Pro Player Insiders NFL Players Exclusive Lifestyle, News and Under the Helmet Access Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:13:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Panthers Travelle Wharton Retires After 10 Seasons Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:13:20 +0000 Travelle Wharton, whose 115 games played and 111 games started are second among Panthers offensive linemen, announced his retirement Tuesday. Overall, Wharton ranks seventh in games started and 12th in games played in franchise history.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Carolina PanthersWharton, who came to the team as a third-round draft choice from South Carolina in 2004, played both guard and tackle  for the Panthers, but spent the majority of his career at guard.

“I had the pleasure of coaching Travelle for two seasons and he was a pro in every sense of the word,” says Carolina head coach Ron Rivera. “His preparation was never lacking in any respect and he gave you complete effort on the field. Most of all, you always knew you could count on Travelle.”

Wharton never played a regular season game for another NFL team although he spent the 2012 season on injured reserved for the Bengals after signing with Cincinnati and being injured in the first preseason game. Carolina re-signed him during the 2013 preseason and he started 12 games after Amini Silatolu suffered a knee injury in Week Four. Wharton was a key component along the offensive line as the Panthers made a run to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and appeared in the NFC Divisional Game against San Francisco.

Wharton also started throughout the season on Carolina’s playoff teams in 2008 and 2005, starting 14 games at left guard in 2008 and 16 games at left tackle in 2005. The Panthers ranked eighth in total offense that season and averaged 24.4 points per game while making the playoffs as a Wild Card and beating the New York Giants and Chicago Bears in advancing to the NFC Championship game at Seattle. In his rookie season in 2004, Wharton moved into the starting lineup five games into the season and started the final 11 games of the year as the Panthers complied a 7-4 record over that period and narrowly missed making the playoffs after a 1-7 start to the season.

Wharton leaves the Panthers with a legacy of dependability as well as productivity. In his quiet manner, he provided leadership and stability through winning and losing seasons. He is one of only 16 players to appear in 100 games for the Panthers and one of only eighth to start 100 games, ranking behind Jordan Gross (167), Steve Smith (161), Muhsin Muhammad and Mike Minter (141), Julius Peppers (120), Chris Gamble (111), and Mike Rucker (107).

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Miami Dolphins Make Roster Moves Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:16:11 +0000 MIAMI – The Miami Dolphins have signed tight end Brett Brackett, quarterback Seth Lobato and defensive end D’Aundre Reed and waived quarterback Brock Jensen, linebacker Derrell Johnson and waived/injured guard Davonte Wallace, the team announced.

The 6-5, 246-pound Brackett re-joins the Dolphins after spending part of the 2013 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the 2012 season with Jacksonville on September 4. Brackett originally entered the NFL in 2011 as an undrafted free agent with the Miami Dolphins. He spent parts of the 2011 season on the practice squads of Miami, Jacksonville and the Philadelphia Eagles. A four-year letterman at Penn State, Brackett played in 52 games with 15 starts and totaled 56 receptions for 714 yards and seven touchdowns. Born December 13, 1987 in New Brunswick, N.J., Brackett attended Lawrence High School in Lawrenceville, N.J.

The 6-6, 223-pound Lobato joins the Dolphins after spending time during the 2014 off-season with the Indianapolis Colts after being signed as an undrafted college free agent following the 2014 NFL draft. A three-year starter, he appeared in 35 career games at Northern Colorado where he completed 637 of 1,126 passes for 8,090 yards and 53 touchdowns while gaining Big Sky All-Conference honorable mention recognition. Born December 5, 1990 in Greeley, Colo., Lobato attended Eaton High School in Eaton, Colo.

The 6-4, 260-pound Reed joins the Dolphins after spending time during the 2014 off-season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Reed has appeared in six regular season games. Reed began 2013 with the Minnesota Vikings after his release following training camp. He spent a portion of 2013 season on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad prior to joining the Jaguars as a member of their practice squad on December 17, 2013. Reed appeared in six games with Minnesota in 2012 after being inactive for all 16 games as a rookie in 2011. He originally entered the NFL in 2011 as a seventh round selection (215th overall) of the Vikings. Reed played in 47 games, with 8 starts, at the University of Arizona. He notched a career-best six tackles in games vs. Oregon and Arizona State as a senior. Born on January 1, 1988, in Moreno Valley, Calif., Reed attended Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, Calif.

Name                                   Pos.      Hgt.    Wgt.           Birthdate     Exp.              College                           Hometown                        Acq.
Brackett, Brett                    TE            6-5         246          12/13/87           2              Penn State ’11                Lawrenceville, NJ                   FA, ‘14

Lobato, Seth                      QB           6-6         223          12/5/90             R              Northern Colorado, ’14     Eaton, Colo.                           FA, ‘14

Reed, D’Aundre                 DE           6-4         260          1/1/88               3              Arizona ’11                     Moreno Valley, California     FA, ‘14

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Dallas Cowboys Defense: On the come up Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:52:10 +0000 Ranked dead last in total defense last season was none other than the Dallas Cowboys. You can say that the defense was the blame for several losses the Cowboys sustained. But can they bounce back this season? They can’t get any worse than last year.

Dallas cowboys

Last season the Dallas Cowboys could have went way better than 8-8.Many times the defense let the opponent back into the games after having big leads. It was many games that the Cowboys led by double-digits, and lost in the 2nd half. But who really is the blame? Is it Tony Romo who tends to throw interceptions at the worst possible times? Or is it the defense that forgets how to tackle and defend?


Since 2009, the Cowboys have the most blown leads in the NFL. Blowing 15 leads since 2009, the Cowboys rank 1st in losing when having a double-digit lead. This contradicts the ‘Romo is Clutch” argument. Romo has the highest QB percentage in the 4th quarter with a 102.9 passer rating. Shockingly Romo numbers are better than Troy Aikman’s’. Aikman played 12 years with the Cowboys. He started 165 games, won 57% of them, threw for 165 touchdowns and led 21 fourth-quarter comebacks. Romo has started for eight seasons and 104 games. He’s won 58% of games, thrown for 200 touchdowns and led 21 fourth quarterback comebacks.

So with all these blown leads, Romo is having to work harder to lead his team to victory, which means if he fails it falls all back on him. The defense plays a huge factor in the losses the Cowboys sustained. In the two-minute drill, Romo has a 93.1 passer rating and leads all active quarterbacks, and is the fourth best QB to do so since 1991.

All those statistics get swept under the rug when the Cowboys lose or Romo throws a crucial interception.

Last season, the Cowboys lost 2 major games after leading by double-digits. The Cowboys were demolishing the Detroit Lions 27-3 after Romo hit Jason Witten for a touchdown 2 ½ minutes into the 3rd quarter. After that, the embarrassment came. Romo threw 2 consecutive interceptions, which both were returned for touchdowns. After having a 24-point lead the Cowboys lost 34-30. Another game the Cowboys blew a 26-3 halftime lead to only lose by one point. This game the defense forgot how to stop the run and safeties forgot how to cover their man.


Morris Claiborne has been a bust since entering the NFL some critics may say. After every sports analyst saying he would be the next Deion Sanders, he has yet to live up to that. Being injured and getting beat badly, Claiborne just does not have it. The Cowboys defense has taken 2 major hits already, and the season has not even started yet. Sean Lee is out for the entire season, after tearing his ACL in a non-contact drill during OTAs. Also they lost DeMarcus Ware to the Broncos after he did not want to take a pay cut. Not to mention that Jason Hatcher is gone also.

Other notable Defensive players that have to step up would be B.W. Webb, Orlando Scandrick and Tyrone Crawford, who is returning after missing all of last season due to an injury. You can say that Scandrick is the only consistent defensive player, but you really don’t know what type of game you would get out of him that day. Defensive tackle Henry Melton was signed to replace Hatcher, and so far is showing his tremendous football side during Training Camp

Monte Kiffin lost is spot as Defensive Coordinator, and the Cowboys named Rod Marinelli the new coordinator. This season for the Cowboys is a rebuilding or redemption year. Jason Garrett is entering his last season as Head Coach in his contract, and this season will determine if he returns.

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A Perfect Day for Colts Football Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:46:33 +0000 The skies were gleaming, the birds were chirping, the sun was shining, making it the perfect day for Colts football. The Indianapolis Colts had perfect 70 degree weather and lots of positive attitudes for the first day of training camp. The best part for the rookies of the team was their reactions to having such a beautiful day of camp.  Louisiana native No.81 and wide receiver Eric Thomas gave his experience of what it’s like to be a rookie player with such a prestigious team.colts_eric_thomas_wr_81_trainining camp (1)

“I mean… for me it didn’t really all feel real until I took that very first step onto the field,” Thomas beamed with a smile.

Thomas had been signed as an undrafted free agent, from Shreveport, LA and played in multiple bowl games while at Troy. At the age of 22 he never would have imagined he would be leaving the southern gulf coast for the Hoosier hospitality of the Midwest.

“I mean, I had no idea… (when asked did he ever think that he would be living in central Indiana)….I never would have guessed it, let alone playing with a team like this. At the time I just wanted try my best, play hard and try to make it and get picked up wherever I could go.”

Thomas said he enjoys having seasoned players like No. 87 Reggie Wayne to talk to and learn from. “The best part of being a rookie is what you learn from others being so young. It’s like being in a dream…like dreams really do come true,” said Thomas.

The excitement didn’t just stop at the field. With so much to do on a beautiful day, the city of Anderson came out in droves to support their home team. The football stands were full of whistling and shouting fans, some of them even staked out the roped off sidelines in hopes to snag a picture of their favorite players. There were inflatables in the shape of the beloved mascot, a giant colt. Even the littlest of Colts fans had their gear on from head to toe.

Some of the Colts Cheerleaders, four year veteran Sophia and first year cheerleader Courtney, were there for autographs signing posters and pictures, and greeted fans at the main entrance. “I’m just excited to be here, this is my first time on the squad and I’m looking forward to the season,” said Courtney.

There were corporate sponsors giving out various freebies, prizes, and raffles. Some of those raffles included tickets to games and VIP experiences. Other delectable hand outs were the free ice cream that made a warm summer day like this one even more enjoyable.

The best part was seeing a family with a 9 month old, 2 kids, mom, dad and grandmother all there to support the team. It’s a statement that shows just how deeply Indiana takes pride in their team and the (1)

And if you didn’t have enough colts gear in your closet for the season, the colts pro shop was in full effect with a fully stocked tent packed with everything a die-hard fan could want. Everything from replica helmets to action figures, to license plate covers. Some of the items fans said they bought as gifts, others for their home collection.

For a rookie it’s the kind of day that you dream of. A day like this with a great team and hopes for an even greater season. Only the best of the best get to secure a permanent spot on the official roster for the upcoming season.

For the rookies at Colts training camp, it’s also a dream they wish would never end. And they are willing to go for their goals and do whatever it takes in order to make this dream an ultimate realty. Even Colts Coach Chuck Pagano agrees that the players this season a focused, with 11 winning games and a playoff win, they want to do even better than last year. They‘ve only got a few weeks of training and preseason games to prove it.

“There are only so many workouts and practices until the season starts, I hate to sou nd cliché but you just have to really make them count. It’s just as simple as that,” said Thomas.

Among other rookies looking to secure the dream is No. 67 FN Lutz from West Lafayette, IN who played at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. Both are excited and looking forward to starting their first season in their blue and white.


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NFC North Training Camps Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:33:05 +0000 Now is the time of year, where teammates and competition go hand-in-hand.  Many view professional teams as some kind of unity. A brotherhood of sorts. Yet when there are jobs and careers on the line, things can get testy. There is always going to be a middle of the pack veteran who meets a rookie with upside which can lead to the veterans downfall.

Although the picture here has been painted dark, there is some light to be shed on the topic of NFL training camps. Big time free agent signings are finding their way into a system, new coaches have been put in place trying to implement a new philosophy and other players are trying to work to shed off an image or injury. Here are some things to look out for during the NFC North’s run at training camp this year:

Green Bay Packers:

The Packers won the division last year, mostly due to a lot of quality “smoke in mirrors” coaching by Mike McCarthy. This season, McCarthy is not looking to pull a rabbit out of the hat and somehow come up with a division title. His most important player Aaron Rodgers is back at full strength and ready to lead one of the NFL’s most dangerous offenses once again. For Rodgers, he needs to find some consistency in communication at the center and tight end positions.

Although it was against Rodgers wishes, the Packers let their center Evan Dietrich-Smith go off and sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This leaves two young faces having to fight for a starting job to be the ball-handler for one of the NFL’s most valuable commodities: Aaron Rodgers. Corey Linsley was drafted in the fifth round of this years draft out of Ohio State. Linsley is a strong kid, but lacks ideal athleticism. His instincts, when put on the spot, seemed to be two-steps-too-slow and may need time to develop his pass protection.

The other option at center is second year man J.C. Tretter. Tretter is coming off a fibula injury but unlike Lisley, the athleticism of Tretter is not questioned.  Tretter was at one time a basketball player and before playing center, he was a tight-end. He wants to be the long-term answer but a center coming off surgery and torn ligaments in his ankles – much needs to be proven.


The Packers also have to fill the void left at the tight end spot by Jermichael Finley. Andrew Quarless is the favorite over Ryan Taylor, but both are guys who have been in the league and haven’t left a mark, so to speak. Quarless is raved for being quite the athlete, but something hasn’t clicked in him yet, to get it into the next gear.

Both men need to worry about undrafted rookie Coly Lyerla out of Oregon. Colt has had some off-field trouble issues which raised flags during the draft and has had him suspended from Oregon but if he can focus on football, he has the tools to be head and shoulders the best tight end on the roster and someone who can provide immediate pay back on the “low-risk, high reward” scenario for Green Bay.

The Packers defense will be looking at three guys mainly in training camp. The first is their star line backer Clay Matthews. They expect Matthews to be 100% and ready to go, but he missed 4 games in 2012 and 5 games in 2013 so the team is worried about this becoming a habit. The second is free agent signing Julius Peppers. In a signing which seemed to be ignited more by spite than anything else, Peppers found a new home with the Bears longtime rivals, the Green Bay Packers. Peppers’ production has fallen off and the Packers will be looking to see how fresh the veteran looks and just how many consecutive downs he can keep himself into a game.

The last is another rookie, Ha-Ha Clinton Dix.  Ha-Ha is a hard hitting and extremely athletic safety who leaves a legendary college in Alabama to enter a legendary franchise in Green Bay.  They are expecting Dix to display the goods immediately in training camp because their depth at the safety position is thin and pretty much they are laying it all on him.

Detroit Lions:

The Lions are entering a new era, one which starts with new head coach Jim Caldwell. Caldwell is a coach who has something to prove and will try to do so with a roster that many call one of the most undisciplined in the league. The Lions didn’t do much to really bolster this weak secondary and are hoping that last years draft pick, Darius Slay can be depended on. Slay struggled keeping himself in the starting line-up and showed flares of what he can do, but was not to consistent. Slay needs to clearly separate himself from guys like Bill Bentely, Chris Greenwood and Jonte Green, who have struggled thus far in their careers to get anything going. Luckily for them, this secondary is so bad, they all have an equal chance of at least making the roster.


Offensively the Lions have a new coordinator, Joe Lombardi, from the New Orleans Saints. This will be something to keep a close eye on as Lombardi tries to introduce an offense very similar to the pace and intensity of the Saints’.

Interesting because although Lombardi is not what they call a “QB Guru” – Matthew Stafford has said that working with a QB Guru was (in his words) “Not my thing.”  Stafford has an awkward delivery and down the stretch last season made awful decisions – he needs all the help he can get. Lombardi will introduce a system that is nothing like the “jump ball” system that seemed to work out just fine for Calvin Johnson’s numbers. This will be a true implement of the Saints offense, the ball will not be focused on going to one main receiver (ask Marques Colston, how much fun it is to be a number one in that offense).

Will the injury prone Ryan Broyles and the “yet to have eclipsed 1000 yard receiving” addition of Golden Tate be able to take in an offense this complex? For Broyles, someone who played in Oklahoma, there should be little doubt – but for Tate, one who played in a traditional Notre Dame offense and a run-heavy Seattle Seahawks offense, one has to wonder how his game will translate.


Chicago Bears:

Marc Trestman has no doubts that his offense will continue to see success, but something the Bears can’t bank on, unfortunately, is the health of Jay Cutler. Last season, back up Josh McCown filled in admirably for the injured Cutler and helped keep the team alive right till the end of the season. McCown is no longer the number two in Chicago which leaves a back up competition going to Jordan Palmer, Jimmy Clausen and rookie David Fales. Fales may have the upper hand because he’s never played in this league before. Palmer and Clausen have been in the league for 6 and 5 years, respectively, and haven’t impressed many. Trestman is the “quarterback whisperer” though, so it will be interesting if he can revitalize the confidence and potential that once stirred in someone like Jimmy Clausen.

The Bears are probably the only team where the back-up quarterback job is reason for concern and the reason being is because there is so much talent on this offense, it’d be shame to waste it.  The one position on offense which is up for grabs is the slot-receiver.  Josh Morgan was once thought to be someone who could one day end up being a number one, or at worse a number two wide out – now it seems he has fitted himself into more of a “depth” guy.

In this offense, being the slot-receiver pretty much makes you a starter and Morgan would like to find that again at this stage in his career but it seems like he may be up against more than just second year wide out Marquess Wilson. He may be up Wilson, Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall.  How is that, you ask?  Simple.  Marshall and Jeffrey had invited Wilson in the off-season to join them in off-season workouts, which he wisely accepted.  This is the same off-season workout that Marshall did with Jeffrey last season, and that worked out quite well for Jeffrey.


Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was getting a lot of heat last year for how terrible the defense was. Although he definitely deserved some blame, the roster was battered, bruised and old.

Nobody should be more excited than Mel Tucker in the Bears training camp this year. Tucker was once the orchestrator of a Jaguars defense that ranked 6th in 2011. He is trying to regain that status and now he can try to mix more of his aggressive cover schemes worked in.

He has former pro-bowl corners Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings back in the fold but besides keeping an eye on the veteran Tillman, who is coming back from a triceps injury which sidelined him last season, watch for how Tillman and Jennings keep rookie Kyle Fuller up to speed in the defense. Fuller is a strong corner with a world of talent who will be looking to start at the nickel, but there is no doubt that he will eventually be taking over the job of either Tillman or Jennings in the near future.

The Bears will have to work three new free agents into the mix: Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young.  Besides being a force on the field, Allen was also brought in to add some attitude and leadership to a Bears defense that lacked that by the galloons last season. This will be important as second year linebackers Khaseem Greene and Jon Bostic will both be looking to earn starting jobs after a rookie season which saw Bostic missing tackles and Greene just looking lost at times on the field.

Minnesota Vikings:  Similar to the Lions, the Vikings also bring aboard and new head coach and new offensive coordinator. Mike Zimmer accepted the head coaching job after being defensive coordinator of the Bengals, and he brought along Norv Turner to blue print the offense. Zimmer didn’t have to be head coach for a single down and already proved how smart he was by hiring Norv Turner. All jokes aside about how Norv Turner’s as a head coach is more head scratching than anything else – the guy knows offense.


All eyes will be on the Vikings quarterback position during training camp. Christian Ponder will be hoping to at least be somewhere on the depth chart, as veteran Matt Cassel will be trying to fend off rookie Teddy Bridgewater. Cassel has always proven to be the consummate professional, but this may very well be the last chance he has to ever be the starting quarterback for a team in this league and he’ll be fighting till the end on this one.

Bridgewater is an intelligent quarterback who has a knack for NOT making the mistakes. Bridgewater is without a doubt the quarterback of Minnesota’s future (or so they hope) but that doesn’t mean the starting job will be handed over to him.

Turner loves working the ball deep and has a legit threat in second year wideout Cordarrelle Patterson. Turner also loves working tight ends into his system (check out the resumes of Antonio Gates and Jordan Cameron while under Turner) and Kyle Rudolf will undoubtedly get his this season – but after those two, who’s next? Veteran Greg Jennings will no doubt make the team but the question is “how much is in his tank?”

Jerome Simpson is one of those guys who has the tools, but never really puts it together. . .and behind those two are some hungry wideouts. Jarius Wright was drafted in 2012 and was never really put in a position to display his talents – under an architect like Turner, this may be his time to show off his speed. Rookie Cain Colter is a college fan favorite who is a good route runner and it’ll be interesting to see what comes out of the 6’5″ 220 pounder Rodney Smith who is coming into his second season.


G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio


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Beast Mode’s Soft Side – Marshawn Lynch Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:30:38 +0000 Marshawn Lynch once told Sports Illustrated  “I don’t want people to see another side of me…I don’t want to ruin my image.”  The image he’s referring to is Beast Mode.  If you are unfamiliar with Beast Mode, please enjoy what has now become one of the most popular runs in NFL Playoff history below:

Maybe his S.I. quote can explain his lack of motivation to speak with NFL reporters during Super Bowl week, which sent shockwaves around the social media sphere.  Lynch has had his share of ups and downs through out his NFL career.

After finding success as a California Golden Bear running back, Lynch was selected 14th overall in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.  As a rookie Lynch rushed for over a thousand yards, improving a 2006 rushing attack which ranked 27th in the NFL (the Bills ranked 15th in the 2007 season).

Beast Mode stuck around Buffalo until the 2010-11 season, when he was traded to Seattle for a 2011 4th-round draft pick due to his continued run-ins with the law and an overcrowded backfield (C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson still call Buffalo home).

Lynch hasn’t been held in the highest regard by the NFL media, making it hard to imagine the 5′ 11″, 215 lb. steam engine running back having a soft side.

Who knew Beast Mode’s soft side is as sweet as Skittles?


So sweet, the Seahawks and Lynch now have an endorsement deal with Skittles.

After winning Super Bowl XLVIII in February, July will play host to Lynch’s 8th annual free football camp through his foundation FAM 1st Family.  Lynch is the vice-president of the foundation, while the organization’s founder and president is Lynch’s cousin (and fellow NFL player) Josh Johnson.  The free football camp is just one of a handful annual events they set up and sponsor during the Summer months.

From the FAM 1st Foundation’s website,, the organization was founded to “improve the lives of children by mentoring them on the importance of education, literacy and self-esteem.” What you may not realize about the man they call Beast Mode is his capacity to give back to his community.

“The football camp was something for us to touch the youth and we understand that the youth is the most important part but we wanted to get parents involved as well so we started making events where they could come out and enjoy the festivities as well,” Lynch said in an interview with Yahoo! Sports Talk Live.

Monday June 23rd is “The Big Golf Game,” which is a charity golf tournament ran by the FAM 1st Foundation and will feature Lynch and Johnson in person.

With cash prizes for the top three contestants, the FAM 1st Foundation is hosting a talent show on July 10th because “…it is our responsibility to help our youth see the special talents they have within them and help them to dig deep and be both creative and outgoing,” from

For a complete listing of all of the charity events please visit the foundation’s website.

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Competition Escalates on Day 2 of Browns Training Camp Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 The Browns’ players entered day two of training camp with two things on their minds: improving as a team, as well as enhancing their individual chances of making the final roster. In reference to competition, Browns’ general manager Ray Farmer said it best in today’s presser,

“Again for us, it’s about driving the competition and pushing the roster. Always looking to incrementally get better. If we can push the guys that are at the bottom end of the roster, if you will, to pushing those next guys, it’ll improve all of us.”

Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another — the Browns undoubtedly bear this philosophy by the number of position battles taking place this summer. Below is a list of position battles that are beginning to heat up.


Hoyer Vs. Manziel

Manziel vs Hoyer

The position battle that everyone is talking about is at the quarterback position — ostensibly the most important position on the field. For the moment Brian Hoyer appears to have a much better command of where the football is supposed to go, and has done a good job of getting it there quickly. Hoyer connected on two deep balls to Anthony Armstrong and looked very good throwing the out route. At this juncture, the offense has greater synergy and cohesiveness with Hoyer.

Johnny Manziel, who will continue to work with the second-team offense at least through Tuesday (according to head coach Mike Pettine), is enduring the typical ups and downs of a rookie quarterback. Occasionally Manziel appears to be thinking entirely too much instead of hitting his back foot on a three-step drop and getting the ball out of his hands.

He’s also drifting instead of stepping into throws in the face of pressure causing him to push the football as opposed to throwing it with velocity. As a result, the nose of the football is elevated over the back end causing the ball to sail and lose steam. However teammate wide receiver Nate Burleson had some flattering things to say about the young quarterback, as well as the quarterback competition.

“I love Johnny. I do. Johnny is for real. I like confident quarterbacks. I like guys that are borderline cocky . . . . We’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve got two guys competing for the same spot and we can’t go wrong either way. It’s exciting.”


Wide Receiver

Andrew Hawkins Browns

The wide receiver position is a hodgepodge group of veteran and young players looking to make a name for themselves. Andrew Hawkins has been the most consistent wide receiver of the bunch the first two days of camp. Hawkins has showcased outstanding burst and ability after the catch that made him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses during his time in Cincinnati.


Miles Austin



Miles Austin used his large frame to beat Buster Skrine on a fly pattern during one-on-ones, but he has been rather inconsistent.





Anthony Armstrong



Anthony Armstrong had his best day today pulling down two deep balls, beating Joe Haden for one of them.





Charles Johnson who is coming off of a torn ACL flashed his speed during team period as he effortlessly created separation. During Farmer’s presser he spoke about Johnson’s talent stating,

 “The easy things are all . . .  recognizable right away, that he’s 6-foot-2 and a half, 215 pounds. He ran a 4.38 40 [yard dash]. Those are the easy pieces, but when you watch tape you really like his hands . . . . You can see that he’s still big. He’s still fast and he can run routes and catch the football.”

Johnson is an intriguing player, and one that the Browns are hoping will become a consistent contributor sooner rather than later.




Taylor Gabriel small pic


Taylor Gabriel continues to impress as he caught Joe Haden standing flatfooted and bolted past he and Tashaun Gipson for a long completion from Brian Hoyer. The extra time he is spending pre-and-post practice working on his get off is also paying off.

Matched up against Justin Gilbert, Gabriel had Gilbert off balance from the beginning of the play. While the ball didn’t come his direction, the coaches will watch the practice film and recognize Gabriel beat his man, and he beat him quickly.




Willie Snead Browns


Willie Snead should not be left off of the list of final roster hopefuls as he had a very good second day of practice. Snead showcased very good hands as he caught everything thrown in his general vicinity. Whether the ball was contested, thrown high or low, Snead made the grab. Snead may lack long speed, but he does have short area quickness necessary to get open consistently drawing favorable comparisons to Lance Moore.


Defensive Backs

One thing for certain is that Joe Haden’s job is safe, however the No.2 cornerback spot is up for grabs. The competition between Buster Skrine and Justin Gilbert will be a good one, but no matter how it pans out, Browns fans will likely be happy with the result.


Buster Skrine vs Gilbert


Buster Skrine elevated his game last season and it appears he’s picking up right where he left off. In one-on-ones he allowed the catch from Miles Austin, but after that, he had an exceptional day. His best play of the morning was when he was in a trail technique and recovered just in time to bat down a pass intended for Josh Gordon.

In reference to the competition with Gilbert, Skrine said,

“I just feel like I’m coming out here and competing with myself. Just trying to get better every play.”

Like the majority of the rookies, Gilbert was rather inconsistent today, but his athleticism is apparent. During one-on-ones, Gilbert stayed inside Jonathan Krause’s hip pocket and made a leaping interception. Unfortunately the good would soon turn to bad as he displayed inconsistent technique as he opened his hips too early, which allowed receivers to gain separation, specifically on short to intermediate routes.


As I stated in yesterday’s practice wrap up, Gilbert is going to have to learn to trust what he sees and close on the football with greater urgency. With that said, he’s young and he’ll catch on soon, it’s just a matter of time.


Tate Vs. West

Ben Tate Browns

The running back position, it’s essentially a two-man battle between Ben Tate and Terrance West, and this competition will likely last until the bitter end of training camp.


Ben Tate is a big back with exceptional athleticism, and experience in a zone-blocking scheme. However, in two practices Tate has not looked the part of a running back with experience in a zone-blocking scheme. Tate has occasionally missed cutback lanes, has been rather impatient and overall has not made the best decisions with the football in his hands.

When asked about his competition Terrance West, Tate said,

 “I really don’t know, we’re only two days in. [You] can’t tell a lot. Football is played with the pads on so, to me, the real evaluation of people really starts [then].”


We’ll see if Tate is able to stave off his competition throughout camp. In order to do so, he’s going to have to improve upon his performances from the last couple of days, irrespective of whether or not the team is practicing in pads.

Terrance West

Terrance West continues to shine and has been the most consistent running back in the first two practices. He’s shown vision, patience and lateral quickness necessary to maximize yards in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. He’s also proven that he can catch the football exceptionally well.

Many people believed that because he didn’t have a ton of receptions at Townson, that he couldn’t catch the football. His last two days of practices have proven those thoughts on his “inability to catch the ball” completely wrong. Terrance West might be the most natural pass-catching running back on the team outside of Dion Lewis.


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New England Patriots’ Matthew Slater Joins the Insightful Player Team Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:48:12 +0000  insightfulplayer-r

Nashua, NH, July 28, 2014 – New England Patriots team captain Matthew Slater is the newest member of the Insightful Player team.  A seven-year NFL veteran, Slater was selected to the Insightful Player team for his profound sense of spirituality, his love of family, his leadership skills, and his eagerness to reach out to the community.

Insightful Player®, a bold movement of hope that features inspiring stories, and programs about great NFL role models to inspire youth is now featuring Slater’s story on the Insightful Player website.

An Insightful Player® is a person of integrity, such as a current or former NFL player, who shares their personal message of hope for the sole purpose of lifting the spirits of all, especially children. Slater joins a roster of Insightful Players which includes: Doug Baldwin (Seahawks), Jason Campbell (Browns),  Benjamin Watson (Saints), Jerricho Cotchery (Panthers), Steve Grogan (Patriots), Steve Nelson (Patriots), Andre Tippet (Patriots), Roger Staubach (Cowboys), Devin McCourty (Patriots), Jason McCourty (Titans), Kyle Arrington (Patriots) and Usama Young (Raiders), among others. There are currently 48​ members on the Insightful Player team with more players joining each week.

Photo by Ed RunyonInsightful Player is an approved partner of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA).

“Matthew Slater has been guided by his faith throughout his life and has always been motivated more by love and devotion to God and his family than by a wish for athletic glory or the adulation that comes with it. He is a very kind and humble man who has tremendous passion, for contributing to others. He brings out the best in everyone, and he leaves a permanent impression on your heart. Matthew is a caring leader, wonderful role model and a valued member of the Insightful Player team,” said Coach Carew, founder of Insightful Player.

Matthew said, “Insightful Player is great to get out a positive message that has substance and impact on the lives of young people and older people as well. I am encouraged that we have platforms like this to reach people in a positive way.”

To read Matthew’s story visit, -slater/

The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified and Board Ceritified Personal and Business Coach and Author of her book, INSIGHTFUL PLAYER: Football Pros Lead A Bold Movement of Hope. Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr. He is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. The Insightful Player® initiative was created to help make our world a much better place by inspiring youth.

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Steve Young is Passing on Hope with the Forever Young Foundation Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:30:39 +0000 Steve YoungSteve Young – you know the NFL Hall of Famer, yeah that Steve Young — became famous for the work he did with his left arm on Sunday’s. It was his famous left arm that helped him lead his team to win a Super Bowl and two NFL Most Valuable Player awards.

But the southpaw quarterback, who starred at Brigham Young University and then later with the San Francisco 49ers, is now becoming famous for his work off the field.

The Forever Young Foundation is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1993 by Steve Young. The Forever Young Foundation is committed to of serve children facing significant physical, emotional, and financial challenges by providing academic, athletic, and therapeutic opportunities otherwise unavailable to them. The funds raised by the foundation will further their efforts to provide an array of opportunities that are currently not at the disposal of the children in the community.

The Forever Young Foundation believes the best way to remain vital and youthful and to have a lasting impact for good is to pass hope and resources on to those members of the next generation who need assistance the most.

For the past 21 years, the foundation has lived up to its’ creed and has been relentless in serving children throughout U.S. by making a conscious effort to do everything in its power to aid underserved communities.

Young’s foundation has made strides in putting development projects in communities across the U.S. Their development projects include Forever Young Zones, which provide technology, multimedia labs, as well as state-of-the-art interactive play areas in children’s hospitals. They also have partnered with the NFL in their nationwide development of Youth Education Town Centers (YET Centers) in each Super Bowl city. They have primarily focused their efforts in Northern California, Arizona, and Utah.

One of the most crowning achievements that the foundation made during its tenure of charitable of work was in 2007. When Steve Young collaborated with close friend, Elder Robert Gray, and his charitable organization, Engage Now Africa, to lend aid to the people of Western Africa. Forever Young stuck to it’s commitment of community outreach and are helping to fight poverty, illness, and illiteracy in the countries of Ethiopia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Namibia. Through the funding of schools, microcredit loans, and humanitarian assistance, Forever Young and Engage Now Africa are empowering Africans to address their challenges with sustainable solutions.

In 2007, the Forever Young Foundation began installing playgrounds, Sport Courts and artificial turf fields in Ghana. The Forever Young Foundation built a Sport Court in Accra at the Golden Sunbeam School; it is believed to be one of the first Sport Courts ever installed in Africa. Ironically, one of Ghana’s most beloved sport stars first honed his skills on the Golden Sunbeam court. He would eventually go on to play football at Young’s alma mater, BYU, and is now in the NFL. And what is the name of this Ghanaian superstar you ask? Refer to the name Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, who was drafted 5th overall to the Detroit Lions in last year’s NFL Draft.

Ansah has even said that at some point in his career he would like to partake in charitable work similar to what Steve Young has accomplished with the Forever Young Foundation. Ansah said that he would like to put on football clinics for kids, find other ways to offer services to his homeland.

Of course nobody would have expected that Steve Young and his foundation would unsuspectingly play apart of such an improbable story. But in that crazy story, lies the beauty of helping others. It just goes to show that you never know how many lives could be changed forever by a simple act of kindness and a group of people that are willing to go the extra mile to help others. And if that act of kindness can be passed on from one to another, who knows what wonders this world could bring or how many Ansah-like-stories are waiting to be told if given the chance to?

To learn more information on how to get involved with the Forever Young Foundation and to attend any future events, please visit the Forever Young Foundation website at

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The Chris Draft Family Foundation Sun, 27 Jul 2014 13:45:39 +0000 chris draft and wifeAnyone who ever picked up a pigskin knows the feeling; the desire to reach the “next level”. All of us have dreams of scoring a touchdown, performing a Lambeau Leap or participating in the climactic promenade through a game day tunnel. Some people even conceptualize an afternoon at Radio City Music Hall in which their name is being announced on Day 1 of the NFL draft. Let’s face it, we have all had these visions at one point or another. We say stuff like, “I could’ve been the best. . .” as well as “I should’ve run harder,” and “If I didn’t get hurt, I would’ve been amazing”. Yes, we have heard it all. Every single excuse has been heard. Every little setback has been vocalized. Every football story has been told. And while there is no turning back the clock or amending the circumstances which led a person to NOT to make the NFL, who said someone still can’t fulfill their childhood dream of being a DRAFT PICK? Ask former NFL prodigy Chris Draft what I mean because his family foundation is revolutionizing leadership across the entire country.

Established by 13 year NFL vet Chris Draft, The Chris Draft Family Foundation (CDFF) has effectively impacted thousands of communities since 2006. The foundation is centered on multiple initiatives that include an advocacy for the importance of education, healthy lifestyles, character development, physical-fitness, and self-discipline.

A primary aim of the foundation is the partnership between national and local community organizations. These partnerships are a perfect collaboration because a lot of daunting communal issues become resolved as a result of joint efforts. Families are equipped with didactic resources; thereby able to prosper and uplift themselves from the unfortunate situations as well as circumstances that often beleaguer them. Bottom line: citizens from towns, cities, and territories across the country feel their sense of purpose as they are empowered by the foundation. The foundation’s immense guidance percolates through communities in Chicago, Buffalo, Washington, San Francisco, Charlotte, Atlanta, St. Louis, Anaheim, and a number of other regions. So, who keeps the CDFF’s turnstile operable?

DRAFT’S PICKS™ are the one’s changing the world, one community at a time. They are indispensable ambassadors who hale from schools, clubs, and teams. They are presidents of various organizations, committee leaders, and active volunteers. As the foundation says,

“They (Draft Picks) are committed, they stand up, and they are trying to change the world.” Draft’s Picks™ can be summed up like this: “Draft’s Picks™ come from all walks of life and are supported by the foundation through special invite-only events throughout the year. The foundation welcomes Draft’s Picks™ as their hand-picked ambassadors, charged with sharing the message and lessons from carefully planned events back to their respective community thereby extending the messages beyond a single event or day. Draft’s Picks™ help the Chris Draft Family Foundation extend the mission that is the driving force behind all activity – empowering and uplifting communities by educating families to make healthier choices.”

The foundation identifies family dynamics play a pivotal role in children’s lives. Likewise, family is a charismatic force where values are drawn from. If a family is properly educated by ambassadors then a family’s ambitious undertakings may be maximized. And the most beneficial aspect to the Draft’s Picks™ are that these entrusted deputies disseminate the CDFF’s core advice while representing different age groups. Sometimes you have high school athletes affirming the CDFF’s mission statement whereas other times you may have a non-profit president counseling families about the CDFF’s lessons. Regardless, these leaders are conferring the CDFF’s wisdom on the public.

It gets better, Draft has other diverse sets of “teams” outside of the Draft’s Picks™. On one hand you have “Team Draft” which is responsible for working to save those with lung cancer; this was inspired by the passing of Draft’s wife Keasha to the horrible disease.

The “Asthma Team™” is a social support network for those tackling asthma. Another team is the “Character Team™” which recognizes a stream of ethical role models and principles in communities nationwide. “Literacy Leaders™” lead the charge for education, networking, and encourage reading.

At the end of it all, Chris Draft has devised a strategic method to reaching demographic audiences while relaying the CDFF’s mission, vision, and goal. People misconstrue, at times, that they are leading a robust lifestyle full of rich choices; this occurs according to what information people have been taught, understand, and readily incorporate into their lives. Draft is offering priceless information, a bulwark of resources, and unparalleled support on behalf of the ever growing organization partnerships. The “Teams” currently in place are the cement of the CDFF’s operations scheme.

A Look into #TeamDraft:

There is a quote from John Quincy Adams (on the CDFF’s website) that sums up the entire foundation’s ventures to this point:

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Since graduating from Stanford, Chris Draft’s actions have inspired others to dream more, do more, and become more. He is a guardian of the nation with the CDFF, fighting for those with lung cancer, and inspiring people of all ages. Draft could have lived in recluse after the passing of his wife, but just as he stuck by Keasha’s side till the end, he’s sticking by people’s sides; whether they have lung cancer or not. The #NeverGiveUp Jimmy V way is triumphant, and it would seem that Chris Draft will NEVER GIVE UP on people, even when most others would be hesitant to approach a “stranger”.




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Kansas City Chiefs’ – Jamaal Charles Cashes In Sun, 27 Jul 2014 13:26:55 +0000 Jamaal Charles 1Jamaal Charles signed a 2 year, 18.1 mil extension with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was going to make 3.9 mil this year, but will now make 8.3 mil. Andy Reid spoke with the media to give an update on some of the progress and happenings going on with the team. Reid spoke about the importance of getting, the 28 year old, Charles extension getting dealt with quickly and getting him back in the fold.  “I thought he’d be here. I figured it’d all work out. They were communicating. I always say if they’re talking that’s always a good thing. I didn’t anticipate him not being here. I knew he wanted to be here and do his thing. I think it’s a good thing. Continuity is always big. The team, that’s big and getting back to work. Getting yourself together as a football team”, said Reid.

Charles was the workhorse back for the Chiefs last year with 349 touches, but Reid said he isn’t worried about overusing him and has never worried about overusing a player, saying, “we have enough players here to spread the ball around and everybody gets a piece of it.” Reid knows how important Charles is to the offense, he said all he can do is coach the players that show up. He is glad that Charles is here and knows that the same thing maybe coming with Alex Smith and Justin Houston with both of their deals being negotiated, but he said, “it’s all part of the game. I’ve always said whoever is here, we’re going to coach. That’s how we go about it. I understand the game. I’ve been around it a bit so those things happen.”

Jamaal Charles spoke about his new extension saying, “It felt good. I would just like to thank God, first of all, and I would like to thank the Hunt family and my teammates and the fans and everybody that supported me. I didn’t even want to hold out, that’s not my personality. I couldn’t do it. I just wanted to get the deal done. I could’ve held out and got more money, but I’m just happy with what I have for right now. I just wanted to build something here, and build a championship; I want to win a Super Bowl. It’s more than just trying to hold out, I didn’t even want to be selfish like that; that’s not my personality, I wanted to just come back and play football.


Charles, being such a big part of the offense, probably had leverage if he wanted to hold out, but he said, “I couldn’t do it. I wanted to do it, but it’s just not me. I’m not a cocky player; I’m not one of those players who would do that to my team. I’ve always been a team player the whole time I’ve been here, and I’ve done everything they’ve asked me. I couldn’t hold out, I was just ready to get the deal done and move forward.” Going along with that “not being a cocky guy” statement, Charles won’t even say if he feels he’s the best back in the league, saying that he’ll let the people decide that. Charles knows he is coming up on some Chief records being held by Priest Holmes in the 1st quarter of the season, but he’s not just satisfied with that. He’s got his eyes on bigger goals personally, such as Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders.

The Chiefs have big team goals this year and they know to accomplish their goals they need their big time players happy and under contract. Jamaal Charles is the centerpiece of this offense and with him ready to go for 2014, the Chiefs plan to be a Superbowl contender in the AFC. They were already 1 of the best defenses in the league last year, now with everyone more familiar with Andy Reid’s offense, they plan to make the leap on that side of the ball. If they can, the Kansas City Chiefs may be on their way to a trip to Glendale, Arizona for Superbowl XLIX.

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Notes From Gary Kubiak’s First Ravens Training Camp Presser Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 New offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak has had some time to implement his offense with the Baltimore Ravens. The offense had a solid day in their second practice, their first one with the pads on. Kubiak was available for a presser after practice. He had some good things to share and he shed some light on what the Ravens offense is looking to get done.

flacco-kubiakJoe Flacco was seen stretching out after starting practice. There was some concern that he was injured but Kubiak cleared that up for the media.

“Joe [Flacco] was fine. He was trying to stretch out. It’s a long day, a tough day of practice, first day in pads. Throwing motion sometimes gets different when you put the pads on. He had an excellent practice.”

This is a new scheme for Flacco as well. Kubiak uses a lot of west coast offense principles in the passing game. This transition should help reduce the 48 sacks that they gave up last year which tied the Ravens with the Buffalo Bills for 28th in the NFL. He spoke about how they plan to cut down on the sacks.

“His ability to go through progressions to me is exceptional. He’s bought into the things that we teach with the feet. We teach to read with your feet and get the ball gone. We have to cut the sacks down. That’s a big point of emphasis. The best way to do this is to get the quarterback to get rid of the ball.”

Kubiak has been known as a quarterback friendly coach. He was a backup quarterback to John Elway when they played for the Denver Broncos. His experience as a quarterback has made an impact on where he calls games from. Kubiak said that he will call the offensive plays from down on the field instead of the box.

“I plan on being on the field because I’ve done that for the last eight years. I have Rick Denison up in the box for me so it’s a rhythm, something that I’ve done most of my career. I will be down there so I can be there for Joe when he comes off the field so that we can talk.”

When asked about the offense, Kubiak says that he’s been “very impressed. He pointed out that the team has adjusted well and emphasized how important it is for Flacco to be very comfortable with the system.

Much has been made about the Ravens utilizing zone running concepts and how that matches their personnel. Kubiak offered some insight on his scheme. He also talked about needing to establish continuity among the offensive line.

740Ravens Camp Football“We are going to run the ball well. We are a zone team, a rhythmic team that does the same thing a lot of different ways. That’s the way we teach. Our guys are responding to it. The most important thing is that we have our five [offensive line] together everyday for every rep. We run a gap scheme too. We do both. Everyone says that we are a zone team which we are, that is our base teaching but we are going to run gap schemes, we have big physical guards in KO and Marshall. We are going to let them go down too. We will do what we have to do to move the football.”

The Ravens have three players that have played in Kubiak’s system before in tight end Owen Daniels, wide receiver Jacoby Jones and running back Justin Forsett. Kubiak pointed out that these players will help him get the other players familiar with his offense.

“Owen Daniels knows what we do. He’s able to talk to Dennis. When we are in there coaching then we walk out on the field he can show him that this is what we want. Jacoby has been a great help as well. Justin has helped Ray and those guys. Those three guys being familiar with what we are doing helps me it has a few more coaches on the field.”

Steve Smith never played for Kubiak before but having a veteran like Smith always helps when it comes to being a mentor for younger guys. Here are Kubiak’s comments about Smith and his impact:

“The first thing that jumps out with Steve Smith is that this is year 15. It’s amazing to play that long. It tells you how he takes care of himself. The juice that he has as a player at this stage in his career is so impressive. He’s a confident, energizing person on the field. He has a background in some west coast stuff from a few years back. Steve loves to play, loves to compete. When you get to that stage in your career, you see a few young guys and how they have a chance to be a really good player. That’s what I see from Steve. I see him responding. We have some really good looking, young receivers out there. It’s going to be a very competitive situation. Butler and Davis have done some good things. Campanaro is out there now and competing. I think Steve sees that they have a chance to help out team and he’s just trying to help them all.”

The opportunity to work in the classroom and teach his offense has been re-energizing to Kubiak. Getting the opportunity to install a new offense and test it against the Ravens defense is a challenge. It’s one that Kubiak welcomes and he has enjoyed it. It is a refreshing change after the exhausting year that he spent as the head coach of the Houston Texans last year. Kubiak was emotionally spent. His health was is jeopardy also when he collapsed as he walked off the field during a November game against the Indianapolis Colts. This is a new opportunity and Kubiak  has full intentions of taking advantage of it.








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Sights and Sounds of Browns Training Camp — Day 1 Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Excitement filled the air in Berea, Ohio at the anticipation of the first day of Browns’ training camp. As the veterans took the field alongside the newly acquired rookies, Pro Player Insider was there to witness what many perceive as the dawning of a new age in Cleveland Browns’ football.

brian hoyer

Hoyer Vs. Manziel

Brian Hoyer took all of the first-team reps, and did a very good job getting rid of the football at the top of his drops, and generally made good decisions with the football. Hoyer did however force the football into a tight window, which resulted in an interception by Tashaun Gipson. Overall, Hoyer threw the football with very good velocity and showed a level of mastery of the offense that the other quarterbacks, frankly, currently do not possess.

Manziel had a very good day, but he will need to improve upon one of two things to consistently complete the 10-yard out: his anticipation, or sheer velocity on the football. On multiple occasions, the ball lost steam on the way to its intended target on out routes. Conversely there were positives. Manziel did complete a couple of throws across the middle of the field, fitting the ball into tight windows. He also connected on a long bomb to talented rookie wide receiver Taylor Gabriel from Abilene Christian University. Manziel will continue to make strides throughout camp, and his play will improve as he becomes more comfortable with the playbook.Taylor Gabriel 350x350


Wide Receivers

Miles Austin appears to be healthy as he made a couple of plays in the Browns’ first practice of training camp. He beat Justin Gilbert across the middle and later made a leaping grab on a 10-yard out against Buster Skrine.

Hawkins did an outstanding job getting off the ball during one-on-ones and looked exceptionally quick after the catch.

Taylor Gabriel showcased his quickness during one-on-ones as defensive backs could hardly lay a hand on him. He also exhibited tremendous long speed when he put the entire defensive secondary in a trail technique on his way to hauling in a long pass from Manziel. Look for Taylor Gabriel to continue to flash his talents throughout camp.

Charles Johnson is still rehabbing from his ACL injury and there is no exact date set for his return.

Terrance West

Running Backs

Terrance West had a very good day in one-on-ones as well as during team period. During one-on-ones, he displayed ball skills akin to a wide receiver, hauling in two one-handed catches during the period. His vision and cutting ability were also on display during the team period of practice. He routinely found and exploited cutback lanes that the other running backs simply were not seeing.

Ben Tate is slated to be the starter, however he did not look sharp today. On two occasions he was late to recognize cutback lanes and as a result left yards on the field. Tate was also caught with his shoulders perpendicular to the line of scrimmage entirely too long and was chased down from behind by Buster Skrine. Skrine was able to knock the football away from Tate and cause a fumble.

Edwin Baker had a strong finish to his 2013 campaign as he rushed for 122 yards, and 1 touchdown in his final two outings. He’s eager to prove that his late-season performance was not a fluke, and it’s safe to say he’s off to a good start. Baker displayed exemplary patience behind the line of scrimmage and excellent burst through the hole. Baker’s vision and quickness will likely put him in position to make the Browns’ final roster.


Defensive Backs

The Browns have a plethora of talented players in the defensive secondary and one of them will become the starting cornerback on the opposite side of Joe Haden. Buster Skrine and Justin Gilbert both made plays today, but neither player did much to separate themselves in the running for the No. 2 cornerback position.

Skrine worked with the first-team defense for the majority of the day. It was Skrine who tipped the ball that subsequently led to the Tashaun Gipson interception. He looked very fluid in his backpedal and did a nice job sprinting forward and separating the wide receiver from the football.

The mantra for Justin Gilbert the remainder of the camp should be, “Keep your feet.” Gilbert lost his footing on multiple occasions, and allowed Anthony Armstrong, Andrew Hawkins and Miles Austin to gain separation as a result. When he kept everything in front of him, he was able to drive on the football and occasionally knock the ball away from the quarterback’s intended target.

Larger cornerbacks are en vogue and Pierre Desir certainly fits the mode at 6-foot-1, 198 pounds. Desir is aware he has to work on staying low out of his transition from his backpedal in order to maintain sound technique. Nevertheless, his desire to continue to further the nuances of his game didn’t stop him from flashing his talents for coaches on the first day of practice.

Desir jammed Chandler Jones at the line of scrimmage, prohibiting Jones from releasing off the ball, which drew oohs and ahhs from his teammates as well as the fans. Much was made about Desir’s “lack of speed” during the pre-draft process, but the concerns were not warranted. Desir ran stride-for-stride with Taylor Gabriel on a fly pattern, which should go a long way toward eliminating many of the purported worries regarding his speed.

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Chargers Kick Off Training Camp Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Three thousand fans showed up Thursday morning for the first Charger Training Camp of the 2014 season. Kick off for the 2014 season doesn’t officially commence till September 4th, however it feels like it has for fans, players and coaches as 4020 Murphy Canyon Road was packed this morning. San Diego hot and hopping right now with even Comic Con just down the street during a heat wave.


A whole new season just about to start!

Chargers Training Camp Photo ©desireeastorga

41 days till #2014NFL SEASON officially kicks off! Yes, I have been counting! First Charger pre-season game less than 2 weeks away, fans picking their seats, new acquisitions, rookies, vets, new offensive cord and sophomore year for HC Mike McCoy.


It’s been as expected a pretty busy few days,


Larry English was released making the 2009 draft class obsolete in SD.

Danny Woodhead signs a two-year extension contract.

“Danny is an integral part of our offense,” said General Manager Tom Telesco.  “His work ethic and on-field production were key elements last year.  We look forward to having him be a part of the Chargers organization into the future.”


Conditioning, Jeromey Clary put on PUP and Jonas Mouton was waived, failed physical.



Excitement in the air on both sides of the ball as we patiently wait for the 2014 Charger roster to unfold.  Passion, competition with an air of family on the field as fans watched with enthusiasm as 89 players, among them the Rookie class and additions all rallying for a spot on the soon to be 53 man roster.

2014 Draft Class

  • RD 1 (25th overall) CB Jason Verrett  TCU
  • RD 2 (50th overall) OLB Jerry Attaochu  Georgia Tech
  • RD 3 (89th overall) DT Ryan Carrethers  Arkansas State
  • RD 6 (201st overall) RB Marion Grice  Arizona State
  • RD 7 (240th overall) WR Tevin Reese  Baylor

New draft picks and acquired players all dressed to impress coaches, teammates and on lookers alike while vets continued to show why they’re in San Diego. Camp commenced with even new soap in the media room restroom.

 Rookie OLB, Jason Attaochu,  “Reminds me of first day of college camp”.

Defense: with a new look, many new additions, the draft brought a lot of hope to the defense along with former rival CB Brandon Flowers via KC.

Charger #1 Draft Pick, Jason Verrett, out with the first team

Charger #1 Draft Pick, Jason Verrett, out with the first team

WR Eddie Royal, shared his excitement “I like the group of guys we have, it started with OTA’s and mini camps. Guys out there competing, were having fun and we just love being out there on the field, we have a group of guys that love playing football and whenever your around that it makes the game a lot better for you”.

But what’s also buzzing is the new Offensive Coordinator and an actual run or should I say a more balanced offense and the promise of an even more productive red zone and an upbeat tempo from Frank Reich. The former NFL QB (1985-1998) brings years of experience on the field and off as a coach, as well.

#FBF Charger Training Camp 2006 Photo ©desireeastorga

#FBF Charger Training Camp 2006 Photo ©desireeastorga


“You have to be an aggressive play caller,” Reich said. “That doesn’t mean more passes than runs. It means situational football, knowing what to do, how to take advantage of it and trusting your players to do what you call.”




“With Frank as offensive coordinator, we will be able to maintain continuity on offense and help maximize the production by Philip and the entire unit,” HC Mike McCoy stated, “He has a great feel for the offense we have created and he has been a valuable asset to Philip and all of the quarterbacks.”



On a sad note…

Rivers to Gates #FBF photo ©desiree astorga

Rivers to Gates #FBF photo ©desiree astorga

With tons of elation for the commencement of Camp, the day however started with a lump in everyone’s stomach and hearts as news came out this morning that Antonio Gates 22 year old sister, Pamela had passed; she had been suffering from Lupus for three years. My heart and prayers go out to Antonio and the entire Gates family. Its been shared that after every game last season he would fly to Detroit to be with her.

Again prayers, as my heart is in my stomach, tough, tough times for the Gates Family



First Preseason game

Thursday August 7th




Thanks for being my opening kick return as I start the 2014 NFL season. It’s going to be an amazing and challenging season as Chargers face the NFC West and AFC North this year.

Desiree Astorga
Photographer, producer, host, reporter, radio & TV, One-man-army, artist, skateboarder
Time out with Desiree, the silver linings
An optimistic realist with intermittent football tourettes all the while searching for the 3rd dimension.
The DesireeSHOW


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Arizona Cardinals 2014 Training Camp Preview Sat, 26 Jul 2014 13:00:34 +0000 For the second year in a row, the Arizona Cardinals 2014 training camp will be held at University of Phoenix Stadium. As it gets underway this weekend, there are several positions that will have some intense competition throughout camp along with expectations on individuals that may have break out seasons.

The position that is the most important for the team is the offensive line, as it has been for the last several years. Putting the best o-line on the field is critical in a division featuring some of the leagues best pass rushing units.

Arizona Cardinals Jared Valdheer Photo by Trish Scott

The left side of the line seems to be stable with the off-season signing of free agent Jared Veldheer. The return of first round draft pick from 2013 Jonathan Cooper is cemented in his respective position. Although Cooper has been said to not be physically 100% as of yet, training camp should get him up to speed.

As for the right side “let the competition begin” between Bobby Massie and Bradley Sowell at right tackle, and Paul Fanaika and Earl Watford at right guard. There are no clear cut starters named since the team decided not to bring back Erick Winston. This will make for a battle in camp that probably wont get decided until the last day or perhaps extend into the season.

The buzz around camp is that Watford is a big and strong, young man showing vast improvement and with a little more work could be the favorite. It will be hard to overcome the experience of Fanaika and it is clear nether one will get cut as they provide much needed depth either way.

The next major position that will get most of the attention will be the battle of filling in for the loss of line-backer Daryl Washington. Who will emerge and secure a position which was a strong point for the number one ranked rush defense in the league last year.

Second year man Kevin Minter is the front runner but has limited experience; although, he does show the most upside at the position. Then its by committee after that, the team will look to get some consistency as early as possible. Now that the team will be in pads it will be easier to gage where they are or how far they are from finding the clear replacement.

Larry Fitzgerald Arizona Cardinals Photographer Trish ScottThe fun position of wide receiver will be the most exciting to watch, as the emergence of Michael Floyd has caused talk whether he can be the future number one receiver and surpass the great Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is still the clear cut number one and camp should not change that, the only thing that will change is production in games that count.

Should Floyd break-out and start demanding double teams then maybe the talk of changing the guard can commence, but don’t look for a great receiver like Fitzgerald to go quietly into the night, he is still at the top of his game.

The rookie battle for the speed wide–out will be electric between highly spoken of third round selection John Brown from Pittsburgh State and six round pick Walter Powell out of Murray State. The Cardinals lacked a speed receiver to stretch the field and now they have three on the roster. How many they will keep and in what order is to be determined. Although, Ted Ginn Jr. should be the teams clear cut third receiver. Brown has gotten much praise in OTA’s for his quick learning of the playbook, potentially giving him an edge going into camp.patrick-Peterson-Arizona-Cardinals3

Many fans are waiting to see how the defensive backs Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie will look together, and if they can be the shut down guys they have talked about in the media all summer. Which Cromartie will they get? If it’s the one of two years ago this could make for a very good and scary secondary, once the honey badger Tyrann Mathieu returns from an ACL injury suffered last year.

Bruce Arians has already made it clear that Carson Palmer is his one and Drew Stanton his number two quarterbacks respectively. The third spot is up for the taking as Ryan Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians Photographer Trish ScottLindley and rookie fourth round draft pick Logan Thomas will make for a very interesting battle.
Lindley starts out with the upper hand seeing he has one year of the Arians system under his learning belt.

As a rookie it may be hard for Logan to make up the gap, but in the NFL when a QB is drafted fairly high he’s usually the one specially picked for the future. Making it a disadvantage for Lindley who was not drafted by this new coaching staff. Both guys face some pretty big challenges during camp.

The Cardinals will not keep four QB’s on the active roster to start the season so this battle will have to play out in pre-season. Arians has already announced Palmer will not play much in camp, leaving minutes for these two guys to put their best foot forward and seize the job.

Also intriguing will be how much work Andre Ellington will get seeing he has been named the featured back. he will be a heavy part in the offense this year, perhaps as heavily used as a Jamaal Charles or LeSean McCoy in the offense. Therefore he will need to be preserved and not put in harms way during preseason. We probably will see more of Taylor and Dwyer which will be battling for the short yardage role. Although, seeing both get equal reps in game action this season is likely to happen.

There is a lot to look for today as the fans should pack the front bleachers with flickering lights from the cameras going off. Along with all the yelling of their favorite players, as the excitement of another season gets started. High expectations from the team and fans may be at an all time high, but one thing is for certain, expectations bring excitement.

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Ticket Lottery For Fan Appreciation Day Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:34:31 +0000
RICHMOND, Va. – In response to a record number of Training Camp fan invitation registrations, the Washington Redskins announced a ticket lottery for Fan Appreciation Day on Aug. 2 and the Washington Redskins-New England Patriots joint practice sessions on Aug. 4-6. The Redskins received an average of nearly 18,000 entries for each of these four practice dates.
At this time, the deadline to enter the ticket lottery has passed.
Randomly selected fans will receive an e-mail on Saturday, July 26 with a link to a printable ticket with a unique bar code, which guarantees access to the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center on the date for which their name was drawn.
Each randomly selected fan will receive four (4) complimentary tickets which will guarantee access to the day of practice for which their name was drawn.
Each fan entering the gates, including children, must present their complimentary ticket prior to entry in order to guarantee access. Tickets are non-transferrable. Unauthorized transfers will be voided and all tickets in the group will be cancelled.
Fans without tickets will not be guaranteed access to Training Camp on these four practice dates. Admission will be limited based upon space and safety considerations. Fans with questions about the lottery process may call the Washington Redskins’ guest services department at 301-276-6068.
All fans may also visit the inaugural Washington Redskins Fit Fest at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on August 2-3. For details on this free, open-to-the-public event, visit
As a reminder, all practice sessions other than the ones specified above do not require lottery entry. Fans are encouraged to sign up to attend training camp online at This site is also home to the full training camp practice schedule.
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American Family Fun Day at Chiefs 2014 Training Camp Presented by Mosaic Life Care Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:26:46 +0000 KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs and Missouri Western State University will again host “American Family” Fun Day at Chiefs Training Camp presented by Mosaic Life Care on Saturday, July 26, on the campus of Missouri Western in St. Joseph. There will be a number of activities for fans of all ages to enjoy throughout the day as Head Coach Andy Reid’s team holds an 8:15 a.m. practice Saturday on the Missouri Western practice fields.

The Chiefs, along with players and coaches from the Missouri Western State University Griffons football team will facilitate a Gatorade Junior Training camp from 11 a.m. to noon at Spratt Stadium. The event, filled on a first come, first serve basis, is limited to 250 participants. The camp is designed for boys and girls in grades three through eight to learn and practice football skills through multiple drills and teach them about the importance of hydration as part of American Family Fun Day. Multiple Gatorade hydration stations will also be available for camp participants to utilize as well.

To participate, a waiver must be completed on-site for every participant by either a parent or guardian. The first 100 camp participants will receive two complimentary tickets to the Thursday, Aug. 7 preseason game when the Chiefs take on the Cincinnati Bengals at 7 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium. In addition, Chiefs Cheerleaders and KC Wolf will make appearances during the youth camp.

Coca-Cola, the Official Soft Drink of the Kansas City Chiefs, will be present on-site as part of its “Share A Coke” campaign. A Share A Coke kiosk will be present, along with Coca-Cola Share Leaders who will assist fans in creating a customized Coke, Diet Coke, or Coke Zero can with their name or the name of a friend or loved one. After receiving their cans, fans will be encouraged to take a photo in front of a Share A Coke backdrop and share it with the hashtag #ShareACoke.

Sprint, the Official Wireless Service Provider of the Kansas City Chiefs, will have retail staff on-site throughout practice on Saturday with Sprint’s Mobile Marketing Vehicle to demonstrate the latest devices from Sprint, including the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One Harmon Kardon edition, and iPhone 5S. Chiefs fans can demo the devices, ask questions about the devices, as well as ask questions about Sprint service plans and accessories. Select items will also be available for purchase on-site.

Following the conclusion of practice, the entire Chiefs roster will participate in a team autograph session around the perimeter of the practice fields.

Gates for the 8:15 a.m. practice open at 7:45 a.m. with parking lots opening at 6:45 a.m. Like all other practices, parking will be $5. There is also a $5 admission fee for practice on American Family Fun Day. Children ages 3 and under are free.


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Seahawks Reach 90-Man Roster Limit Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:10:00 +0000 Renton, Wash. - The Seattle Seahawks have signed guard C.J. Davis and wide receiver David Gilreath, the team announced this morning.

Davis originally entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Carolina Panthers on May 1, 2009 and played in seven games for the Panthers in 2010. He spent time on and off the Panthers practice squad and was released on September 5, 2011. He was signed by the Denver Broncos on February 15, 2012 and played in seven games that season before being released after training camp on August 31, 2013.

Seattle is Gilreath’s seventh team since entering the NFL on July 29, 2011 with the Indianapolis Colts. He has also spent time with St. Louis (2011), Buffalo (2011), Pittsburgh (2012, 2013), Tampa Bay (2012) and Oakland (2014). He played in three games with Pittsburgh in 2012 and recorded one rush for seven yards.

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Vikings Announce Roster Moves Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:58:27 +0000 Mankato, MN (July 25, 2014) – The Minnesota Vikings have announced the following roster moves:

Free Agent Signings

PLAYER                      POS.                 EXP.                  COLLEGE

Andy Cruse……………….. WR………………….. 1………….. Miami (Ohio)
Ty Walker………………….. WR………………….. 1……………. Illinois State


PLAYER                      POS.                 EXP.                  COLLEGE

Josh Cooper………………. WR………………….. 3……… Oklahoma State

Matt Hall……………………….. T…………………. R……………….. Belhaven

Physically Unable to Perform (PUP)

PLAYER                      POS.                 EXP.                  COLLEGE

Chase Ford…………………. TE………………….. 2……………. Miami (Fla.)

Captain Munnerlyn………. CB………………….. 6……….. South Carolina

Andrew Sendejo……………. S………………….. 4………………………. Rice

WR Andy Cruse signs as a free agent with the Vikings. Cruse spent the first 10 weeks of the 2013 regular season on the Houston Texans practice squad. He entered the league with Houston as an undrafted free agent out of Miami (Ohio). He was released from the Texans on May 19, 2014.

The Vikings have signed WR Ty Walker as a free agent after he spent last season on the practice squads of Green Bay and Seattle. Walker went to training camp and appeared in all four games with the Packers during the 2013 preseason. He signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent.

These players placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list count on the team’s active roster. They are not permitted to participate in team or individual drills or practice sessions (contact or non-contact), or preseason games of the club until they pass a physical.


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DeSean Jackson Is The Game Changer The Washington Redskins Needed Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:45:24 +0000 DeSean Jackson will bring something totally different to the table for the Washington Redskins in 2014. It’s been a long time since the team has had a legitimate game changer on offense. With Jackson now in the fold, defenses will have to keep tabs on every move he makes in the Jay Gruden system. This, of course, is why Jackson will take the “AJ Green role” in Gruden’s offense as the “Z” receiver. When Gruden was the offensive coordinator with the Cincinatti Bengals, he moved Green all over the place to create mismatches. Although Green is a much bigger receiver than DeSean Jackson, it was his ability to win one-on-one matchups and his deep threat speed that allowed flexibility in Gruden’s scheme.

Desean jackson“I think this offense is very flexible,” said Jackson in his Friday presser. “Just being able to have the personnel of having J-Reed, who plays tight end that can actually split out as wide receiver… We can get Alfred Morris to come down and run routes of the backfield. Pierre, Santana, Andre and myself, I mean the sky is the limit. Honestly, it is. And at any given time a defense is going to have to be accountable for multiple guys, not just one guy, not just two guys, but four or five guys every play. Just going through the progress and just learning the plays and knowing where everybody is going to be is the biggest thing and RGIII, he’s going to have a lot on his hands because, like I said, there’s going to be a lot of guys open, hopefully. That’s the plan to just make it easier for him, as long as guys are open and he knows where to dish it to, it’ll be fun for us to go run and score touchdowns and make big plays for him. I think that’s what we look forward to.”

In Washington, HC Jay Gruden arguably has more toys to play with than he did in Cincinnati. Pierre Garcon has been the go-to for QB Robert Griffin III the past two seasons and there wasn’t much behind him. Now, the Redskins have DeSean Jackson in the fold and a secret weapon in Andre Roberts. Not to mention, an up-and-coming premier Tight End in Jordan Reed. With RB Alfred Morris toting the rock, all of a sudden the Washington Redskins could potentially have a lethal offense. The challenge, however, will be making sure all these weapons get fed and remain happy.

“Honestly, me and Andre [Roberts] were just talking about it earlier,” said DJax of the offense. “It’s very dangerous and it’s very scary – I’d rather be on the team that has all the weapons. It just makes it easier for Robert. Actually, me and Andre were saying every play somebody has to be open. With me, Tana [Santana Moss], Pierre [Garçon], J-Reed [Jordan Reed], Roberts, it’s so many options – Alfred Morris. There’s just so many options that regardless of how you play it, somebody’s going to have to keep an eye on RGIII, because if not, he’s going to run. If somebody doesn’t get double teamed, another receiver is going to be open. So like I said, we’re putting in the effort to go out there and just all be open. As long as we’re all open, it makes it easier for RGIII, so that’s what we look forward to.”

Robert Griffin III has quickly learned just how fast DJax is so far this off-season. Jackson is so fast that on day one of training camp he zoomed past the entire defense and Griffin under threw him by about ten yards. It will take some time for them to get in sync on those deep balls. Griffin, by no means, lacks the arm strength. He just has to give Jackson the “Randy Moss treatment” by throwing the ball earlier to hit him in stride before he shifts into another gear.

In regards to building chemistry with his new quarterback, Jackson says — “honestly, that’s what practice is for – going out there every day and just working and taking rep after rep after rep.” He continued,”really trying to get on the same page and get on the same accord as the offense, being a new offense [with] Jay Gruden in his first year, my first year here, RGIII [Robert Griffin III] being in his third year. Really it’s just kind of new for everybody. We had a couple of months into it to learn it, so I think everybody has a grasp for the system now. The best thing I can say about it is we’re out here putting in the time and effort inside the meeting rooms and we’re translating that onto the practice field. That’s a start, but at the end of the day, you’ve still got to go out there and you’ve still got to practice and you’ve still got to make plays and do everything that your coaches are asking you to do. I know for us, we’re just doing our jobs. We have a job to do – it’s to go out there and make plays. Rob has the job to do, which is to go out there and control the offense, so everybody has to play their part.”

DeSean Jackson is coming off a career-season after spending a year in Chip Kelly’s system. However, Jackson says the Redskins’ new system with Jay Gruden is more similar to his former coach Andy Reid. “As far as [Eagles Head Coach] Chip Kelly’s offense last year, it was a fast, speedy offense and it just had a lot of different looks, where this year it’s back to the West Coast Offense as far as kind of similar to how Coach [Andy] Reid and Marty Mornhinweg [were] my first four years in Philly. I have a lot of similarities with my previous offense, like I said with Coach Reid and Marty to now with Jay Gruden, so a lot of things are similar to the West Coach Offense, a lot of terminology and things like that are similar. So that’s what you look forward to – just trying to match up the things that I’ve known in the past to where I’m at now.”

Jackson has always seemed to play with a chip on his shoulder, being a smaller receiver. Now that chip’s size has increased. Although, Jackson says his main focus isn’t on proving the Philidelphia Eagles wrong — it’s to help his new team win. “Honestly, man, I just want to help my team win games,” he said. “I’ve been a firm believer all of my career – the best I can go out there and make plays and spark the team with energy and things like that. The little things I just say [are] the things to help my team as far as with energy and just kind of being that guy that’s out there making plays and just leading by example. I don’t really have to say too much, but as long as I’m out there making plays and having fun and playing at a level where I’m used to playing at. I think I’ll just feed off of other guys here as well, too. That’s what I look forward to is to continue to go out there and be known as one of the best playmakers in this league.”
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