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  1. Following an injury on Sunday that forced him to exit against the Dolphins Womens Customized Tennessee Titans Jerseys , Mariota sat out Monday and Tuesday. He was a full participant in Wednesday’s session, then a limited participant on Thursday. Vrabel sounded confident on Wednesday, but clearly some sort of setback has taken place here. Mariota didn’t throw in the open portion of practice today. Now Vrabel says that both Blaine Gabbert and Mariota could play on Sunday. “We are evaluating. We anticipate both of those guys playing in the game,” Vrabel told the media on Friday. “We are going to have to do a lot of things to win this football game, and I would anticipate both of those guys playing at some point and time.”So Mariota is clearly close enough to not be ruled out , but he’s far enough away to where Vrabel can confidently say that Gabbert is going to get some run on Sunday. Maybe his quote came out wrong, but it sure sounds like he’s telling us that the Titans plan on using some sort of two quarterbacks system against the Texans. Or maybe he’s just telling us Mariota isn’t going to play, but he doesn’t want to tip his hands to the Texans yet. Without Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin for at least this week, it may not be the worst idea to shut Mariota down for another week to ensure that no further damage occurs.Bill Barnwell ranks the Titans offense 14th in the NFL Bill Barnwell of ESPN ranked all of the offenses in the NFL. Before you get all fired up about this, make sure you read his criteria. It is based off of skill talent Tennessee Titans T-Shirt , not including the quarterback, and more heavily weighted towards the receiver position. That is why it is almost acceptable to have the Browns ranked one spot higher than the Titans. Cleveland has a pretty impressive wide receiver group with the addition of Jarvis Landry to Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman. Sure, there are a lot of questions there, but man is the ceiling high for them.Anyway, here is what Barnwell had to say about the Titans (with a GOAT video game reference):I will leave this with what I say about every ranking like this that comes out....I cannot wait to see where the Titans are on this list next year. I guarantee you they will be in the top 10 because Davis is going to establish himself as a #1 receiver Tennessee Titans Hats , and that is going to be really fun to watch.
  2. Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice has the transcript:I’d be a little surprised if Wentz plays in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If he wasn’t ready to play against the Falcons in Week 1 Authentic Darren Sproles Jersey , is he really going to be ready a mere 10 days later? I mean, maybe, I don’t know. But one would think the Eagles feel like they can beat that Ryan Fitzpatrick-led team with Nick Foles starting under center anyway.Week 3 seems to make more sense to me. That’s the date Peter King originally threw out there in late August, and he probably heard something to make him say that. The Eagles might not necessarily need Wentz to beat the Colts ... but hey, who knows, maybe they will. And if he IS cleared by that point, he should absolutely be playing.In any case, this reporting from Mortensen is more optimistic than what Ian Rapoport recently had to say about Wentz possibly being out until October. The hope is that Wentz won’t have to miss any more time than he reasonably has to. We know Nick Foles is capable of filling in for him, yes, but we also know Foles has his limitations at times (see the Falcons game the other night). And so the Wentz Watch continues....UPDATE: Mort also sent out this tweet on Sunday morning.SECOND UPDATE: Sounds like Wentz’s return won’t come in Week 2, as expected.Eagles News: It’s time for Philadelphia’s defense to step up Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...Eagles’ defense must be better for team to have success - NBCSPIt’s time for this Eagles’ defense to be great. It’s time for this defense to carry the football team. When you look at the Eagles’ first month, the offense’s struggles are understandable, to a great extent. Every receiver other than Nelson Agholor and every running back other than Wendell Smallwood has been hurt. There was a quarterback change two weeks into the season. The offensive line is injured and struggling. There were two very significant coaching changes.Defense? No built-in excuses. The Eagles have been largely healthy on the defensive side of the ball, although they’ll miss Derek Barnett Sunday. They have everybody other than Patrick Robinson, Vinny Curry and Beau Allen back from last year’s Super Bowl unit. With a couple big-time additions. Same players, same scheme, same coaches.Report: Dalvin Cook not expected to play in Eagles vs. Vikings game - BGNVikings running back Dalvin Cook is NOT expected to play in Minnesota’s Week 5 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to a report from NFL insider Ian Rapoport. “It would take an impressive turnaround for him to be on the field” is how RapSheet described the situation.Vikings Talk - Iggles BlitzLast week Avonte Maddox made his NFL debut at safety. He could see even more work there this week. That’s tough against anyone, but especially against one of the best WR duos in the league. The Eagles love Maddox so that’s the reason they’re willing to get him on the field in a new position. He’s got the skill set to play there. He’s also got the right mindset. Maddox is tough and ultra-competitive. Challenge him and it will bring out the best in him.NFL evaluators make picks on Week 5’s best games - ESPN In$iderInsiders pick: PHI (2 out of 3). This rematch of the NFC Championship Game arrives with neither team playing at a high level consistently and injuries affecting both. ”I think Minnesota is in some disarray,” an insider said. “They don’t have an offensive line that is very good. Some of the stuff they do on defense is good because they are talented, but when you play against Philly and an Andy Reid-type offense, they will have options. Philly is getting guys back with Alshon [Jeffery] playing. They have the tight ends.” Both teams could simply be finding their way. ”Minnesota has looked lackadaisical, which is the exact opposite of what we expect from a Mike Zimmer team,” an insider said. “His teams are usually the hardest, toughest -- they mug the s--- out of you. It is almost like Youth Jason Kelce Jersey , when are they going to turn the page and take off? I’ll lean Philly at home by less than a touchdown.”Big Question: Can The Eagles Protect Carson Wentz? - PE.comFran Duffy: They absolutely can, but they have to clean some things up. First, the entire offense has to get into more third-and-manageable situations. Facing third-and-10 is not ideal, especially against this defense, and when the other team can pin its ears back and go, it makes it harder to protect. A couple of the sacks the last couple of weeks were just bad luck, with the defense making a great blitz call off play-action where Carson had no chance to avoid the rush. And then there were some busts in protection, which comes down to execution across the board. These are fixable issues that I have confidence in them being able to correct.NFL Week 5: Las Vegas SuperContest expert picks and predictions - SportsLineUsing the Las Vegas SuperContest lines for Week 5, we can tell you White loves the Eagles (-3) at home against the Minnesota Vikings. ”The Eagles stomped the Vikings last year with their backup QB when the stakes couldn’t be any higher,” White said. “Now that Carson Wentz has a couple starts under his belt, I like their chances to do it again. The Vikings defense has been a shell of its former self, ranking 25th in DVOA and 29th in net yards per attempt. The Eagles also don’t have to respect a run offense that’s averaging 3.5 yards per carry and has the worst DVOA in the league. The Eagles D-line should feast against a Vikings O-line that’s had major issues to date, and that’s the difference in this matchup.”The Gift of Chiefs Vs. Jaguars, Baker Vs. Ravens on Safety Appreciation Week, the Growing Regret of Passing on Josh Rosen - The MMQBA month into the season, there are multiple teams in dire straits due to injuries and/or ineffectiveness at safety—Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Kansas City among them. Dallas has been in the same boat whenever Jeff Heath has been forced out of the lineup, and the early signs are bad for the Eagles after losing Rodney McLeod (if you can’t close out the Titans with a two-touchdown lead, there aren’t many teams you can close out).Vikings short on defensive ends heading into Philadelphia - Daily NorsemanGoing into their game in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings are dealing with a couple of injury issues. Some of those issues have left them short at a pretty important position, and it will be interesting to see how they handle it. Tashawn Bower (ankle) and Everson Griffen (personal issues) are both going to miss Sunday’s game for the Vikings, which means that they only have two defensive ends on the roster healthy enough to play on Sunday: Danielle Hunter and Stephen Weatherly. Weatherly has started the past two games in Griffen’s absence, and Hunter has had a strong start to the season. The rest of the defensive end depth chart, however , is on the shelf in some way. The Vikings had signed Jonathan Wynn to the practice squad earlier this week, but as of Saturday night had not made a move to place him on the main roster.Eagles All-22: To blitz or not to blitz — a look at Jim Schwartz’s pressure packages - The AthleticThe Eagles’ front four has been one of the lone bright spots of the 2018 defense to date. However, no team can solely rely on front-four pressure and the Eagles’ defensive coaches and players have a lot of work to do to clean up the back end if they continue to utilize these blitz packages. It will be interesting to see the adjustments on Sunday. The Vikings will surely be a tough test with their outside threats at wide receiver. It’s worth noting, according to the ESPN Matchup show, Kirk Cousins was the No. 1 quarterback vs. the blitz in 2017.32 NFL Observations, Week 4 - PFFPhiladelphia Eagles: The Eagles have targeted their tight ends in the passing game 68 times so far this year, which is the most ever recorded by a team in the first quarter of a season.NFL Quarter-Season Power Rankings: The Rams Are Still the Best Team in Football - The Ringer6. Philadelphia Eagles (2-2). I wrote about the Eagles’ early-season struggles earlier this week. The defending Super Bowl champions deserve to be this high in the rankings because they still boast one of the most absurdly talented rosters in football. But the cracks in the facade are there. Small steps back are keeping this team from returning to the wrecking-ball level it reached in 2017. The offense has stalled, although there have been signs of improvement with Carson Wentz back in place as the starter. The defense misses free safety Rodney McLeod, who was placed on IR with an ankle injury. Neither of Philly’s units is clicking right now, but it’s only the quarter mark. There’s still plenty of reason to have faith in these Eagles moving forward.UCLA Bruins Lose Hard Fought Game to the Washington Huskies, 31-24 - Bruins NationWell, now we must make that 4-24 for Chip Kelly as the UCLA Bruins fall to 0-5 for the first time since 1943. 1943 people, I’m not even going to go into what the world was like in 1943, but I can tell you this, they played with leather helmets in 1943.Uhh, what is going on with UCLA’s recruiting under Chip Kelly? - SB NationPerusing the national recruiting rankings this week, a major team jumped out to me: UCLA. The Bruins are 84th. The Bruins have eight commits, and no four- or five-stars. The only Power 5 teams rated below UCLA are Utah, Kansas State, and Kansas. That’s bad company as far as recruiting goes, especially because UCLA typically signs more four- and five-star players than those three programs combined. West Coast teams typically add more players to their classes later in the season than teams in the Midwest and East regions. For example, eight Pac-12 teams have fewer than 15 commitments as of this writing, while only one team in the SEC does. But by any measure, this is a bad start....Social Media Information:BGN Facebook Page: Click here to like our pageBGN Twitter: Follow @BleedingGreenBGN Manager: Brandon Lee Gowton: Follow @BrandonGowtonBGN Radio Twitter: Follow @BGN_Radio
  3. Countdown To Kickoff: Texans v. 49ers It’s Saturday morning , and I’m finally starting to crawl out of my “read a lot of fiction and write crappy short stories and think about the images I see and the connection of images and the way trees scrape against my bedroom wall like some Camera Obscura” mood. So tonight, I may make beans, read the 2018 FOA D.J. Reader Jersey , rub the sleep from this summer hibernation from my eyes, cannonball into the 2018 season, and then catch the game recorded. But you are a real Texans’ fan Authentic Christian Covington Jersey , a better one than I am. You will be watching tonight’s game between the Texans and 49ers LIVE, all while deliberating about the Texans’ seventh wide receiver spot. The comments section below is yours to discuss anything and everything Texans before kickoff.Our first thread will go LIVE at 6:45 p.m. CDT. Until then, discuss whatever below.Houston Texans News: June 25 Youth Tyrann Mathieu Jersey , 2018 Houston Texans NewsArian Foster, Andre Johnson team up for youth football camp - Houston ChronicleThe two Texans legends are teaming up again.Texans’ Whitney Mercilus on early football days: ‘I was a toothpick’ - Houston ChronicleMercilus reflects back on his career.NFL NewsNFL official Gene Steratore retires after 15 years - NFL.comOne of the NFL’s top officials says goodbye.Ex-Charger Boston: Safety market is ‘kinda rough’ - NFL.comWhat does the former Panther and Charger have to say about the safety free agency market?Manning: Brees ‘deserves’ all-time passing record - NFL.comGame respect game.Houston & Collegiate SportsRockets 2018 season recap: James Harden put in his finest work yet - The Dream ShakeWill his finest work nab him an MVP award tonight?Game Recap: Second Inning Astros Avalanche Buries Royals, 11-3 - Crawfish BoxesAstros get 2 of 3 from the Royals.Houston Dynamo dropped on the road by Sporting Kansas City despite hot start - Dynamo TheoryStrong start not enough for the Dynamo.
  4. As the Pittsburgh Steelers resume their September schedule on Sunday Womens Jesse James Jersey , facing the Atlanta Falcons at Heinz Field, there’s a surge of Steelers news — so it was time to get back on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-gold.Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Steelers Preview. On this show Jeff Hartman and Bryan Anthony Davis break down all things Steelers leading up to this week’s game!Check out the rundown of the show:News and NotesInjuriesKey MatchupsFantasy PlayersWeek 5predictionsand MUCH MORE!Jeff Hartman, editor of BTSC, and Bryan Anthony Davis walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-gold.If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!If you missed the live show Authentic Jon Bostic Jersey , be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:Apple Users: CLICK HEREAndroid Users: CLICK HEREIf you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 53-man roster 4.0 The Pittsburgh Steelers have closed the curtain on their preseason performance, and it’s time to take a look at our final prediction on who will make the team’s 53-man roster. For those who follow the website closely, this fourth and final prediction will still show changes made at positions. If you see a player’s name crossed out, it means they were on a previous prediction and were replaced/cut. Often, a new player could replace another player. This is the fourth of four predictions , one per week, and you can feel free to let us know what you think about this, and all of our predictions, in the comment section below!53-man Roster Prediction 4.0Quarterbacks (3/53)Ben RoethlisbergerLandry JonesJoshua DobbsMason RudolphTight Ends (6/53)Jesse JamesVance McDonaldXavier GrimbleRunning Backs / Fullbacks (10/53)Le’Veon BellJames ConnerJaylen SamuelsFitzgerald ToussaintRoosevelt NixWide Receivers (15/53)Antonio BrownJuJu Smith-SchusterJames WashingtonDarrius Heyward-BeyDamoun PattersonMarcus TuckerJustin HunterOffensive Line (23/53)Alejandro VillanuevaRamon FosterMaurkice PounceyDavid DeCastroMarcus GilbertB.J. FinneyChukwuma OkoraforMatt FeilerSpecialists (27/53)Chris BoswellCameron KanadayJordan BerryMatt WileRyan Switzer (KR/PR/WR)Cornerbacks (33/53)Joe HadenArtie BurnsMike HiltonCameron SuttonBrian AllenDeshaun PhillipsCoty SensabaughOutside Linebackers (38/53)Bud DupreeT.J. WattAnthony ChickilloKeion AdamsOlasunkanmi AdeniyiInside Linebackers (43/53)Vince WilliamsJon BosticMatthew ThomasL.J. FortTyler MatakevichSafeties (47/53)Sean DavisMorgan BurnettTerrell EdmundsMarcus AllenNat BerheDefensive Line (53/53)Cameron HeywardStephon TuittJavon HargraveTyson AlualuL.T. WaltonDaniel McCullersJoshua Frazier
  5. Mike Vrabel said after practice today that he doesn’t anticipate having to limit Marcus Mariota going forward. We might finally get to see the offense Matt LaFleur wants to run because it appears that Jack Conklin will be ready to play this week:OH BABY.The news is also good on Adoree Jackson. While he is still in the concussion protocol Womens Jurrell Casey Jersey , he was able to practice today. Jackson still has to be cleared by the independent doctor, but it sounds like he could be ready to return in full as early as tomorrow.Dennis Kelly missed practice again today as he is still recovering from the illness that had him hospitalized before the Texans game. Rishard Matthews wasn’t at practice today. He was excused for personal reasons. Ryan Succop missed practice today with knee tendinitis, but it doesn’t sound like he is in jeopardy of missing any game action:The Titans were decimated by injuries in their first three games and went 2-1. I cannot wait to see what this team can do when it is finally healthy!NFL Power Rankings 2018: Week 1 Edition It is Tuesday of week 1. Do you know what that means? Yep , you guessed it, power rankings. This year I am going to do power rankings as well as compile where the Titans rank in the various rankings around the league because I know all of you are just dying to know where I rank the different teams. My plan is to keep the rankings each week in a spreadsheet- for a couple of reasons. The first is because it is a whole lot easier to keep track of that way. The second is that I am interested to look back at the end of the season and see how much they change from week 1 to week 17.Ranking teams before we actually see them play is pretty dumb, so that is why the Eagles have to start out at #1. They are the reigning champions and should get to hold the spot until it is proven they don’t deserve it.So without further adieu Womens Quinton Spain Jersey , here are my 2018 NFL week 1 power rankings:Philadelphia EaglesLos Angeles RamsMinnesota VikingsNew England PatriotsNew Orleans SaintsPittsburgh SteelersGreen Bay PackersAtlanta FalconsLos Angeles ChargersTennessee Titans (yes, I’m a homer)Jacksonville JaguarsCarolina PanthersKansas City ChiefsChicago BearsHouston TexansSan Francisco 49ersCincinnati BengalsNew York GiantsBaltimore RavensDetroit LionsDenver BroncosCleveland BrownsDallas CowboysIndianapolis ColtsSeattle SeahawksWashington RedskinsArizona CardinalsNew York JetsTampa Bay BuccaneersOakland RaidersMiami DolphinsBuffalo BillsWhere do the Titans rank around the web? SB Nation: 15CBS Pete Prisco: 16Bleeding Green Nation: 20(!?!?)
  6. Through the first quarter of the 2018 NFL season Youth Chris Long Jersey , the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles’ defense has had its share of dizzying highs and terrifying lows. Going through each position group, let’s grade how they performed and how they looking moving forward as we transition to the second quarter of the season.DEFENSIVE LINE: AThis is easy. 3rd in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against the run, 2nd in average yards per carry (3.36), and a top unit at generating pressures on enemy quarterbacks, this unit has been playing lights out. Offenses know they have to pass to beat this defense and they have to do it quickly. There hasn’t been a game yet where the opposing quarterback held onto the ball for an average longer than 2.40 seconds. For context; that’s really fast.What makes them so special is the hoops offenses have to jump through just to give their quarterback time to throw.They’ve been let down by the play behind them, particularly by the secondary Cheap Mike Wallace Jersey , but it’s hard to finding anything legitimate to gripe about from the front four. Fletcher Cox leads the charge for this unit and is having a dynamite year; he’s already collected 3 sacks while amassing 21 pressures (3rd for interior linemen). He’s doing all this despite the force of his gravitational pull.Eagles vs. Giants Inactives: Lane Johnson is officially ACTIVE The Philadelphia Eagles officially announced the inactives list for their Week 6 game against the New York Giants.The great news for Philly is that Lane Johnson is ACTIVE despite being added to the injury report earlier on Thursday. It was said that Johnson was going to have an up-hill battle to play but he’s going to tough it out. If Johnson has to leave the game early, it’ll be Halapoulivaati Vaitai filling at right tackle. If Jason Peters then also has to leave the game early, it could be Isaac Seumalo who shifts out to tackle with Stefen Wisniewski coming back in to play left guard.The following players have been ruled OUT: Darren Sproles, Corey Graham, Haloti Ngata, Nathan Gerry Jason Peters Jersey , D.J. Alexander, Matt Pryor, and Jordan Mailata.Sproles, Graham, Ngata, Gerry Cheap Derek Barnett Jersey , and D.J. Alexander were all ruled out on Wednesday. They’re all injured. Corey Clement (who is playing for the first time since Week 3), Wendell Smallwood, and Josh Adams will split touches at running back with Sproles out and Jay Ajayi done for the season. Clement and Smallwood figure to share the bulk of the workload. Graham’s absence means the Eagles will have just Malcolm Jenkins, Avonte Maddox (a rookie corner playing out of position), Deiondre’ Hall, and the recently promoted Tre Sullivan at safety.Ngata being out means the Eagles are down to just Fletcher Cox , Destiny Vaeao, and Treyvon Hester at defensive tackle. Michael Bennett and Brandon Graham can also play on the inside as well.Chance Warmack is active for the first time all year since the Eagles are so injured.The Eagles usually keep Nate Sudfeld inactive but he’ll be up due to the injuries as well.Philadelphia Eagles Inactive ListRB Darren Sproles - Injury.S Corey Graham - Injury.DT Haloti Ngata - Injury.LB Nathan Gerry - Injury.LB D.J. Alexander - Injury.OL Matt Pryor - Depth offensive lineman.OL Jordan Mailata - Depth offensive lineman.New York Giants Inactive ListThe Giants will be without their top two tight ends with Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison out. No other surprises here.TE Evan EngramTE Rhett EllisonWR Russell ShepardQB Kyle LaulettaS Kamrin MooreC Evan BrownDT John Jenkins
  7. To Practice Squad During the NFL week Johnathan Joseph Jersey , Tuesday night and Wednesday morning are typically when roster moves are made. Teams readjust from the prior week, update their depth chart, deal with injuries, bump players up and down the practice squad, or sign other guys. This week in preparation for staving off 0-3 and playing New York (G), the Texans signed Isaac Whitney to their practice squad. Whitney is a former Oakland Raiders wide receiver who is now hanging out in Houston. He wasn’t the only player Houston looked into. The Texans also brought in running backs Matthew Dayes and Jeremy McNichols, defensive end Anthony Lanier, and cornerbacks Herb Waters and D.J. White in for a workout, which is Youth J.J. Watt Jersey , of course, something Aaron Wilson reported last night. That’s it so far. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone from the practice squad is released to make this move.There still isn’t any new injury news this week. We’ll re-post anything onJadeveon Clowney, Kevin Johnson, or anyone else who is bumped and bruised later this week. UPDATE:Here’s your corresponding move to allow Whitney to join the taxi squad.Pro Football Focus Ranks The Texans’ Receiving Corps 16th In NFL wYeah, let’s keep on ranking things. This time, PFF ranks the various wide receiving groups across the NFL.According to PFF, Houston Texans ranked 16th. This is what they had to say:I get what they are saying. I feel them. But did you know Fuller V weighs 185 pounds now? His durability isn’t even a question anymore. Also, the quarterback thing isn’t Fuller’s fault. Tom Savage has a smooth brain, slow feet Authentic Zach Cunningham Jersey , and can’t see past his first read. Evey play Savage played last year was geometric; he couldn’t see beyond Hopkins’ route. With Watson, Fuller V, and Hopkins all being 100% healthy with zero possibility of getting injured or anything bad happening this year, Houston ranks too low on this list. If you want some more, if you want to expand your horizons, click here to read the entire article.Spoiler:The Vikings finished first in PFF’s rankings.
  8. Teammates believe Le’Veon Bell will show on Wednesday Womens Ben Roethlisberger Jersey , but believe they are fine either way their first practice preparing for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. No, it was who wasn’t there which made headlines. With Le’Veon Bell missing in action, his teammates, again, were forced to answer questions surrounding the All-Pro running back, and when he might grace the organization with his presence. While fans have made their stance on the situation very clear, with a large majority boarding the Anti-Bell fan bus, several current and former players spoke about how Bell missing Monday’s workout wasn’t a big deal, and how Wednesday would be viewed as the first ‘official’ practice of the week.Ultimately, players said all the right things when talking about Bell’s absence, and some went as far to predict Bell will return on Wednesday of this week. This is a conversation team captain Maurkice Pouncey had with a reporter during player availability Monday:Pouncey would go on to tell Jeremy Fowler of ESPN: “He’ll be here Wednesday. Count on it.”Other players were less than thrilled to be talking about it, including starting guard Ramon Foster.“No sense in talking about it,” he told Fowler. “We’ve got other things to focus on. Cleveland is a good team. Our game plan has to be A-1. And we’re on the road. We’ve got other things to worry about than other guys’ money.”With many fans wanting the Steelers to rescind Bell’s franchise tag Youth David DeCastro Jersey , making him a free agent, it should be noted there is almost zero chance of that happening. The Steelers would receive nothing in return for him and wouldn’t get any production from one of the best running backs in the league. Those who want him traded should also know this isn’t possible until Bell signs his franchise tag, which hasn’t been done yet. The only moves the Steelers could make, but won’t, are when Bell decides he wants to report to the team and sign his franchise tag tender.The interesting part of this entire mess, which will die a very quick death once Bell arrives, is the confidence the team has in players like Stevan Ridley, and especially James Conner. Whether they could carry the load in place of Bell is anyone’s guess, but they might just get the opportunity to do so this Sunday in Cleveland if Bell doesn’t show on Wednesday, as many predict.Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Browns this Sunday.Why Pittsburgh Steelers fans hate, but respect the Baltimore Ravens I might not be the elder statesman of the BTSC community, but I’m close. My football memory reaches back as far as Johnny Unitas, Sonny Jurgensen, Len Dawson and George Blanda. I remember when a game against Baltimore meant facing a quarterback from Louisiana (Bert Jones) and a running back from Penn State (Lydell Mitchell). They were Terry and Franco Youth Jon Bostic Jersey , only less so. The Baltimore Colts won their division three times during our glory years. But they were never a rival.I go back far enough to remember when we had only one real rival — the Oakland Raiders. Five times in the 70s we met them in the playoffs. Twice they sent us home. Three times we sent them home. Though I admired several of their players, I had no respect for the team. They were cheaters before the Cheatriots, the “criminal element” that marred the game.We had some tough-fought games along the way with the Cleveland Browns. But during those years, the Browns never made it to the playoffs. As such, though they were in our division, they weren’t really in our league. True rivalry was something the Browns, like today’s iteration, could only aspire to. When Art Modell packed up and moved the Browns to fill the hole left by the Colts’ departure for Indy, it was just weird at first. It only got weirder when Cleveland was awarded an expansion team not long after. How then did the rivalry come to pass?Because the Ravens have been good. Like the Raiders of years past, how we did against the Ravens served as a bellwether for how our season would go. We’ve played them four times in the playoffs, sending them home three of those times. Of course, during that same time span, the Patriots have also been quite good, and we’ve met them a time or four in the playoffs. But that rivalry isn’t quite so intense.Which brings us to why we respect the Ravens. They Womens Cameron Heyward Jersey , like the Patriots, have been quite good for a long time. They, like the Patriots, have been frequent opponents come playoff time. But they, unlike the Patriots, play the kind of game that any Yinzer can respect. They play hard hitting, old-school football. You can, in fact probably should, hate big hitters like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs. But you have to give them their due. They come to play. They bring along their want. They’re a team that, like our Steelers, thrives less through technical prowess and more through a hunger to win. The Patriots are Apollo Creed — the Steelers are Rocky. But the Ravens are Clubber Lang.The sum of the matter? We hate them because they are the Ravens. We hate them because they are the Browns. We hate them because they’ve ruined a season or three for us. But we respect them because they’re an awful lot like us — just a little bit less so. Here’s hoping on Sunday night we’ll notch the first of three victories against the Ratbirds this year.
  9. Titans fans have been pretty stressed out about yesterday’s performance against the Steelers—particularly Marcus Mariota’s—so to distract from that , let’s focus on the positive.The Titans took steps to improve on both sides of the ball in the offseason. This is a young team with a new head coach/offensive coordinator tandem in Mike Vrabel/Matt LaFleur. With that said, who was your favorite acquisition? Choices can include free agent signings, draft picks, and new members of the coaching staff.For my pick, I’m going with Dion Lewis. I’ve already explained how I feel Lewis is the more complete, versatile back in comparison to Derrick Henry, but it’s true. He has better vision, better receiving skills, better pass blocking, and perhaps the better runner in general. He should not be limited to being a third down back, as he can find success on the first two downs as well.Now that my pick is out of the way, who was your favorite offseason acquisition? List your pick in the comment section below.Six under the radar Titans to watch during Thursday night’s preseason game against the Packers The Titans kickoff their 2018 preseason schedule on Thursday night as they travel to Green Bay to take on Aaron Rodgers Brett Hundley/DeShone Kizer and the Packers. While it sounds like we will at least get to see Marcus Mariota and most of the starters for a series or two, most of the action will be carried by backups and players competing for spots on the 53-man roster. Lots of these guys will end up on practice squads or doing something besides playing on Sundays this fall, but some of them could turn in to NFL stars. You don’t have to look far to find examples of unheralded prospects that turned their shot in to outstanding NFL careers. Josh Kline, Malcolm Butler, Wesley Woodyard, Will Compton, and Quinton Spain are all projected starters for the Titans who were once undrafted free agents scrapping for a spot in their first training camp. In recent years, late round picks like Jayon Brown, Tajae Sharpe, and LeShaun Sims have all impressed in preseason work and eventually earned contributing roles during their rookie season.These football rags-to-riches stories are far less common than first-round-pick-to-riches stories to be sure , but they do happen. So while everyone is excited to see what guys like Harold Landry, Dane Cruikshank, Malcolm Butler, and Dion Lewis look like in two-tone blue, the players who see the most action will likely be guys that the casual fan has never heard of. Here are some of my favorites based on what I’ve seen at camp so far.Deontay Burnett, WR, #80Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY SportsBurnett has been a star of training camp, catching everything thrown his way and working himself open consistently. He won’t wow you with his size — 6’-0” and 186 pounds — or his speed — though his 4.70 40-time from the USC pro day is misleading as he was rehabbing from a torn hamstring at the time — but he’s a smooth route runner with outstanding acceleration and great hands.During his final season with the Trojans he finished with 86 catches for 1,114 yards and 9 touchdowns which was good for Second-Team All-Pac-12 honors. One of the amazing things about Burnett is that he’s still just 20 years old and won’t turn 21 until midway through his rookie season. Burnett is working almost exclusively as a slot receiver for the Titans, in the mix with veterans Michael Campanaro and Nick Williams. If the results are anything like what we’ve seen in practice so far, Burnett will be one of the busiest Titans receivers on Thursday night. He has consistently been a playmaker and has made some of the most spectacular catches of camp. He also will likely get a chance to return some punts.Anthony Firkser, TE, #86Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesDid you know that Anthony Firkser went to Harvard? You probably will by the end of Thursday’s broadcast. He’s another guy who has really made some waves at camp. At 6’-2” and 246 pounds, Firkser is more of a move tight end/H-back type in the mold Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith rather than a hulking in-line blocking tight end like Luke Stocker. Firkser was Harvard’s leading receiver during his senior year in 2016 and spent time with the Jets and Chiefs practice squads last season before the Titans added him in May. Firkser has been excellent in camp over the last couple weeks, consistently getting open and making plays in the passing game. He’s been rewarded for that performance with some first team snaps when Walker, Smith, or Stocker have had days off.With the Titans release of Phillip Supernaw, the light of hope to find a spot on the roster continues to flicker for Firkser. I don’t think he’s taking a roster spot from Stocker because they are two very different types of players — if anyone is pressing Stocker it will be the newly signed Jermaine Cunningham or Tim Semisch — but the question for Firkser is whether he can convince the team to keep four tight ends on the 53-man roster. Even if he doesn’t end up sneaking on the roster, I expect Firkser to make some plays in Green Bay. Devin Ross, WR, #83Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty ImagesLike Burnett Cheap Jonnu Smith Jersey , Ross is a UDFA wide receiver, one of five the Titans added after surprisingly not drafting a pass catcher in the 2018 draft. He started camp quietly, but has built some momentum recently, even earning a stray first team rep on Tuesday. Ross is undersized at 5’-9” and 192 pounds, but in a league where the best receiver is the 5’-10”, 181 pound Antonio Brown, being a smaller receiver is really not an issue. Don’t take that as me comparing Ross to AB. I only point that out to say that guys like Ross shouldn’t be written off solely because of their size. If you can get open and catch the ball, you can play receiver in this league regardless of height. Ross wasn’t as prolific as Burnett was in college, but then again he didn’t have Sam Darnold throwing him the ball either. His best season came in 2016 when he grabbed 69 passes for 787 yards and 5 touchdowns, doing his best work from the slot. The Titans have mostly used Ross outside though, using his 4.48 speed to stretch the defense similar to the way the first team offense is utilizing Taywan Taylor. Ross is another guy that could see some work in the return game as well. It will be interesting to see if Ross can continue his upward momentum in Lambeau.Sharif Finch, EDGE, #56Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty ImagesAccording to, Finch got the largest signing bonus ($16,000) of any Titans UDFA which indicates that the team liked him quite a bit and there was likely hot competition for his signature. As a 6’-4”, 250 pound edge rusher with a 4.65 40-yard dash and a 7.00 second 3-cone drill coming off an 8.5 sack season, it’s a little surprising that nobody took a flier on him late in the draft. Finch’s college tape is pretty impressive and he’s flashed a few times early in camp, getting pressure against the second team offense before going down with a mystery injury. However, he returned to practice this week and was quickly back to making his presence felt. Finch is battling Josh Carraway and Gimel President for the 5th and likely final spot at outside linebacker. We will probably see a lot of all three of those guys in Thursday night’s game so it’ll be interesting to see who is able to separate from that bunch. Rico Gafford, CB, #40Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY SportsGafford is another player that was somewhat surprisingly undrafted. For a league that is notoriously obsessed with speed Cheap Dennis Kelly Jersey , letting a guy that reportedly ran in the low-to-mid-4.2s during his pro day go undrafted is unusual. Gafford’s freaky athleticism aside, the guy has really made some plays in camp, including a really nice interception during Tuesday’s practice when he peeled back off his underneath receiver to pick off a pass intended for another target in the back of the end zone. At 5’-10” and 184 pounds, some of the natural questions that Gafford will need to answer in preseason will be how he holds up against more physical receivers and whether he can tackle in run support. Gafford was really looking like a long shot until Tye Smith’s injury opened the door for a 5th or 6th corner to sneak on to the roster. Right now I feel like Gafford is 6th behind Kalan Reed, but he’s been headed in the right direction it seems. He also may get a chance to use that blazing speed as a kick returner on Thursday night. Akrum Wadley, RB, #38Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY SportsI expect David Fluellen, Wadley, and Dalyn Dawkins to all get a ton of opportunity in the preseason. We kind of know what Fluellen can do. He’s a big body, no-nonsense runner who gets what is blocked but not much more and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I’d be pretty surprised if he didn’t end up making it on the roster one way or another. Wadley, on the other hand, is a 5’-10”, 194 pound dynamo who, at times, can resemble Dion Lewis Lite with his ability to make quick bursts and contribute as a pass catcher out of the backfield. At Iowa, Wadley surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the ground for two straight seasons while also chipping in over 300 yards receiving both years. He’s another guy that was a surprise to find undrafted this spring and while he’s been up and down in camp, he has seemed to flash a bit more over the last few days. Wadley will need to either beat out Fluellen or convince the Titans that they need to keep four running backs on the 53-man roster by the end of preseason. He will also have some competition from Dawkins who is a very similar style runner to Wadley (and wears jersey number 39 which makes it really hard to tell them apart at first glance). I expect to see a lot of Wadley on Thursday night and I’m excited to see what he can do.
  10. EThe early lead the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles conceded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had many people asking Womens Chris Long Jersey , “what happened? Who is at fault?”Rest assured there is plenty of blame to go around for a defensive performance that was gashed for 436 total yards. But where does it land? Let’s run through some possible culprits and get to the bottom of it.RUN DEFENSE...Might as well keep it moving because this wasn’t close to the issue. The Eagles run defense stifled the Buccaneers ground game, holding them to 44 yards on 22 carries (removing the end of first half kneel down).Overall, the Buccaneers had a paltry 23% success rate pounding the rock and only two successful runs in the second half as they attempted to salt the game away. 16 runs went for 3 yards or less, with 9 of those being stuffed for zero or negative yards.The entire front seven front six were key performers in this area. The Buccaneers offensive line simply could not win one-on-one battles in the trenches; nor could they get to the second level to cut off the Eagles linebackers. This area was a big win and set the defense up in plus situations while also forcing the Buccaneers to pass to win in early downs and late in the game.GENERATING PRESSURE鈥FF tabbed quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with 66% throws being released in under 2.5 seconds. Through my own charting, I found that he released the ball within one hitch of his final drop step 71% of the time.Let’s compare time-to-throw with Nick Foles, who held on to the bar far too long either through fault of his own or due to the lack of separation from his receivers (both are true). Foles released the ball at an average of 2.92 seconds. Fitzpatrick blurs past that with a lightning quick 2.21. The living conditions were quite different, but the contrast is still stark.Getting rid of the ball fast is all gum drops and lollipops but what impact did it have? First, it negated a pass rush for the Eagles that performed well. Well, mostly, Fletcher Cox still got home once (yay).While the New Orleans Saints struggled to generate a push (18%) in Week 1, the Eagles ranked 6th (37%) in applying pressure in Week 2. That’s despite the ball getting out in three steps. It was consistent throughout the game too, just not effective. Why?When Fitzpatrick was under pressure he was sacked twice but otherwise had a productive day. He went 7 of 11 for 110 yards, 3 touchdowns with a 136.4 QB Rating. So I’ll ask the question again. Why was the pass rush productive, but not effective?COVERAGE鈥he Saints were abused in the passing game by playing press and getting balls thrown before they could get their heads around. Fitzpatrick would identify his primary read pre-snap based on the depth of the cornerback and leverage of the safety and simply put it up for his receiver to make a play. Time and time again his receivers made those plays.The Eagles don’t press on the outside nearly as much as the Saints, so you would figure off coverage wouldn’t allow him to be as effective. You would be I was wrong.When the Eagles played off and in their standard cover 3, things were easy for Fitzpatrick. Simple curls turned into world beaters thanks to the ball getting out quicker than the flat zone can get to the spot.On 3rd & 5 in the 3rd quarter, Chris Godwin does to the Eagles what the Buccaneers did all day. Ran a quick curl and received the throw before Jordan Hicks’ flat zone could cut underneath. Ronald Darby starts with a 7-yard cushion and Godwin has plenty of space to gear down and sit in the void.These were the types of situations the Eagles needed to be in but were not put in a position to win. The formula was too simple for the Buccaneers. Curls, comebacks, slants, go-flat route combinations, everything worked against a secondary playing on their heels on the outside.Self-aware of their defects in the run game, the Buccaneers didn’t always wait until third down to air it out, where they finished middle of the pack for conversions (40%). On second down they took to the passing game to convert 10 of 16 attempts for first downs. Removing the 4th quarter to eliminate game script weight, the Buccaneers passed on 87% of their second down plays, the second highest rate in the league. The Eagles were caught off guard, out of place, and without answers.There are too many examples to show in this regard, so with that I’ll move on. If you’ve seen one play clip, you’ve essentially seen them all.INEFFECTIVE BLITZING...The Eagles don’t blitz much because they can get home with four consistently. The same , as noted above, was true against the Buccaneers. When they did blitz, which only happened on six occasions (17%), it was a disaster.They ran those six blitzes into a play-action wall four times, and Fitzpatrick released the ball quickly five times. The result was 5/6, 136 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown was the first play of the game. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz sent a heater, with Darby coming from his outside corner position plus a little extra from the linebackers.That’s Jalen Mills linked up with DeSean Jackson at the top of the screen. Mills is undoubtedly catching heat for this play, but it’s not his fault. You could even blame Schwartz for not seeing what everybody in the stadium saw coming, but that would be wrong too.Safety Malcolm Jenkins took blame for the play after the game, as he should have. He has deep middle third responsibility, but he gets greedy. He banks on the blitz getting home quicker than it does and attempts to undercut the route.One greedy mistake by Jenkins, one egregiously poor tackle by Darby.. you take those two plays out of the equation and it alters the landscape of the game entirely. Unfortunately, you could say that for almost any football game. Those plays happened, and they cost the Eagles dearly.Even without those two plays, the efficiency of the Buccaneers offense put them in a position to win. The problem for the Eagles was execution and game plan. If you can’t counter quick strike offenses despite a top-notch pass rush, what good is the pass rush? It’s not worth much when your strategy for the defensive backfield is based on fear.In summation, the Schwartz’s design lacked creativity and adaptability. If they didn’t lose to two big plays, they were going to lose by death of a thousand 3-step drops. Schwartz stuck to his guns and lost. Ultimately, the blame lays squarely on his shoulders.After his Week 1 performance against the Atlanta Falcons, one lost battle isn’t the end of the world. How he proceeds from here will be the real story.Should the Eagles have interest in Josh Gordon? The Cleveland Browns made some big news on Saturday evening by surprisingly announcing they’re releasing Josh Gordon. But it appears they might not be releasing the 27-year-old after all. NFL insider Adam Schefter is reporting the Browns will actually be trading Gordon and Ian Rapoport says up to five teams are interested in acquiring him.With Philadelphia looking into wide receiver help recently, it’s only fair to ask: Should the Eagles take a shot on Gordon?The case for Josh GordonGordon is certainly an intriguing talent. At 6-3, 225 pounds, he boasts a good blend of size and athleticism. He had an incredible 2013 campaign with Cleveland when he logged 87 receptions for a whopping 1,646 yards (18.9 average!) and nine receiving touchdowns. He also rushed for 88 yards on five attempts that year. Gordon accomplished those numbers despite having the likes of Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer as his quarterbacks that year. If there are any doubts about his talent, which I doubt there are, just watch his highlights.Now for the part when the Eagles come in. They’ve obviously been looking receiver help recently. The Eagles showed interest in the following wide outs this week: Corey Coleman (signed with the Patriots), Breshad Perriman , Kamar Aiken (signed with the Eagles), and Shane Wynn. Coleman and Perriman are worth highlighting as former first-round picks who flamed out with the teams that originally drafted them. Gordon’s situation isn’t identical to theirs, of course, but it’s not totally dissimilar to that mold. The Eagles are interested in receiver help since their current corps isn’t in great shape. Their current group of receivers combined for a mere 43 receiving yards on nine receptions (a putrid 4.7 yards per reception) in Week 1. Projected No. 1 receiver Alshon Jeffery returned to practice this week but he still hasn’t been cleared for contact drills. Mack Hollins isn’t eligible to return to the active roster until after Week 8 since he was placed on injured reserve. Shelton Gibson, who is questionable for Sunday’s game, popped up on the injury report with a knee injury. If he can’t play, the Eagles will be down to the following receivers against the Buccaneers: Nelson Agholor, Mike Wallace, DeAndre Carter, and the aforementioned Aiken. Not ideal.Adding Gordon at a low-risk cost feels like the kind of move reigning NFL Executive of the Year Howie Roseman would make. The cap-strapped Eagles are in position to take a risk on Gordon’s affordable $790,001 cap hit this year. Not to mention that he’s set to be a restricted free agent after this season, which means he should be relatively cheap and easy to retain for at least one more year beyond 2018. Again, if the cost is low, why not take a risk on Gordon?The case against Josh GordonAlthough talented, Gordon is clearly troubled. He’s played in just 11 out of 65 possible regular season games since the 2014 season. Gordon missed two entire seasons after being suspended for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy and then checking himself into a rehabilitation facility. After being patient with him for so long, the Browns finally decided they’re done with him. There are a number of reasons why that appears to be the case. A sampling:Gordon is just way too unreliable for the Eagles to give up any kind of significant resources to acquire him. And even though Philadelphia’s receiving corps situation might seem dire, all hope is not lost. Jeffery is expected to be back sooner than later. Hollins should be ready to play after Week 8. Wallace was held without a catch in Week 1, yes, but the speedy vet ran two of the top 10 fastest routes in the league per Sheil Kapadia. Agholor had a very strong training camp and there’s reason to believe he’ll be more effective than he was against Atlanta. Carter and Gibson had good summers as well; they earned their roster spots. I think the Eagles can ultimately get by with the pass catchers they already have. The verdictAgain, if the Eagles can acquire Gordon for very little risk (like a sixth-round pick), then I guess sure, why not.Ultimately, though, I think the idea of Gordon is much more tantalizing than the reality of him. How can a team truly trust he’s not going to get suspended for violating the league’s conduct policy once again? He’s skating on very, very thin ice. I think too often fans get obsessed with the idea of their team getting a “steal.” We see this in the draft every year with players falling lower than expected. Sometimes taking a chance on those guys works out. But there are many times when it just doesn’t and in hindsight it wasn’t hard to see why teams passed on those guys. It’s fun to think about the Eagles adding Gordon at a low cost and him coming in and being this awesome weapon for the reigning Super Bowl champs. But I just think that’s much more fantasy than it is reality. Besides, I think there are teams even more desperate for receiver help than the Eagles out there. Can’t you just see the Cowboys going after Gordon? And then him ultimately not working out there just like a number of other troubled players they’ve take chances on? You decideVote in the poll below.
  11. Pro Football Focus Ranks The Texans’ Receiving Corps 16th In NFL wYeah , let’s keep on ranking things. According to PFF, Houston Texans ranked 16th. This is what they had to say:I get what they are saying. I feel them. But did you know Fuller V weighs 185 pounds now? His durability isn’t even a question anymore. Also, the quarterback thing isn’t Fuller’s fault. Tom Savage has a smooth brain, slow feet, and can’t see past his first read. Evey play Savage played last year was geometric; he couldn’t see beyond Hopkins’ route. With Watson, Fuller V, and Hopkins all being 100% healthy with zero possibility of getting injured or anything bad happening this year, Houston ranks too low on this list. If you want some more, if you want to expand your horizons, click here to read the entire article.Spoiler:The Vikings finished first in PFF’s rankings.Projecting Each Texan’s Targets for 2018 The Texans finally have an arsenal of weapons among the most versatile and lethal in the league. From speedsters like Will Fuller V and Keke Coutee to red zone targets like Stephen Anderson and Bruce Ellington to potentially the best pass catcher in the league in DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans can really spread the field in 2018. In the six full games that featured Deshaun Watson under center, the Texans averaged 30.2 pass attempts per game. Watson will become the centerpiece of head coach Bill O’Brien’s offense, so giving him as many opportunities as possible to create for this offense is well within the team’s game plan. For the sake of this article, we will cap Deshaun Watson’s attempts per game at a round 32 each week. This small increase from last year’s average stems from a lack of confidence in the run game to move the ball effectively. Let’s see how Watson will distribute his passes this season.Editor’s note: Total targets assumes each player will play in all 16 games.DeAndre Hopkins Projected Targets: 155.2 (9.7 per game)Nuk averaged exactly 10 targets per game when Watson was the starting QB last season. That number does include an outlier of four targets, created when the Browns in Week 6 relentlessly double-teamed Hopkins to force Watson to look elsewhere. The second half of the 2017 season saw Hopkins’ targets increase DeAndre Hopkins Jersey , but that may be due to less pass catching options being available. Hopkins finished the 2017 season with 176 targets and led the team in all pass catching categories by a significant margin. He will still be the leading receiver on the team this year, but more mouths to feed may mean a tad fewer targets.Will Fuller Projected Targets: 100.8 (6.3 per game)100 targets strikes you as an impressive number, but when stretched out over 16 games, it’s not really that shocking. Fuller has yet to play an entire season in the NFL, missing six games with collarbone and rib injuries last year. That said, his ridiculous output of 7 TDs in four games gave us a glimpse of the potential Fuller has as a deep threat with Watson as his quarterback. According to Football Outsiders, Fuller’s DVOA (“Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average,” a great way to evaluate a receiver’s value) was 12th in the NFL last year. Fuller is at his best when he is not the focus of a defense’s attention. His speed could be the biggest weapon on the Texans offense this next season, and managing Fuller’s targets is a vital part of keeping him both healthy and deadly.Bruce Ellington Projected Targets: 60.8 (3.8 per game)In a season that was mostly doom and gloom, Ellington’s resurgence in the slot was a great extension of Houston’s offense. He brought a different skill set and allowed Bill O’Brien to get creative. Ellington will have a ton of competition for targets this year as Keke Coutee, Braxton Miller, and TEs Stephen Anderson and Jordan Akins will battle for the third pass catching option. Last year, Ellington turned into Deshaun Watson’s favorite hot route option, catching most of his balls over the middle when Watson began to improvise. Ellington had 57 targets over eleven games last year, which equates to a little over five targets per game. The diminishing amount of targets in 2018 will be a result of a slower start to the season as Ellington recovers from injury and deals with more competition to get on the field.Keke Coutee Projected Targets: 52.8 (3.3 per game)Hype and praise by the media does not correlate to immediate production. Coutee is going to have to get used to not being the primary target on the field, so it will be interesting to see how quickly he can climb up the depth chart in Houston. Additionally Authentic Kevin Johnson Jersey , Coutee may get more touches and opportunities than just catching balls as a wideout; from punt returns to end-around runs, Coutee’s big-play ability is going to be a spark on this offense. The Texans have been searching for that one player who puts opposing offenses in a tizzy because he can appear anywhere on the field. Three targets per game is not a lot, but Coutee should have a high catch rate because of solid hands and advantageous matchups he will create.Lamar Miller Projected Targets: 38.4 (2.4 per game)I like the idea of Lamar Miller more than the running back he is. A zone scheme, patient player who can catch the ball out of the backfield is a solid definition of a 21st century running back. However, Miller has never been able to utilize his talents in this offense. Maybe it was simply a bad fit after losing Arian Foster, but the Texans really have no better option to run the ball than Miller. As a receiver, Miller can get good looks from screen plays and quick catches out of the backfield. He is only 27 years old and definitely has some good years left, but his production is predicated on Bill O’Brien finally using him correctly. Stephen Anderson Projected Targets: 36.8 (2.3 per game)Entering his third season, Anderson must show some major progress if he wants to fight off the two tight ends the Texans drafted in April. Anderson is an average mid-field option and needs to gain better route running abilities to get on the field more. He plays mostly in the slot as a stand-up tight end; his best routes are a curl and 10 yard out-route. I would love to see him learn to box out smaller nickel corners in the red zone and on third down. He had a great game against the Titans being Tom Savage’s first option when under pressure. It would help Watson out tremendously to have a reliable option on roll out plays for short to mid-level options; that could be Anderson’s niche.Ryan Griffin Projected Targets: 32 (2.0 per game)Say what you want about the NFL becoming soft, but concussions suck, man. Not much is worse than getting hit so hard you feel like the Liberty Bell. After ending the season on IR and watching the Texans select two guys who play his position in the draft, Griffin may be on the chopping block more than we realize. As end-line blocking goes, Griffin is historically average and finds most of his value down field as a pass catcher. When he is available, he is one of the more consistent options the Texans have. But reliable hands may not be enough to keep Griffin on the field anymore as the Texans have stocked up on pass catchers. 32 targets in 2018 feels right for Griffin as the Texans start to change their offense and spread the field.Braxton Miller Projected Targets: 17.6 (1.1 per game)I do not want Braxton to become the player who is stashed on some team’s roster for his entire career and never realizes his potential. He’s a real talent on this roster - a guy who utterly dominated the college football ranks for a period. The transition to WR has definitely not gone as smoothly as hoped. Whether he is in BOB’s dog house or not is unknown, but a player like Miller deserves more than this projection. This is where I had to make the biggest adjustments on targets due to overallocating targets early on in the process of this article. If Miller becomes the Swiss Amy knife of the Texans’ offense and completely terrorizes opposing defenses, I will be happy. He will most likely do this if BOB is willing to work with Braxton to give him the creative opportunities he needs to make plays. D’Onta Foreman Projected Targets: 11.2 (0.7 per game)Tearing an Achilles has to be one of the more painful ways athletes get injured. Foreman’s road to recovery will hopefully end right as the regular season starts. As a Longhorn myself Youth Lamar Miller Jersey , nothing would make me happier than to see Foreman return to form. Before he got hurt, Foreman demonstrated a knack for catching the ball that was not really emphasized at Texas. If he gets healthy, he could push Miller for starting reps, and if this happens, his targets will surely go up. This is a conservative number of targets as I am wary that he will be fully healthy come the regular season.Jordan Akins Projected Targets: 6.4 (0.4 per game)This feels low for a third round pick. As you can tell, there are a lot of mouths to feed, and I just do not see Akins being more than a red zone threat in his first year in the NFL. A third-string TE who has to learn to block must create opportunities for himself to get on the field and be effective when given those chances. Akins’ two touchdowns in the red zone in college this past year were completely wide open, so we will still need to see if he can catch with a defender draped on him. A 6’3” pass catching threat is exactly what the Texans need, so hopefully Akins can fill the role designed for him.There are only so many passes to go around, and it turned out to be a tough task to divvy up targets to all the options at the Texans’ disposal. Realistically, there could be some targets for players like Tyler Ervin, Sammie Coates and Jordan Thomas that were not included in this article purely for their limited role in this offense. Also, because I try to be transparent when I am wrong, I will write an article at the end of the season to see how close (or far off) I was on these predictions.Did I snub any players who deserve more targets? Will Nuk get more than ten targets a game? Add your thoughts in the comment section.
  12. Steelers vs. Buccaneers Youth Ramon Foster Jersey , Week 3: Knee Jerk Reactions from the Steelers 30-27 win over the Bucs As Week Two’s bizarre showcase wasn’t too easy, and made those in Steelers Nation queasy, I couldn’t help, once again, to be feeling cautiously optimistic leading up to what I presumed to be the necessary bounce back against Tampa Bay. At this point, I decided to wait until gametime to react and open the window to all of you. So if you want to know how my emotions fluctuated throughout the evening, keep on reading.Nonetheless, a simple reminder, a knee jerk reaction is an immediate and unthinking, emotional reaction. It’s basically shooting first and apologizing later. I can safely say that’s a true definition of your’s truly and a good lot of Steeler Nation. Here’s my real-time reactions during the Steelers first time in Tampa in eight years.1st QuarterWhat’s the benefit of having a quick KR like Switzer if the Steelers are going to always get called for a hold on the return?No disrespect intended, but I’m not too sure about Jordan Dangerfield anymore.I heard that the Steelers were going to water down the defense. They obviously watered down the offense on that first series too.Jordan Berry will not be punting for the Steelers next weekend.Mike Evans (not the original Lionel Jefferson) was wide open on that drop.Thats why I love Joe Haden. Nice breakup.Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY SportsUggh. Is this Road Ben or Bad Elbow Ben?The right side of the D-line just got dominated on the Barber run.Here we go again. Tight Ends kill the Steelers. It could be another long night.Conner needs to get going.When Vance McDonald is healthy. Wow!That stiff arm was Gronk-like.Chris Boswell has no more excuses. Does he suddenly have the kicking version of Steve Blass disease.I’m not so sure about how blatant the Bostic hit was.Tony Romo is awesome in the booth. Jason Witten is no Romo.T.J. Watt looked awful on that attempted tackle.It’s falling apart.Second penalty on McCullers. Good Gravy!Bostic. Nice coverage. They have no pass rush. It’s killing them.I stand corrected. Nice job, Chick.Nice pass play by both Ben and JuJu.Ben’s acting lessons are paying off.Quarter 2Big Al can’t hold there. Crap.Ben and Vance have good chemistry.Wow. The hardest hit of the night is the wall on Isaiah Johnson. Hope he’s okay.Artie Burns with a solid tackle.I hate the defensive posing on turnovers.That was all AB. Fantastic.Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsNo denying that face mask penalty.Mike Evans is really, really good.Seven penalties already. Lack of discipline will kill them.Hes not a Raven anymore , but I still don’t like the Ginga Ninja.Grounding anyone? Someone must have been in the area.I’m really liking Bostic. Good awareness by Hilton as well.I’ll take it, but I’m not a big fan of that JJP roughing penalty on Ben.Glad to see stony Dungy honored. In my mind he has two SB rings as a coach. But that’s just me.Seriously. I’m roughing the passer in my living room.Awesome. Edmunds desperately needed that pick.Those O-line reserves are going to get Ben murdered.That’s why you keep DHB.Yesssssss! Bud needed that play badly. Great job adjusting from the rush to the coverage.Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY SportsMore like Fitzmanic or Fitztragic.Fitzpatrick is even more entertaining than Peyton Manning on the audible.Evans is hard to cover. Wow!Was that more of a drop or Haden? I think a drop.Tony Toe Tap is one of the best sideline receiver ever.JuJu with the stiffy as well.Great to see Switzer get in. Hated the camera angle. Missed it.Quarter 3That’s not a touchdown. Hilton touched him.Wow. Evidence and still a reversal. Doesn’t happen often.Can’t ever give up a 3rd and 18.Bud is having a night.Holding a team to three twice in 2018. Who are these guys.Too bad. AB was wide open.Washington looks to be earning Ben’s trust.Seriously. What is wrong with Boz? He can’t become a liability.Quarter 4No excuses for Sensabaugh. The rookie schooled the veteran in that score.Penn State’s Godwin is a player.This team still needs a shutdown corner.They are going to blow this game.They got lucky on the Desean Jackson return. Really lucky.Did they really just let Fitz run for 17 yards?I’m losing faith in Artie Burns. But Mike Evans is incredible.I’m afraid that Fitzmagic is real.Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty ImagesDon’t know how they pulled that off.Why can’t things ever be nice and easy? as I replay the game more and more in my head, my perceptions and maybe my prescriptions will alter. But for now, you just got a glimpse of the first thoughts that popped in my mind while I was watching this game. Feel free to get your commentus maximus on in the section below.In the NFL, times may have changed but it’s still the same game In the comment section of a recent piece I wrote, an argument broke out. Weird, huh? The debate was over whether the Patriots, at their best, could beat the Steelers from the glory years. I don’t know the answer to that question, but what interested me was the difficulty of trying to envision such an encounter. Various points were made about the way the game has changed, which rule book we’d use and how that would impact the outcome. Others pointed out the physical differences in the players from differing eras. Players are bigger, faster and stronger than they were back in the day. Don’t forget that Jack Lambert, in his rookie year, weighed less as our middle linebacker than Chris Collinsworth weighed his rookie year as a wide receiver.Then our illustrious editor posted an account of Big Ben’s learning curve on the RPO and its part in the evolution of the game. And of course David DeCastro Jersey , we’ve seen countless takes on the impact on the new rules designed to better protect the heads of players. That’s a great deal of change in not such a long time. But the good news is — the game is still the game. I consider myself a purist and a traditionalist. Like a charter member of the Flat-earth Society, I’m not only deeply irked by the mere existence of designated hitters in baseball, but I pull out what’s left of my hair over inter-league games. At the end of the day, even with sub-packages and specialists for this and for that, the object of the game of football is still to get the ball to pay-dirt and to keep the enemy from doing the same. It’s still two armies seeking to impose their will on each other. And it’s still the best spectator sport in the world.Also, we shouldn’t forget that spectating has evolved. The Steelers’ first playoff victory, capped off by the Immaculate Reception, wasn’t even telecast live in the Pittsburgh market because the game hadn’t sold out. That, I believe, was the last time this ever happened. Living 60 miles from former Three Rivers Stadium, I watched the games on a 19-inch console equipped with rabbit ears — no NFL Ticket, no Gamepass, no smartphones, and no 60-inch Authentic Javon Hargrave Jersey , high-def televisions. There were no 24-hour sports channels, let alone an NFL network. There were no VCRs or DVRs to time-shift our experience of the game. You watched it when it aired or not at all. There was also no Internet, and you waited until Monday morning to read any analysis in the newspaper, devouring Vito Stellino, Bob Musick and John Steigerwald.I don’t miss the paucity of information we had back then, but I’m grateful that, at its core, it’s still the same game, and I get to see more of it, more often and more clearly. I’m grateful that the “Stillers” are still the “Stillers,” still under the Rooney family’s control and still winning. I don’t know who would win a battle between the Steelers of yore and the Patriots of today. My hope is that the Steelers of today will do well enough to face them in the post-season, and win — plus finishing the season with a victory in an inter-league game.