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill, lined up as wide receivers. Hill had taken a turn at quarterback earlier and threw a 44-yard pass to Michael Thomas.Kamara soared into the end zone for a rushing score after Lattimore’s return, aided by a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Treadwell. Kamara, who had 20 touches on the team’s 53 offensive plays, has at least one rushing and one receiving touchdown in four different games. That’s the second-most in the first two seasons of a career during the Super Bowl era, behind Edgerrin James and his six such games for Indianapolis in 1999-2000.
And Vrabel used that knowledge to get the most out of his players when the time came to face the Patriots on Sunday.“The biggest thing I told them is that we have to be more physical than the Patriots in all three phases ,” Vrabel told PFT by phone on Sunday after the 34-10 win over New England. “If they gain yards, they have to beat you. We can’t give them easy yards. We have to exceed their operation and execution.”The approach entailed adjusting when the Patriots adjust, with sufficient preparation to instill a mental “flow chart” that allowed the players to know what they needed to do in response to whatever the Patriots did. Vrabel particularly wanted to limit the “easy access throws” by Brady, where he makes a quick throw for a good gain with little overall effort. Early in the game, safety Kenny Vaccaro made a big tackle on a quick throw, and it helped set the tone that the simple yards wouldn’t be there in the passing game.The Titans also were able to apply a lot of pressure to Brady. That’s been the recipe for more than a decade, but not many teams can properly mix the ingredients. Vrabel said that the key is “having guys who can execute” the plan to get to Brady and reduce his available time to throw the ball.“Everything I brought to them they were receptive of,” Vrabel said.As to the former Patriots who now play for the Titans, Vrabel tried not to stoke that emotion but to reel it in. He wanted “no personal agendas” during the game.“I tried to talk to them about that not making a difference,” Vrabel said.With the Titans now 2-0 since the bye, one specific technique has made a difference for the team. Vrabel said that during the bye the coaches went to each player with one concrete way in which they need to improve. It has worked well Patrick Chung Color Rush Jersey , and the Titans now find themselves in position to make a run at the division title, a single game behind the Texans with seven games to play. Coming off a productive run that saw them score at least 38 points in four straight games, the New England Patriots took a step back on Monday night against the Buffalo Bills — at least on the offensive side of the football. While the win ultimately was a lopsided one, the unit scored only one touchdown and had to settle for five field goals (one of which missed wide right). This week, a performance like that may not be enough to secure a victory.After all, a Green Bay Packers team is coming to town that features one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks and all the dangers that brings with it. Considering how most of the Patriots’ games went this season, New England’s offense might therefore have to go toe-for-toe again — and in order to do that, the unit will need to find a way to score against a defense that does not exactly stand out statistically, but that still cannot be underestimated.To find out more about Green Bay’s defense, we spoke with Jason B. Hirschhorn, who covers the team as an editor for our sister site Acme Packing Co. Speaking to Jason about the group Derek Rivers Jersey , it becomes clear that while it has some weaknesses against the run its pass defense — led by a ferocious pass rushing unit, creatively utilized by the coaching staff — cannot be underestimated.“Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s creative blitzes have made life difficult for opposing quarterbacks, and he uses them often,” Jason said about the strength of Green Bay’s defense. This approach has helped the Packers register 3.3 sacks per game — tied for third best in the NFL. “Green Bay blitzes on just under 31 percent of their defensive snaps and generates pressure on approximately 29 percent of drop backs.”The attack up front impacts the entire defense, as it allows cornerbacks more leeway in their man-to-man coverage. “[The blitzing] has given receivers little time to separate,” Jason pointed out. “According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the Packers defense has currently allowed the ninth lowest open-receiver percentage (41.4). If Patriots’ receivers don’t win their matchups early, the passing game could fall into disarray.”Of course, one key cog in the Packers’ defensive machine is no longer available: the team traded starting safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix — one of just two players to be on the field for 100% of defensive snaps — to the Washington Redskins at the trade deadline. “The Packers already had trouble at safety prior to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s ouster, so it remains entirely unclear how they plan to address the position,” said Jason about the move.“The early practice reports suggest that veteran cornerback Tramon Williams will shift into centerfield Donald Trump Jersey Black Friday , but others such as Josh Jones and Bashaud Breeland could see time there as well,” he continued. This mixing-and-matching could pose a problem for the Patriots: what to expect is anyone’s guess at this point. However, the challenge Green Bay faces should still be a bigger one as Clinton-Dix’s departure will likely impact communication in the secondary.Whether the Patriots will try to take advantage of the void created by the Clinton-Dix trade he void creatwill be seen — one part of the Packers defense that will be attacked already seems to be clear, though: the run defense. “Stopping the run has presented issues for the Packers most of the season,” said Jason about a Green Bay team that ranks in the 20s in total yardage surrendered on the ground (834) and yards given up per carry (4.4).“At present, the defense ranks 24th against the rush by DVOA and just allowed 114 yards on the ground to Todd Gurley. The unit has struggled against non-elite running backs too, yielding 148 yards to Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida in the game prior,” continued Jason before shifting his attention to the Patriots: “Whether Sony Michel returns from his knee injury becomes a critical question heading into Sunday.”Michel, who missed Monday night’s game against the Bills with a knee injury, is listed as questionable to play. His availability will be big for New England especially considering that one of the NFL’s best run blockers — starting right guard Shaq Mason — will be out because of a calf issue. Establishing a ground game without both could be tough for the Patriots as it would make life easier for what has been an inconsistent pass defense so far this season.
Ted Ginn Jr. DeMario Davis Color Rush Jersey , who has been struggling with knee soreness, on injured reserve.Ginn has played in four games this season, catching 12 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns, but has regularly appeared on New Orleans’ official injury report since early in Week 2.Ginn’s production had largely dipped since Week 2 and he did not have a reception in Week 4 before sitting out a Week 5 triumph over Washington.The move could mean more opportunities for rookie Tre’Quan Smith, whom the Saints selected in the third round of last spring’s draft. Like Ginn, Smith has exceptional speed. New Orleans’ previous game was Smith’s best one yet; he had touchdown catches of 62 and 35 yards.With Ginn removed from the active roster, New Orleans added a player , re-signing offensive tackle Michael Ola.The Saints visit Baltimore on Sunday. The NFL trading deadline line is approaching, specifically on Tuesday, October 30th at 4pm eastern time. The 4-1 New Orleans Saints are on their bye week, so of course it's time to engage in rumors that will almost certainly not happen. Some whispers throughout the league have Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson on the market, and others have suggested that Oakland Raiders corner Gareon Conley might be available. Barring anything unusual, New Orleans probably lack the resources to get a player like Peterson, who is still one of the league's better corners. The Saints have already traded next year's 1st round pick to obtain Marcus Davenport Sheldon Rankins Jersey , and their 2019 3rd round pick in exchange for Teddy Bridgewater.The team currently has picks in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th rounds in next spring's draft. Recent NFL history tells us that rarely is a deal made during the season for a player who makes an impact for a contending team during the year in which he was traded. New Orleans does have some good depth in spots throughout their roster, particularly on the defensive side. Today we have a look at a few names who could attract interest from different teams if the Saints do look to either upgrade a different position or perhaps gain future draft picks. Ted Ginn Jr., WRPhoto by Wesley Hitt/Getty ImagesGinn, who missed last Monday's game against the Redskins with a knee injury Ryan Ramczyk Color Rush Jersey , has 12 catches for 135 yards and two scores so far this year. His totals would have been higher, but quarterback Drew Brees missed the wideout on two long plays when Ginn had broken into the open earlier this season. He did struggle throughout the preseason though, and at times since the season has started, causing him to be singled out by coach Sean Payton on a couple of occasions for poor play. Still, Ginn has been a reliable veteran since joining New Orleans a year ago, and still has his trademark deep speed to threaten a defense. WHY HE COULD BE MOVED:The recent play of Cameron Meredith and rookie Tre'Quan Smith have them each poised to move past Ginn on the depth chart. Ginn has struggled with consistency throughout his career, and the coach's criticisms of his play could lead one to believe that Payton's patience could be wearing thin. Once one of the league's best kick returners , Ginn has failed miserably when tried in that role with the Saints. WHY HE SHOULDN'T BE MOVED:Ginn has the trust of his quarterback, something that should not be overlooked. His 787 receiving yards last year were third on the team, and his 75.7% catch percentage was the highest of his career as a regular receiver. Although Smith and Meredith have played well in recent weeks, both have yet to show that they can produce consistently within the Saints offense. The return on an erratic veteran wideout in his 12th season such as Ginn would probably not be as valuable as his worth in the New Orleans offense could be through the rest of this season.
I had moved the event to Saturday morning , but after minimal success, I decided to bring it back to Friday night — with a slight twist.I liked the Saturday Six-Pack theme, so I decided to just take the six questions and move them to Friday night. Say hello to Friday Night Six-Pack of Steelers Questions and open thread!The rules haven’t changed...Quick rundown of the ground rules.I’ll ask at least four questions strictly related to the Steelers.The rest of the questions could be about anything.Be respectful.Have fun talking about the Black-and-gold.That’s it! With that out of the way, it’s time to get this party started. Hey, don’t act like you’ve never done a little Friday night drinking. Here goes:1. In terms of greatest Ben Roethlisberger (REGULAR SEASON) performances, where does his Week 10 game rank in your mind?2. If the Steelers hadn’t pulled Roethlisberger, how many points do you think they would have scored last night?3. OVER/UNDER number of sacks Bud Dupree ends the season with (he has 4.5 right now): 8.54. Can’t remember if I’ve asked this here before, or just on our podcasts, but I’ll ask anyway — How many wins will it take for the Steelers to claim the following:AFC North Crown:First Round Bye:Home Field Advantage:5. The win vs. the Panthers moves the Steelers’ record to 3-0 in the ‘Color Rush’ jerseys. Do you wish they wore them more, or like how it is a special event once a year?6. What were your thoughts on the Eric Reid ejection? Too much? Or the perfect punishment for the crime?Extra Credit: Better football move — Varsity Blues or The ProgramNo matter what, always remember...HERE WE GO STEELERS!PODCASTS PITTSBURGH (AP) — On the surface Cameron Sutton Jersey , the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ offseason decision to flip outside linebackers Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt looked a little bit of a reach.While Watt was steady and occasionally spectacular as a rookie in 2017 for a team that led the NFL in sacks, Dupree has spent much of his first three years in the NFL searching for consistency to justify the first-round pick the Steelers used on him in 2015.So much for that narrative. Combining for four sacks in five quarters has a way of doing that.Dupree and Watt looked every bit as aggressive as coach Mike Tomlin envisioned during a season-opening tie in Cleveland. Working almost exclusively from the left side, Watt chased down Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor three times. Dupree, now attacking from the blind side against right-handed quarterbacks such as Taylor, dropped him once.“We did a lot of stuff to maximize our potential and opportunities outside and we still had more opportunities to make more sacks we didn’t capitalize on,” Dupree said. “It should have been more than that.”Dupree estimated he and Watt could have had three or four more if not for Taylor’s mobility.Regardless, it marked an auspicious start from a position the Steelers (0-0-1) placed a significant emphasis on heading into 2018 after opting to exercise the fifth-year option on Dupree’s contract.Freed from the pressure of having to play for a new contract this fall, Dupree — who had 15½ sacks during his first three seasons but had issues being a factor in the pass rush on a weekly basis — could instead focus on taking over at a spot that’s been largely unsettled since James Harrison’s prime earlier this decade.Harrison finally moved on after being cut last December and now it’s Dupree’s turn to use his combination of power and speed against opposing left tackles.The player who struggled at times against the run had his job responsibilities whittled down in some ways.Now Dupree’s primary goal is to simply get after the quarterback while Watt can use his eyes — and his preternatural football IQ — to quickly dissect what’s going on.“I’m way more comfortable (on the left),” Watt said. “I feel like I can bend more. I’m a stronger player. I can see the quarterback. I can see his eyes. I know what he’s thinking better. I’m a very instinctual player. It allows me to see and read the play better.”It certainly looked that way as Watt chased Taylor through the muck, hardly looking like someone who missed most of training camp due to hamstring issues.He played 85 of Pittsburgh’s 89 defensive snaps and even managed to block Zane Gonzalez’s potential game-winning 43-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in overtime.“The switch revealed itself and its skillset,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’ll continue to work. We are going to ask those guys to be versatile and to move around. You nail those guys down as young people Bud Dupree Color Rush Jersey , so they can get muscle memory associated with skill development at their positions but as they get older we’ll continually move them around. It provides flexibility for us.”Maybe, but Pittsburgh might not want to drift too far away from what worked against the Browns, though Kansas City (1-0) and second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes will provide a far different test on Sunday when the Chiefs visit Heinz Field.Where Taylor looks to make plays with his legs, the big-armed Mahomes would prefer to fling it.“We just got to let him know we’re there early,” Watt said. “Make him stay in his pocket and make him use his arm strength.”And make Mahomes use it before he’s ready.The Chiefs lit up San Diego for 38 points last week, though Kansas City has long struggled to contain Pittsburgh’s pass rush. Steelers linebackers took down former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith three times in a victory in Kansas City last October, and Harrison produced problems for Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher for years, including drawing a holding penalty that ended up negating a tying 2-point conversion in the divisional round of the 2016 playoffs.Now it’s Dupree’s turn.“He’s a (former) No. 1 pick,” Dupree said. “That’s what you want. I’m going to go against some of the top-notch guys in the league. … that’s what you want, is the best on the best.”A group Dupree is trying to crack even if it’s the precocious Watt that seems to be on the fast track to getting there. Not that Watt wants to draw any sort of comparison between himself and Dupree, or anyone else for that matter.“We’ve both got a lot of great moves , it’s just a matter of getting comfortable,” Watt said. “I don’t think somebody’s got better moves than the other.”The same goes when the discussion turns to Watt and older brother J.J., a four-time All-Pro three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.Mention to the youngest of the three Watt brothers in the NFL that his three sacks in Cleveland equals the best single-game performance by his more accomplished big brother and T.J. Watt just shrugs. He’s not caught up in numbers. He just wants to do what the Steelers are paying him to do: be as disruptive as he can for as long as he can.“I feel like I’m a splash player,” he said. “I can go out there and make the play on any given call.”No matter where he lines up.NOTES: QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow), OG David DeCastro (hand), CB Joe Haden (hamstring), DE Cam Heyward (knee) and DT Tyson Alualu (shoulder) did not practice on Wednesday. Roethlisberger and DeCastro are hopeful they can play on Sunday. … TE Vance McDonald (foot) practiced and is expected to make his season debut against the Chiefs.
That’s where the Denver Broncos sit as they head east to face the New York Jets on Sunday. Yes Brandon Marshall Jersey , there’s that sense for the game, but also for what lies ahead; especially if Denver loses. After New York, in two of the next three games the Broncos host the Los Angeles Rams and are on the road for the Kansas City Chiefs.As Adam Malnati and I talked about on the latest MHR Radio Podcast, if Denver (2-2) gets back on track against the Jets (1-3), it doesn’t guarantee squat, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the alternative. If the Broncos lose, they’re staring down a four-game losing streak, and, in the best case scenario, will win one of six games. Not to compound that ominous sentiment, but Denver’s lack of success on the road doesn’t help. In the last six games played in the East Coast, the Broncos are 1-5. Overall, in the last nine road games they’re 1-8 and 4-13 in the last 17. Buckle up, Broncos Country.Offensive RankingsDenver: Thirteenth in overall offense (383.3 yards), third in rushing (148.3), 19th in passing (235.0) and 25th in points (21.0).New York Jets: Twenty-ninth in overall offense (289.3 yards), tied for 25th in rushing (88.0), 27th in passing (201.3) and 21st in points (22.3).Defense RankingsDenver: Seventeenth in overall defense (366.8 yards), eighth in rushing (, 20th in passing (273.0) and 17th in points (24.3).New York Jets: Thirteenth in overall defense (355.5 yards), 16th in rushing (108.3), 14th in passing (247.3) and 13th in points (22.3).Here are our keys to the game. Run. The. Damn. Ball If you read MHR after the loss to the Chiefs, it seemed all of our stories hammered Bill Musgrave for the lack of running game, play calling and whom he had on the field in key situations. There’s a reason for that — the Broncos offensive coordinator played a major role in their loss. For the life of me, over two days later, I still can’t wrap my head around calling 22 run plays and rookie Royce Freeman gets only eight. Eight freaking carries for a guy Kansas City still hasn’t tackled. And he wasn’t on the field in the most crucial drive of the game midway through the fourth quarter. That has to change on Sunday. As the stats show, it’s what Denver does well and the Jets can’t stop. Run the damn ball, and get Freeman 15-20 carries. — Ian St. Clair Take advantage of matchups Sign up for FanPulse, our weekly Broncos survey.When the Broncos do pass, Keenum needs to find crossers over the middle of the field. The Jets are an elite pass defense on the boundaries but their backers are exploitable in coverage. I talk about this in GIF Horse, but the Jacksonville Jaguars did this masterfully. — Just_JoRoPaging Von Miller The Broncos need a bounce back game , and their star linebacker is taking a little flack from fans right now. Miller is supposed to be a game changer, but the last two games have seen him vanish a little. With a rookie quarterback under center for the Jets, this seems like the type of game that Miller could tar over. With the lack of turnovers created by the defense, pressure on the QB could lead to a few picks, and strip sacks. Miller needs to be a true game wrecker, and the defense needs to grab some turnovers. — Adam MalnatiPete Trifecta First: Cut Devonte Booker. Any playing time he has is stolen playing time from Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, who I have watched pass block plenty well.Second: Feast on a rookie QB. Listen to Chris Harris Jr and stay aggressive. Don’t give up the easy plays.Third: Start Chad Kelly. Guess what? Last I checked, he hits receivers/tight ends running free down the sideline in stride for touchdowns. He doesn’t overthrow them by a country mile. — Pete Baron Utilize Courtland Sutton One pleasant surprise we got from Monday Night’s loss to the Chiefs was the rookie receiver. He showed us the unique ability to maintain focus on passes, even when wearing defenders as a blanket. This isn’t new to those who have been watching him since training camp, but it is something that should continue. He’s big and strong, and knows how to make plays. I feel like whomever is throwing to him just has to get the ball within his radius and you will get the effort it takes to make the catch. I look for the second- and third-string players to be more impactful this week. There’s too much talent not to take advantage of it. — Casey Barrett Calm the f@$k down! This is for players, coaches and fans. Focus on playing mistake-free football. No hook-and-ladders, no end-arounds (well, OK, one of those with Emmanuel Sanders scoring a touchdown is fine), no putting Shaquil Barrett in coverage downfield. Play aggressive pass-rush defense with the Orange Rush and utilize the playmakers on offense. I know it’s trendy in here to call for more Freeman, and I’m not against that, but mostly I would do anything that takes advantage of Andy Janovich’s talent because he’s the true hero in that rush attack and apparently is damn good catching 32-yard passes too. — Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann The MHR Radio Podcast is now on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher and TuneIn. Please subscribe to the one that fits your fancy, and also rate and review what you hear.What are your keys to victory for the Broncos? John Elway is notorious for having no Plan B. When the opportunity arose to sign Peyton Manning, Elway knew he must go all-in. When the team was embarrassed in Super Bowl XLVIII, he knew he needed to fix his defense. When the team surrendered in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs, he knew he needed a new head coach. All of those decisions led to the Denver Broncos winning Super Bowl 50. As Adam Malnati and I said on the latest MHR Radio Podcast, since Elway screamed, “This one’s for Pat,” it has never been more apparent that Elway has no Plan B that will put this team back on the right course. Given the last three seasons, he has no Plan A either.Fans are right to question whether the Broncos legend has any clue what he’s doing as the current president of football operations and general manager. That is especially true at quarterback, where he’s made repeated epic failures since Manning retired. In that same time period, after Manning Adam Gotsis Color Rush Jersey , not a single free-agent signing by Elway has paid off. Up until this most recent draft class, Elway has amassed an impressive collection of player busts — not of the statue variety. Elway does share some of the credit for this year’s stellar 2018 draft class with a former head coach who took a role in the front office earlier this year. Speaking of the most recent draft, this was the class to get your franchise quarterback. But there was allegedly only one who caught Elway’s eye: Sam Darnold. That highlights something that doesn’t wash. As a player, Elway never left anything to chance. He made the impossible happen no matter the circumstances. But Elway hasn’t followed that approach with the quarterback position post-Manning. Other than the move he made to acquire Paxton Lynch, Elway has followed a sit-back-and-relax strategy. We watched the New York Jets jump over Elway and the Broncos to get the quarterback Elway was fond of. There were no bold moves. He didn’t do what the franchise needed by acquiring a rookie quarterback who could lead the team into the future. Instead, he pinned his hopes on another trash quarterback who will likely have a short-lived role with the team. Then there’s Elway’s decision to not only hire Vance Joseph, but bring him back for this season. And what about the decision to jettison Wade Phillips in favor of Joe Woods?It would have been easier to list the things Elway has done well since Manning retired. Bringing Gary Kubiak to the front office is about the only thing I can think of, and I’m not sure that was Elway’s decision. There is no doubt the Broncos need to fire Joseph and get his incompetence as far away from the franchise as possible. Might as well give Woods the axe as well. As for who replaces Joseph, go with Tom McMahon, who has coordinated the only functional unit for Denver since training camp. Allow McMahon to do for the Broncos what he’s done for the special teams. Once the season is over, go all-in on hiring Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo as the next head coach. That’s only the start — Denver needs to contemplate moving on from Elway. There has been talk about moving Kubiak back down to the field to replace Joseph. However, Joseph is merely a symptom of the larger affliction. Joseph didn’t hire himself, bring him back for a second season or make all of these horrible personnel decisions. That rests with Elway. The other aspect to consider in all of this: Will a new head coach, who wants the ability to make personnel/roster decisions, be able to coexist with Elway? There was a time not that long ago where this rank failure would be unacceptable. Moves would be made to correct these constant embarrassments. Since Manning retired, Elway has been given the benefit of the doubt time and time again. That tends to happen when your legendary resume includes a Super Bowl win and playing in two Super Bowls in three seasons — not to mention a Hall-of-Fame playing career. But in a “what have you done for me lately league,” Elway couldn’t lead the Broncos in the right direction with a compass, map and tour guide to assist him. This all reminds me of the “lifetime contract” Mike Shanahan had in Denver. Pat Bowlen still made the tough but necessary decision to move on from the coach who brought the first two Super Bowl wins to his franchise. That’s the bigger issue right now: Mr. B is no longer there to make the tough decisions. There is no leadership at the top. For all intents and purposes, the Broncos are a headless horseman. If Bowlen were around, he would know the move that needs to be made, and he would make it no matter how tough or unpopular it may be. If it needed to happen, he would move on from Elway. The MHR Radio Podcast is now on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Acast, Stitcher, TuneIn and a few other podcast hosts. Please subscribe to the one that fits your fancy, and also rate and review what you hear.
I used to say this about the last year of the [Jeff] Fisher Rams. They’re not bad. Bad is when you try to do something and you fail. Like Aqib Talib Jersey Black Friday , you try to do this, and you’re not fast enough. You’re not strong enough. You’re not good enough. They’re not even trying the things that you’re supposed to fail at. They’re just doing other stuff, and it’s all wrong.”4:48: “I don’t see this as being a Chargers problem. And I don’t see this as being an LA problem.”7:32: “You know who wasn’t a season ticket holder in ‘86? Guys who weren’t alive in ‘86. And that’s who the NFL is trying to bring in.”11:08: “Damn...yeah , I just don’t get it. I don’t know how you even sell this to the fans. How do you sell it to that fan base? There’s nothing to get excited about.”13:55: “You can’t overlook these guys.”16:41: “I’m looking at health. That’s what I think I’m looking at with this team. The Rams are just too talented.”20:10: “This is the kind of game not for like a Todd Gurley. This is the kind of game for one guy you mentioned: Josh Reynolds. And I’ll throw another guy out there: Troy Hill.”21:40: It’s Gracie Toy Time!!!23:52: “You’re not really sweating anybody, are you?”27:48: “How dare you!”30:59: A very serious preview of Michigan-Michigan St. with lots of analysis That’s why it matters.The Los Angeles Rams beat the Green Bay Packers at home, 29-27 Brandin Cooks Color Rush Jersey , in a matchup of two postseason-caliber teams in a postseason-caliber game giving us a sense of postseason-caliber football.That’s why it matters.The offense struggled mightily early with the playcalling, offensive line and wide receivers struggling to get into the game. It improved mightily in the second half giving QB Jared Goff an opportunity to provide some big plays.That’s why it matters.The defense was run over early opening a window for QB Aaron Rodgers to worry Rams fans about an eventual game-long blowout. Instead, the defense settled in early even with their backs against the wall without any offensive support and pushed the offense back into the game.That’s why it matters.And when the Packers took the lead with less than nine minutes remaining Brandon Allen Jersey , it meant the Rams had to find a way to deal with a team who has been “there” before. Who has been tested in ways these Rams barely have. To find a way to win.They did.That’s why it matters.
The Saints quarterback starts Leighton Vander Esch Jersey working with the team’s new offensive toy Thursday when the star receiver practices for the first time.“Dez has been a really good player in this league for a long time,” Brees told reporters Wednesday, via video released Womens Jaylon Smith Jersey by the team. “There is certainly a skill set that he has that is going to be beneficial. I look forward to getting to work with him. I look forward to building a rapport with him. I look forward to getting him involved in this offense and for him just to become a complement to all the guys we already have. I think he’ll see that, too, when he gets here. I’m sure he’s been watching from afar. It’s just how he’ll integrate into this offense. I think he’ll be a great addition.”The question is: How quickly can Bryant integrate into the offense? Bryant has spent his career playing in Jason Garrett’s offense in Dallas. Signing in the middle of the season, Bryant has days, not weeks or months, to learn enough of the playbook and get enough timing down with Brees to contribute.“It’s not like you just hand him the playbook and expect him to learn it overnight,” Brees said. “It’s one of those things that’s a process. I think for any new guy coming in, especially a skill player, it’s new verbiage. I don’t know how much carryover there will be from what he had in Dallas. Probably not a lot. I think that’s a process, but you bring him along, and you want to put him in positions to succeed, right? You want to take the stuff that he’s really good at, and then integrate him into the offense accordingly. We’ll have a plan for that as we go along.”Bryant has not had a 1,000-yard season since 2014, and he has gone 23 games without a 100-yard game. With a cast of playmakers, the Saints don’t need him to accomplish either. That’s why Brees expects Bryant to fit right in with his new team and his new teammates despite Bryant’s reputation of being a “big personality.”“I think this locker room is one of the best locker rooms I’ve ever been a part of as far as the type of character and type of leadership and that kind of thing,” Brees said. “If you talk to free agents and guys who have come here over the last couple of offseasons, I think they would be the first ones to tell you that that has a lot to do with the reason why we are successful, and we’ve been able to build a culture that we have is because of the type of guys we bring in here.“Listen, there’s all kinds of different personalities when it comes to exactly that, just personality or competitive nature or this guy’s a jokester; this guy’s that; this guy’s that. Everybody when it’s time to work Womens Deonte Thompson Jersey , it’s time to work; when it’s time to have fun, it’s time to have fun. I think everyone complements one another. I think we all want to win, so at the end of the day, if we can bring somebody in here who can help us win, then that’s great.”The Saints began talking about Bryant after the Cowboys released him in April, Brees said. But they did not have a need for him until this week.Jason Garrett: No dramatic personnel changes to shake up the offense After the loss to the Seahawks, the NFL schedule rolls on. The Cowboys have a Sunday date with the Lions, and since it’s Wednesday, Jason Garrett met with the media before the first practice of the week. (All answers from Garrett are paraphrased and not actual quotes).With the struggling offense, will there be any personnel changes?No dramatic changes. We just got to get back and get locked in, we need to move the ball, be efficient and productive. There were some good things in that game to build on, but we have to be more productive. We’ll look at the coaching staff, the execution of the players, what we’re asking them to do.When does it become the point you look at personnel changes?We are always evaluating that. Evaluating how we’re using the personnel, are we maximizing their strengths, minimize the weaknesses, it’s an on-going process.How do you get more downfield throws to get more explosive plays?You just do it. So much is predicated on what you want to do and what the defense gives you. We present opportunities vertically, we need to take advantage of them when they are available, if not then you take the intermediate or underneath option to move chains. Trust is critical for all parts of team, all 11 men must do the job. Hopefully over time you build that trust, demonstrate accountability, all over the football team.Have you seen many plays where Dak has a clean pocket and and open guy but just missed it?Sure , there have been examples where he didn’t see a guy, or something happens in protection. You evaluate it play by play, I haven’t seen an overarching problem, it’s something goes wrong here on this play, something else on that play. Hopefully we canexecute better.With Sean Lee out for a bit, talk about Jaylon Smith.He’s done a nice job, he’s improved dramatically. First hurdle was getting healthy, he played last year but wasn’t 100%. He’s gotten better physically, he learns from experience, he goes about it right way. He was healthy and had a good offseason. He’s played a lot of snaps and is certainly more capable now. Smart guy that goes about it the right way.Some teams throw 40-50 times a game. Is it possible to run the ball that much in a game?Balance is a goal, but running the ball helps linemen, QB’s get more favorable looks, and it helps the defense. Running the ball is a big part of what we do, but you have to balance other way, too. We have to make plays in the passing game.What’s the latest update on Travis Frederick?I think he is doing better, but the best person to ask would be him. He is around the team every day, he hasn’t practiced or done a walk-through. He looks better. He would need to pass some strength threshold in the weight room first (before coming back), best to ask him. He is moving around better, he’s contributing.Will Maliek Collins practice today?If he does it would be limited, I would expect him to work on the side.Deonte Thompson has added spark on kick returns.He’s done a nice job on kick returns. He’s a vet guy, he has a good feel for it, has speed and vision. Isn’t afraid to run it up in there.Would you like to get Tavon Austin more involved offensively?Sure, he’s been a big part of what we’ve done. We anticipated being able to move him around and put in different spots ,Will Jeff Heath practice today?Yes.Can you feel confident with Sean Lee missing, given the previous stats about the defense when he is out?Jaylon is much further along in his experience. We feel good about Vander Esch’s development. We like the LB corps. Damien Wilson is a better player than before, and Joe Thomas. But mainly we feel good about Jaylon and Leighton. Sean is a big-time player, he’ll be engaged. He’s a great football player good physically, instincts are rare, and he is a great leader, emotional leader. He make calls and communicates. He’s a vet, and is great about teaching Jaylon and Leighton, he helps themWill Brice Butler play this week?Haven’t made any determination, he had a good week, hopefully he has another this week.Surgery for Datone Jones’ hamstring?I understand he will need surgery but that’s not for sure, whatever the case he won’t be back anytime soon that’s why we put him on IR.With LVE missing time in camp, are you surprised at his play this early?A big part of his eval was his smarts, instincts, we saw that at the outset, even before he missed time. He remained engaged when he was out, he’s wants to know the calls, run the plays mentally, when out he stayed engaged.
Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse — a survey of fans across the NFL Youth Aaron Donald Jersey , powered by SurveyMonkey. Each week, we send 32 polls to 100+ plugged in fans from each team. Rams fans, sign up HERE to join FanPulse.Week 1 FanPulseWeek 2 FanPulseHeading into Week 1 of the regular season, there were two NFL teams whose fan base expressed 100% confidence in the trajectory of the team: the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. The Saints lost that weekend to the Tampa Buccaneers and escaped with a three-point win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 2.Their fan confidence now? 58%.The Rams on the other hand put up a 33-13 Week 1 win over the Oakland Raiders followed by a dominant 34-0 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2.Rams fans confidence now? 100%.Yes for the last two weeks, Rams fans have been the only fan base unanimous in their confidence level for their team.Philadelphia Eagles fans? 93%. Kansas City Chiefs fans? 96%.Even Jacksonville Jaguars fans have a sliver of doubt at 99%.Yes White Marcus Peters Jersey , this is about the performance of the team and the headline-making offseason. But it’s also about a media climate that pumped expectations as high as possible.Ride the ride, Rams fans.Could Cincinnati Bengals DT Geno Atkins’ new deal affect the Los Angeles Rams’ negotiations with DL Aaron Donald? DT Geno Atkins has re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals on a four-year deal for $65.3 over the course of the deal.Perhaps most interesting is the breakdown:What’s relevant here for Los Angeles Rams fans, obviously, is the ongoing contractual negotiations with DL Aaron Donald. What’s different is two-fold. For one, this is Atkins’ second contract extension while Donald is negotiating his first. Secondly Youth Todd Gurley II Jersey , Atkins turned 30-years old in March; two months later, Donald turned 27.So it’s not going to be in line with what will be required to keep Donald, but it is worth looking at. One thing of note is how frontloaded it is. The contract is at about $19m per year in the first two years and just less than $14m for the final two years. That makes sense given Atkins’ age, but (a) Donald might not be as interested in a frontloaded deal as long as it isn’t easy for the Rams to get out of it after the first three years and (b) recent deals to RB Todd Gurley and WR Brandin Cook suggest the Rams’ modus operandi might not be as rigid.Still, it’s the second major deal in two days after the New York Giants inked WR Odell Beckham Brandin Cooks Jersey , Jr., to a major contract extension leaving Rams fans to wonder when we’ll get to celebrate a contract extension for a superstar of our own...