Pro Player Insiders Executive Editor Melissa Mahler http://proplayerinsiders.com Behind the scenes look at lives and lifestyles of NFL players and their families plus sports news, interviews & events Sun, 20 Jan 2019 02:28:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 George Kittle Named 2018 Most Improved Player of the Year http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/george-kittle-named-2018-improved-player-year/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/george-kittle-named-2018-improved-player-year/#comments Sun, 20 Jan 2019 02:28:39 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174325 San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, who set an NFL record for most single-season receiving yards by a tight end with 1,377, was selected as the 2018 NFL Most Improved Player of the Year.

As a rookie in 2017 after being selected in the fifth round by the 49ers, Kittle caught 43 passes for 515 yards (second among NFL rookie tight ends), two touchdowns and a 12.0 per-catch average. This season, Kittle led the 49ers with 88 receptions for 1,377 yards (eighth in the NFL), five touchdowns and a 15.6 yards-per-catch average. He was one of four tight ends to lead their team in receiving yards in 2018. Kittle had six receptions of 40 or more yards (led all NFL TEs and was tied for second overall in the league), and he led all tight ends with 20 catches for 20 yards or more. He had four 100-yard receiving games, including a seven-reception, 210-yard game against Denver in Week 14, the third-most yards by a tight end in the NFL since 1960.

Kittle is the second member of the 49ers franchise to receive NFL Most Improved Player of the Year honors since the award was instituted in 2000, joining quarterback Jeff Garcia (2000).

PFWA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 2000 – QB Jeff Garcia, San Francisco 49ers; 2001 – QB Kordell Stewart, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2002 – QB Chad Pennington, New York Jets; 2003 – QB Jon Kitna, Cincinnati Bengals; 2004 – QB Drew Brees, San Diego Chargers; 2005 – DE Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants; 2006 – RB Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers; 2007 – QB Derek Anderson, Cleveland Browns; 2008 – RB DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers; 2009 – WR Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys; 2010 – RB Arian Foster, Houston Texans; 2011 – WR Victor Cruz, New York Giants; 2012 – WR Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys; 2013 – WR Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears; 2014 – RB Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2015 – (tie) QB Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins and CB Josh Norman, Carolina Panthers; 2016 – LB Vic Beasley, Atlanta Falcons; 2017 – QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams; 2018 – TE George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers.

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Andrew Luck Named 2018 NFL Comeback Player of the Year http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/andrew-luck-named-2018-nfl-comeback-player-year/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/andrew-luck-named-2018-nfl-comeback-player-year/#comments Sun, 20 Jan 2019 02:15:11 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174320 Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who rebounded from a shoulder injury that sidelined him during the 2017 season to throw for 4,593 yards and finish second in the NFL with 39 touchdown passes in 2018, was selected as the 2018 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

Luck had surgery to his right shoulder in January 2017 to fix an injury that dated back to September 2015, and the rehab from the surgery caused him to miss the entire 2017 season. He returned to the field in 2018 and started all 16 games to lead the Colts to their first AFC playoff berth since 2014. He completed 430 of 639 passes (67.3 percent) for 4,593 yards (fifth in the NFL) with 39 touchdowns (second in the NFL), 15 interceptions and a 98.7 passer rating. His completions and attempts were both second in the league. He threw three or more touchdown passes in eight consecutive games from Weeks 4-12, which was the longest streak in the NFL this season and tied for the second-longest in league history. Luck helped the Colts become the third team in NFL history to start a season 1-5 and make the playoffs. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for November, and he also earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 11.

Luck is the second member of the Colts franchise to receive Comeback Player of the Year honors since the award was instituted in 1992, joining quarterback Jim Harbaugh (1995).

PFWA COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 1992 – QB Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles; 1993 – RB Marcus Allen, Kansas City Chiefs; 1994 – QB Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins; 1995 – QB Jim Harbaugh, Indianapolis Colts; 1996 – RB Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh Steelers; 1997 – WR Robert Brooks, Green Bay Packers; 1998 – QB Doug Flutie, Buffalo Bills; 1999 – DT Bryant Young, San Francisco 49ers; 2000 – DE Joe Johnson, New Orleans Saints; 2001 – RB Garrison Hearst, San Francisco 49ers; 2002 – QB Tommy Maddox, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2003 – QB Jon Kitna, Cincinnati Bengals; 2004 – RB Willis McGahee, Buffalo Bills; 2005 – WR Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers; 2006 – QB Chad Pennington, New York Jets; 2007 – WR Randy Moss, New England Patriots; 2008 – QB Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins; 2009 – QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2010 – QB Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles; 2011 – QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions; 2012 – RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings; 2013 – QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers; 2014 – TE Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots; 2015 – S Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs; 2016 – WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers; 2017 – WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers; 2018 – QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts.

ABOUT THE PFWA: The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams daily. Bob Glauber, the national football columnist for Newsday, is the organization’s president for the 2018 season, while Bleacher Report national columnist Dan Pompei is the PFWA’s first vice-president. Follow the PFWA at ProFootballWriters.org and on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.

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Maroon 5 headlines Super Bowl 53 http://proplayerinsiders.com/news-features-featured-on-homepage/maroon-5-headlines-super-bowl-53/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/news-features-featured-on-homepage/maroon-5-headlines-super-bowl-53/#comments Sun, 20 Jan 2019 00:05:56 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174316 Atlanta- Maroon 5 will be the main headline for the Half Time Show during Super Bowl 53. There has been a lot of backlash with the group performing in Atlanta because they are not an Atlanta based group, but they have decided to block out the noise and give a great performance for their fans, as well as being a great draw for the Half Time Show.

“You can get bogged down by those things, we’re not focusing on the negative now while]being aware, being open, and definitely not ignoring the voices,” the keyboardist reveals. “We’re blocking out the noise. We’re just doing what we do. We look to have a good time.”

There have been a lot of artists who have decided that performing for the Half Time Show does not sit right with them, because of Kaepernick and the “Kneeing” situation. There have been a lot of people who agree with the injustice in America and there are some who feels like Kaepernick is disrespecting the military and the flag when he does not stand for the National Anthem.

However, Big Boi from the group Outcast and Travis Scott will be the performing alongside Marron 5.  Both Big Boi and Travis Scott had different perspectives about performing a couple months ago, after a lot of negotiation, both artists will be performing. Travis is an amazing musician, and he has had an amazing year,” Morton said of the band’s special guests. “Big Boi is Atlanta royalty. I went to Morehouse College so I was in Atlanta during the time when Outkast was really going. It was important for us to have an Atlanta legend a part of this.”

 

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2019 NFL DRAFT TOP 500 PROJECTION: VERSION 1.0 http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/2019-nfl-draft-top-500-projection-version-1-0/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/2019-nfl-draft-top-500-projection-version-1-0/#comments Sat, 19 Jan 2019 19:04:54 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174312  

2019 NFL DRAFT TOP 500 PROJECTION: VERSION 1.0

 

Here is our first installment of 2019, with all eligible underclassmen included, to kick off the official start of draft season this week.

 

There are players we have in the late rounds that we thought are mid round prospects and players whom we expected to be in our 7th or 6th round that we have as borderline or even as a priority free agent. With over 140 players giving up eligibility to enter the 2019 NFL Draft it will be more true than ever before that many players are not going to be happy with where they are drafted. We expect 105-115 underclassmen drafted so many of those early entries won’t get drafted.

 

Below is our look at the top 500 draft eligible prospects with defensive linemen Quinnen Williams of Alabama and Nick Bosa of Ohio State leading the way on our board and national champion Clemson has four in the top 39 of our board.

 

 

TOP 500 PROSPECTS

Rank Pos First Name Last Name School Projection
1 DT Quinnen Williams Alabama 1st
2 DE Nick Bosa Ohio State 1st
3 DE Rashan Gary Michigan 1st
4 CB Greedy Williams LSU 1st
5 QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. Ohio State 1st
6 OLB Josh Allen Kentucky 1st
7 ILB Devin White LSU 1st
8 DT Jeffery Simmons Mississippi State 1st
9 RB Josh Jacobs Alabama 1st
10 DT Christian Wilkins Clemson 1st
11 OT Greg Little Mississippi 1st
12 DE Montez Sweat Mississippi State 1st
13 TE T.J. Hockenson Iowa 1st
14 DT Ed Oliver Houston 1st
15 DT Dexter Lawrence Clemson 1st
16 WR N’Keal Harry Arizona State 1st
17 QB Daniel Jones Duke 1st
18 DT Dre’Mont Jones Ohio State 1st
19 DE Clelin Ferrell Clemson 1st
20 TE Noah Fant Iowa 1st
21 OT Jawaan Taylor Florida 1st
22 CB Julian Love Notre Dame 1st
23 DE Zach Allen Boston College 1st
24 QB Kyler Murray Oklahoma 1st-2nd
25 OG Cody Ford Oklahoma 1st-2nd
26 CB Deandre Baker Georgia 1st-2nd
27 QB Drew Lock Missouri 1st-2nd
28 DE Isaiah Buggs Alabama 1st-2nd
29 SS Deionte Thompson Alabama 1st-2nd
30 DT Jerry Tillery Notre Dame 1st-2nd
31 OT Andre Dillard Washington State 1st-2nd
32 WR Marquise Brown Oklahoma 1st-2nd
33 CB Byron Murphy Washington 1st-2nd
34 OT Yodny Cajuste West Virginia 1st-2nd
35 ILB Devin Bush Michigan 1st-2nd
36 OT Jonah Williams Alabama 1st-2nd
37 WR A.J. Brown Mississippi 2nd
38 FS Johnathan Abram Mississippi State 2nd
39 CB Trayvon Mullen Clemson 2nd
40 ILB Mack Wilson Alabama 2nd
41 OT Michael Deiter Wisconsin 2nd
42 TE Irv Smith Jr. Alabama 2nd
43 RB Darrell Henderson Memphis 2nd
44 DE Jachai Polite Florida 2nd
45 TE Jace Sternberger Texas A&M 2nd
46 DE Brian Burns Florida State 2nd
47 OG Michael Jordan Ohio State 2nd
48 WR D.K. Metcalf Mississippi 2nd
49 DE Jaylon Ferguson Louisiana Tech 2nd
50 RB Benny Snell Jr. Kentucky 2nd
51 ILB Tre Lamar Clemson 2nd
52 RB Damien Harris Alabama 2nd
53 WR Deebo Samuel South Carolina 2nd
54 CB Nasir Adderley Delaware 2nd
55 C Garrett McCain Bradbury North Carolina State 2nd
56 CB Saivion Smith Alabama 2nd
57 RB Trayveon Williams Texas A&M 2nd
58 OT David Edwards Wisconsin 2nd
59 DE Austin Bryant Clemson 2nd
60 RB Justice Hill Oklahoma State 2nd
61 DE Oshane Ximines Old Dominion 2nd
62 TE Caleb Wilson UCLA 2nd
63 C Dalton Risner Kansas State 2nd-3rd
64 OLB Germaine Pratt North Carolina State 2nd-3rd
65 DE Chase Winovich Michigan 2nd-3rd
66 OG Beau Benzschawel Wisconsin 2nd-3rd
67 RB Elijah Holyfield Georgia 2nd-3rd
68 WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey Texas 2nd-3rd
69 SS Taylor Rapp Washington 2nd-3rd
70 QB Will Grier West Virginia 2nd-3rd
71 RB Karan Higdon Michigan 2nd-3rd
72 SS Amani Hooker Iowa 2nd-3rd
73 TE Kaden Smith Stanford 2nd-3rd
74 C Elgton Jenkins Mississippi State 2nd-3rd
75 DE Shareef Miller Penn State 2nd-3rd
76 OG Alex Bars Notre Dame 2nd-3rd
77 WR Parris Campbell Ohio State 3rd
78 DE Jordan Brailford Oklahoma State 3rd
79 ILB Te’von Coney Notre Dame 3rd
80 OG Nate Herbig Stanford 3rd
81 C Connor McGovern Penn State 3rd
82 CB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson Florida 3rd
83 DT Gerald Willis III Miami 3rd
84 RB Devin Singletary Florida Atlantic 3rd
85 FS Marvell Tell III Southern California 3rd
86 WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside Stanford 3rd
87 ILB Ben Burr-Kirven Washington 3rd
88 WR Kelvin Harmon North Carolina State 3rd
89 OT Kaleb McGary Washington 3rd
90 WR Antoine Wesley Texas Tech 3rd
91 WR Jakobi Meyers North Carolina State 3rd-4th
92 OLB D’Andre Walker Georgia 3rd-4th
93 RB Miles Sanders Penn State 3rd-4th
94 OT Max Scharping Northern Illinois 3rd-4th
95 DT Ed Alexander LSU 3rd-4th
96 WR Preston Williams Colorado State 3rd-4th
97 RB Rodney Anderson Oklahoma 3rd-4th
98 QB Jarrett Stidham Auburn 3rd-4th
99 TE Drew Sample Washington 3rd-4th
100 DE Charles Omenihu Texas 3rd-4th
101 CB David Long Michigan 3rd-4th
102 WR Hakeem Butler Iowa State 3rd-4th
103 RB Dexter Williams Notre Dame 3rd-4th
104 QB Ryan Finley North Carolina State 3rd-4th
105 C Erik McCoy Texas A&M 3rd-4th
106 SS Marquise Blair Utah 3rd-4th
107 CB Rock Ya-Sin Temple 3rd-4th
108 ILB David Long West Virginia 3rd-4th
109 WR Darius Slayton Auburn 4th
110 DE Jalen Jelks Oregon 4th
111 CB Amani Oruwariye Penn State 4th
112 WR Dillon Mitchell Oregon 4th
113 SS Will Harris Boston College 4th
114 RB Bryce Love Stanford 4th
115 CB Jordan Brown South Dakota State 4th
116 TE Dawson Knox Mississippi 4th
117 WR Mecole Hardman Jr. Georgia 4th
118 SS Juan Thornhill Virginia 4th
119 OLB Porter Gustin Southern California 4th
120 OG Nate Davis Charlotte 4th
121 DT Kingsley Keke Texas A&M 4th
122 DE Joe Jackson Miami 4th
123 WR Andy Isabella Massachusetts 4th
124 FS Ugochukwu Amadi Oregon 4th
125 CB Joejuan Williams Vanderbilt 4th-5th
126 TE Tommy Sweeney Boston College 4th-5th
127 DT Albert Huggins Clemson 4th-5th
128 OG Bobby Evans Oklahoma 4th-5th
129 DE John Cominsky Charleston (WV) 4th-5th
130 CB Sean Bunting Central Michigan 4th-5th
131 DE Anthony Nelson Iowa 4th-5th
132 QB Tyree Jackson Buffalo 4th-5th
133 TE Isaac Nauta Georgia 4th-5th
134 SS Mike Edwards Kentucky 4th-5th
135 RB Travis Homer Miami 4th-5th
136 CB Kendall Sheffield Ohio State 4th-5th
137 DE Byron Cowart Maryland 4th-5th
138 DT Khalen Saunders Western Illinois 4th-5th
139 ILB Cameron Smith Southern California 5th
140 CB Lonnie Johnson Jr. Kentucky 5th
141 OG Chris Lindstrom Boston College 5th
142 CB Montre Hartage Northwestern 5th
143 ILB Otaro Alaka Texas A&M 5th
144 OG Ben Powers Oklahoma 5th
145 OT Trey Pipkins Sioux Falls (SD) 5th
146 CB Justin Layne Michigan State 5th
147 OG Oli Udoh Elon 5th
148 CB Hamp Cheevers Boston College 5th
149 SS Khari Willis Michigan State 5th
150 TE Josh Oliver San Jose State 5th
151 WR David Sills V West Virginia 5th
152 DT Terry Beckner Jr. Missouri 5th
153 CB Darnell Savage Jr. Maryland 5th
154 WR Riley Ridley Georgia 5th
155 RB Mike Weber Ohio State 5th
156 OLB Chase Hansen Utah 5th
157 DE L.J. Collier TCU 5th-6th
158 DE Corbin Kaufusi BYU 5th-6th
159 WR Emanuel Hall Missouri 5th-6th
160 OG Hjalte Froholdt Arkansas 5th-6th
161 OLB Vosean Joseph Florida 5th-6th
162 ILB Ryan Connelly Wisconsin 5th-6th
163 OLB Justin Hollins Oregon 5th-6th
164 CB Jamel Dean Auburn 5th-6th
165 OG Bunchy Stallings Kentucky 5th-6th
166 WR Jalen Hurd Baylor 5th-6th
167 CB Donnie Lewis Jr. Tulane 5th-6th
168 DE Wyatt Ray Boston College 5th-6th
169 DE Jamell Garcia-Williams UAB 5th-6th
170 RB Ryquell Armstead Temple 5th-6th
171 OT Derwin Gray Maryland 5th-6th
172 WR Jazz Ferguson Northwestern State 5th-6th
173 DE Maxx Crosby Eastern Michigan 5th-6th
174 WR Anthony Johnson Buffalo 5th-6th
175 TE Foster Moreau LSU 5th-6th
176 WR Travis Fulgham Old Dominion 5th-6th
177 FS Darius West Kentucky 5th-6th
178 QB Clayton Thorson Northwestern 5th-6th
179 K Austin Seibert Oklahoma 5th-6th
180 RB David Montgomery Iowa State 5th-6th
181 CB Xavier Crawford Central Michigan 5th-6th
182 FS Sheldrick Redwine Miami 5th-6th
183 OT Dennis Daley South Carolina 6th
184 OLB Drue Tranquill Notre Dame 6th
185 CB Isaiah Johnson Houston 6th
186 TE Alizé Mack Notre Dame 6th
187 OG Javon Patterson Mississippi 6th
188 OLB Terrill Hanks New Mexico State 6th
189 CB Kris Boyd Texas 6th
190 RB LJ Scott Michigan State 6th
191 ILB Joe Giles-Harris Duke 6th
192 OG Drew Forbes Southeast Missouri State 6th
193 OT Isaiah Prince Ohio State 6th
194 OLB Christian Miller Alabama 6th
195 DT Trysten Hill Central Florida 6th
196 RB Darwin Thompson Utah State 6th
197 WR Keelan Doss UC Davis 6th
198 DE Landis Durham Texas A&M 6th
199 RB Qadree Ollison Pittsburgh 6th
200 OG Ryan Bates Penn State 6th
201 CB Derrick Baity Kentucky 6th-7th
202 DT Kevin Givens Penn State 6th-7th
203 ILB Jeff Allison Fresno State 6th-7th
204 WR Miles Boykin Notre Dame 6th-7th
205 OT Tytus Howard Alabama State 6th-7th
206 TE Trevon Wesco West Virginia 6th-7th
207 RB Tony Pollard Memphis 6th-7th
208 OG Dru Samia Oklahoma 6th-7th
209 QB Trace McSorley Penn State 6th-7th
210 DT Armon Watts Arkansas 6th-7th
211 WR Hunter Renfrow Clemson 6th-7th
212 ILB Deshaun Davis Auburn 6th-7th
213 CB Iman Marshall Southern California 6th-7th
214 ILB Joe Dineen Jr. Kansas 6th-7th
215 TE Zach Gentry Michigan 6th-7th
216 TE C.J. Conrad Kentucky 6th-7th
217 WR Terry McLaurin Ohio State 6th-7th
218 CB Jordan Miller Washington 6th-7th
219 OT Tyler Roemer San Diego State 6th-7th
220 CB Corey Ballentine Washburn 6th-7th
221 QB Gardner Minshew II Washington State 6th-7th
222 FS Malik Gant Marshall 6th-7th
223 DE Carl Granderson Wyoming 7th
224 WR Diontae Johnson Toledo 7th
225 WR Tyron Johnson Oklahoma State 7th
226 OG Phil Haynes Wake Forest 7th
227 OT Devon Johnson Ferris State 7th
228 RB Jalin Moore Appalachian State 7th
229 OG Ross Pierschbacher Alabama 7th
230 WR Greg Dortch Wake Forest 7th
231 DT Cortez Broughton Cincinnati 7th
232 OT Joe Lowery Ohio 7th
233 ILB Kendall Joseph Clemson 7th
234 OLB E.J. Ejiya North Texas 7th
235 OG Iosua Opeta Weber State 7th
236 WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams North Carolina 7th
237 DT Dontavius Russell Auburn 7th
238 TE Donald Parham Stetson 7th
239 SS Jaquan Johnson Miami 7th
240 TE Kendall Blanton Missouri 7th
241 WR Tyre Brady Marshall 7th
242 OG Demetrius Knox Ohio State 7th
243 SS JoJo McIntosh Washington 7th
244 TE Dax Raymond Utah State 7th
245 OLB Sutton Smith Northern Illinois 7th
246 DT Greg Gaines Washington 7th
247 RB Devine Ozigbo Nebraska 7th
248 WR Jaylen Smith Louisville 7th
249 OG Chuma Edoga Southern California 7th
250 ILB Natrez Patrick Georgia 7th
251 SS Jacob Thieneman Purdue 7th
252 WR Damion Willis Troy 7th
253 OT Mitch Hyatt Clemson 7th-PFA
254 ILB Bobby Okereke Stanford 7th-PFA
255 OG George Asafo-Adjei Kentucky 7th-PFA
256 OT Chidi Okeke Tennessee State 7th-PFA
257 DT Renell Wren Arizona State 7th-PFA
258 ILB Dakota Allen Texas Tech 7th-PFA
259 SS Mark McLaurin Mississippi State 7th-PFA
260 RB Travon McMillian Colorado 7th-PFA
261 CB Nate Brooks North Texas 7th-PFA
262 DE Derick Roberson Sam Houston State 7th-PFA
263 WR Papi White Ohio 7th-PFA
264 CB Ka’dar Hollman Toledo 7th-PFA
265 OLB Dre Greenlaw Arkansas 7th-PFA
266 OT Calvin Anderson Texas 7th-PFA
267 RB Myles Gaskin Washington 7th-PFA
268 DE Ben Banogu TCU 7th-PFA
269 WR Terry Godwin Georgia 7th-PFA
270 OLB Cody Barton Utah 7th-PFA
271 OG Brandon Knight Indiana 7th-PFA
272 DT Danny Wise Kansas 7th-PFA
273 FB Alec Ingold Wisconsin 7th-PFA
274 DE Darryl Johnson Jr. North Carolina A&T 7th-PFA
275 CB Jimmy Moreland James Madison 7th-PFA
276 OT Paul Adams Missouri 7th-PFA
277 K Cole Tracy LSU 7th-PFA
278 QB Brett Rypien Boise State 7th-PFA
279 QB Manny Wilkins Arizona State 7th-PFA
280 DE Michael Onuoha Texas A&M Commerce 7th-PFA
281 QB Easton Stick North Dakota State 7th-PFA
282 OLB Sione Takitaki BYU 7th-PFA
283 FS Dravon Askew-Henry West Virginia 7th-PFA
284 OG Deion Calhoun Mississippi State 7th-PFA
285 FS Mike Bell Fresno State 7th-PFA
286 RB Damarea Crockett Missouri 7th-PFA
287 WR Shawn Poindexter Arizona 7th-PFA
288 P Jake Bailey Stanford 7th-PFA
289 ILB Emeke Egbule Houston 7th-PFA
290 OG Martez Ivey Florida 7th-PFA
291 WR Gary Jennings West Virginia 7th-PFA
292 WR Penny Hart Georgia State 7th-PFA
293 OG Zack Bailey South Carolina 7th-PFA
294 DT Demarcus Christmas Florida State 7th-PFA
295 WR Stanley Morgan Jr. Nebraska 7th-PFA
296 CB Clifton Duck Appalachian State 7th-PFA
297 C Alec Eberle Florida State 7th-PFA
298 ILB T.J. Edwards Wisconsin 7th-PFA
299 FS Nick Scott Penn State 7th-PFA
300 P Mitch Wishnowsky Utah 7th-PFA
301 WR Jonathan Duhart Old Dominion 7th-PFA
302 WR Jamal Custis Syracuse 7th-PFA
303 TE Daniel Helm Duke 7th-PFA
304 OG Garrett Brumfield LSU 7th-PFA
305 OG Trevon Tate Memphis 7th-PFA
306 DT Anthony Rush UAB 7th-PFA
307 OT William Sweet North Carolina 7th-PFA
308 RB Wes Hills Slippery Rock 7th-PFA
309 OG Fred Johnson Florida 7th-PFA
310 WR Ashton Dulin Malone (OH) 7th-PFA
311 OLB Gerri Green Mississippi State 7th-PFA
312 RB Bruce Anderson North Dakota State 7th-PFA
313 WR Dredrick Snelson Central Florida 7th-PFA
314 DT Olive Sagapolu Wisconsin 7th-PFA
315 C Nick Allegretti Illinois 7th-PFA
316 DE Jonathan Ledbetter Georgia 7th-PFA
317 CB Jace Whittaker Arizona 7th-PFA
318 RB James Williams Washington State 7th-PFA
319 DE Charles Harris Buffalo 7th-PFA
320 C Lamont Gaillard Georgia 7th-PFA
321 OT Donnell Greene Minnesota 7th-PFA
322 CB Kemon Hall North Texas 7th-PFA
323 C Nate Trewyn Wisconsin-Whitewater 7th-PFA
324 CB Michael Jackson Sr. Miami 7th-PFA
325 QB Jordan Ta’amu-Perifanos Mississippi 7th-PFA
326 CB Brandon Watson Michigan PFA
327 DT Walter Palmore Missouri PFA
328 K Matt Gay Utah PFA
329 WR Felton Davis III Michigan State PFA
330 WR Alex Wesley Northern Colorado PFA
331 SS Andrew Wingard Wyoming PFA
332 OLB Joey Alfieri Stanford PFA
333 FB Chandler Cox Auburn PFA
334 RB Ty Johnson Maryland PFA
335 CB Tank Kelly II Fresno State PFA
336 SS Donovan Wilson Texas A&M PFA
337 DE Greg Roberts Baylor PFA
338 C Jesse Burkett Stanford PFA
339 OT Daniel Cooney San Diego PFA
340 WR Jesper Horsted Princeton PFA
341 RB Aca’Cedric Ware Southern California PFA
342 FS Saquan Hampton Rutgers PFA
343 ILB Khalil Hodge Buffalo PFA
344 OT Josh Miles Morgan State PFA
345 RB Nick Brossette LSU PFA
346 DE Darian Roseboro North Carolina State PFA
347 CB Jalin Burrell New Mexico PFA
348 RB Kerrith Whyte Florida Atlantic PFA
349 CB Josh Miller Ball State PFA
350 FS Tyree Kinnel Michigan PFA
351 DE Markus Jones Angelo State PFA
352 QB Nick Fitzgerald Mississippi State PFA
353 WR Jamarius Way South Alabama PFA
354 OT Yosuah Nijman Virginia Tech PFA
355 OG Ross Reynolds Iowa PFA
356 WR Jalen Guyton North Texas PFA
357 CB Blace Brown Troy PFA
358 ILB Quintin Wirginis Pittsburgh PFA
359 WR Alexander Hollins Eastern Illinois PFA
360 OT Andre James UCLA PFA
361 ILB Ty Summers TCU PFA
362 WR Xavier Ubosi UAB PFA
363 OG Wyatt Miller Central Florida PFA
364 WR A.J. Richardson Boise State PFA
365 QB Jake Dolegala Central Connecticut State PFA
366 CB Mark Fields Clemson PFA
367 ILB Tyrel Dodson Texas A&M PFA
368 OT Brian Fineanganofo Idaho State PFA
369 QB Jake Browning Washington PFA
370 ILB Jahlani Tavai Hawaii PFA
371 OG Garrett Campbell Cincinnati PFA
372 CB Stephen Denmark Valdosta State PFA
373 OLB Josh Buss Montana PFA
374 WR John Ursua Hawaii PFA
375 OG Malcolm Pridgeon Ohio State PFA
376 RB Alexander Mattison Boise State PFA
377 WR Damion JeanPiere Jr. Nicholls State PFA
378 DT P.J. Johnson Arizona PFA
379 WR Nyqwan Murray Florida State PFA
380 WR Johnnie Dixon Ohio State PFA
381 OG Ului Lapuaho BYU PFA
382 OG Lester Cotton Alabama PFA
383 OLB Sterling Sheffield Maine PFA
384 OT Stefano Millin Pittsburgh PFA
385 WR Jon’Vea Johnson Toledo PFA
386 WR Brody Oliver Colorado School of Mines PFA
387 OG O’Shea Dugas Louisiana Tech PFA
388 WR Trevon Brown East Carolina PFA
389 OG Wes Martin Indiana PFA
390 DE Matthieu Betts Laval (Can) PFA
391 WR Davion Davis Sam Houston State PFA
392 RB D.J. Knox Purdue PFA
393 SS D’Cota Dixon Wisconsin PFA
394 DE Breckyn Hager Texas PFA
395 TE Keenen Brown Texas State PFA
396 DE Cece Jefferson Florida PFA
397 TE Brandon Dillon Marian (IN) PFA
398 DT Daylon Mack Texas A&M PFA
399 CB Chris Westry Kentucky PFA
400 QB Eric Dungey Syracuse PFA
401 OG Sam Schmal Boston College PFA
402 TE Kahale Warring San Diego State PFA
403 CB Tae Hayes Appalachian State PFA
404 OLB B.J. Blunt McNeese State PFA
405 FS Lukas Denis Boston College PFA
406 OLB Blake Cashman Minnesota PFA
407 CB Derrek Thomas Baylor PFA
408 WR DaMarkus Lodge Mississippi PFA
409 OLB Ben Humphreys Duke PFA
410 RB Aeris Williams Mississippi State PFA
411 DE Immanuel Turner Louisiana Tech PFA
412 C Tyler Gauthier Miami PFA
413 ILB Malik Fountain Central Michigan PFA
414 WR Emmanuel Butler Northern Arizona PFA
415 WR Marcus Green Louisiana Monroe PFA
416 FS Jalen Young Florida Atlantic PFA
417 OT Tariq Cole Rutgers PFA
418 DT Iseoluwapo Jegede Valdosta State PFA
419 WR Terry Wright Purdue PFA
420 C Sam Mustipher Notre Dame PFA
421 DT Miles Brown Wofford PFA
422 DT Michael Dogbe Temple PFA
423 C Toa Lobendahn Southern California PFA
424 SS Evan Worthington Colorado PFA
425 TE Davis Koppenhaver Duke PFA
426 DT Nathan Brisson-Fast Central Michigan PFA
427 RB Jordan Ellis Virginia PFA
428 OT Ethan Greenidge Villanova PFA
429 FS Kyle Gibson Central Florida PFA
430 OG Dino Boyd Cincinnati PFA
431 FS Corrion Ballard Utah PFA
432 CB Jamal Peters Mississippi State PFA
433 DT Fredrick Jones Florida State PFA
434 ILB Andrew Dowell Michigan State PFA
435 WR Shun Brown Arizona PFA
436 SS Delvon Randall Temple PFA
437 CB Brian Peavy Iowa State PFA
438 OLB Bryton Barr Massachusetts PFA
439 WR Kelvin McKnight Samford PFA
440 OT Juwann Bushell-Beatty Michigan PFA
441 P Jack Fox Rice PFA
442 OLB Ulysees Gilbert III Akron PFA
443 OLB Brandon Harris Bowling Green PFA
444 DE Randy Ramsey Arkansas PFA
445 DT Ryan Bee Marshall PFA
446 OLB Jerry Iweh Fairmont State PFA
447 OG BJ Autry Jacksonville State PFA
448 OLB Chris Peace Virginia PFA
449 TE Andrew Beck Texas PFA
450 OLB Obi Iheoma Northwestern State PFA
451 OT Jackson Barton Utah PFA
452 RB Lexington Thomas UNLV PFA
453 WR Ryan Davis Auburn PFA
454 OG Alex Bookser Pittsburgh PFA
455 C James O’Hagan Buffalo PFA
456 OG Chandler Brewer Middle Tennessee State PFA
457 CB Davante Davis Texas PFA
458 CB Dakari Monroe San Jose State PFA
459 ILB Josiah Tauaefa UTSA PFA
460 OLB Josh Smith Vanderbilt PFA
461 CB Alex Myres Houston PFA
462 WR Jaelan Austin TCU PFA
463 RB Patrick Laird California PFA
464 OT Marquez Tucker Southern Utah PFA
465 WR Scott Miller Bowling Green PFA
466 ILB Azeez Al-Shaair Florida Atlantic PFA
467 OLB Nate Hall Northwestern PFA
468 WR Terren Encalade Tulane PFA
469 QB Taryn Christion South Dakota State PFA
470 WR DeAndre Thompkins Penn State PFA
471 CB Duke Shelley Kansas State PFA
472 DT Bryan Mone Michigan PFA
473 RB Nico Evans Wyoming PFA
474 CB Ken Webster Mississippi PFA
475 ILB Austin Robinson Houston PFA
476 OLB Gary Johnson Texas PFA
477 RB Marquis Young Massachusetts PFA
478 WR Sean Modster Boise State PFA
479 OLB Pete Swenson Western Illinois PFA
480 QB Taylor Cornelius Oklahoma State PFA
481 OLB Jamal Davis II Akron PFA
482 FB George Aston Pittsburgh PFA
483 WR Michael Walker Boston College PFA
484 ILB Darius Harris Middle Tennessee State PFA
485 C Justin Falcinelli Clemson PFA
486 WR Bobby Hartzog Texas Southern PFA
487 WR KeeSean Johnson Fresno State PFA
488 DE Amani Bledsoe Oklahoma PFA
489 ILB Tre Watson Maryland PFA
490 OLB Juwan Foggie Charlotte PFA
491 ILB A.J. Hotchkins UTEP PFA
492 TE Kano Dillon Oregon PFA
493 CB Rashad Fenton South Carolina PFA
494 C Nick Linder Indiana PFA
495 OT Ryan Pope San Diego State PFA
496 TE Jerome Washington Rutgers PFA
497 OG Chris Brown Southern California PFA
498 DT Ricky Walker Virginia Tech PFA
499 OLB Malik Reed Nevada PFA
500 C Tanner Volson North Dakota State PFA

 

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Hope Alone Won’t Dethrone the Goat http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/hope-alone-wont-dethrone-goat/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/hope-alone-wont-dethrone-goat/#comments Sat, 19 Jan 2019 09:01:21 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174301 This year we were told all about how the New England Patriots reign was set to come to an end. From Rob Gronkowski contemplating retirement to rifts in the locker room between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady – we heard it all. The gossip was so juicy we were a few rumors away from airing a new show on the CW Network.

Media then told us how the Pats staggered in to the playoffs with an 11-5 record – laughable in a world consisting of five Super Bowl rings. A first-round bye wasn’t good enough because, well lets face it, only one seeds win the Super Bowl. In reality, since the Patriots Super Bowl victory in 2003, the AFC’s number one playoff seed has only gone on to win the Super Bowl three times.

After the Chargers beat the Ravens, the writing was on the wall. Headlines were already on paper waiting to be distributed to the masses: “The End of the Brady-Belichick Dynasty”. After holding the Ravens to only 229 total yards in the Wild Card round, many experts were adamant the Chargers had the best defense remaining in the playoffs. When the Chargers rolled in to Foxboro, Brady and company silenced the “experts” as they bolted out to a 35-7 lead by halftime. The 12-4 Chargers and their top 10 defense never had a chance.

Big deal, that was in Foxboro, right? No chance that Belichick and Brady can come in to Arrowhead and overcome the deafening decibels to defeat Pat Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Get the headlines ready again, the dynasty is finally over! This time we mean it! So does google. Simply search “dynasty over” and the top three stories will again try and convince you how the end is near.

To beat the Chiefs, the Pats would have to keep Mahomes off the field. How in the world could they possibly do that? After all, the Chiefs finished the season with the 27th ranked rush defense, only five teams worse, so don’t expect the Patriots to be able to control the clock, or the tempo. It doesn’t matter that Patriots running back, Sony Michel, just rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns against the Chargers ninth ranked rush defense, it’s the Chiefs 27th ranked rush defense that will stifle him.

When Michel can’t find any room to run, the Pats will be forced to turn to sixth round pick, Tom Brady. The nearly undrafted quarterback will have no easy task as he is up against the 31st ranked pass defense – only Cincinnati gave up more yards through the air than KC. If Brady thinks he’s going to throw for 343 yards like he did last week against the ninth ranked Chargers pass defense, he better think again. Back in week six, the Chiefs were able to hold Brady to only 340 yards passing, so he’ll likely be in for another long day. TB12 and the Patriots pulled off an improbable – and very lucky – 43-40 victory that week, but their lack of experience on the road in the playoffs will be the cause of their downfall. Bet on it. Vegas would tell you that you’re making the right bet too! (KC is -3).

Even Mr. Brady himself seems to know this is the end. In a post game interview after defeating the Chargers Brady said, “I know, you know, everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win any games, so we’ll see. It’ll be fun.”

Just when you thought Tom Brady and Bill Belichick couldn’t possibly pump any more motivation through their veins, they’ve been labeled the underdog against a team they’ve already beat, against a young quarterback with only a day of playoff experience, and just one week after dismantling one of the league’s most formidable opponents. If you’ve ever wondered what continues to drive Tom Brady, it isn’t an Aston Martin. What drives him is you. You and all your doubt.

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Sean Payton is the X-Factor for New Orleans Saints http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/sean-payton-x-factor-new-orleans-saints/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/sean-payton-x-factor-new-orleans-saints/#comments Sat, 19 Jan 2019 05:52:34 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174291 The NFC Championship Game on Sunday is sure to be an electric performance between two of the most elite offenses in the NFL — the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. With so much talent on both sides of the ball, this regular season rematch has the makings to be another high scoring game with more at stake…a trip to Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta.

All eyes will be on the usual suspects to include Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, and Mark Ingram for the Saints. Then there is Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, the recent emergence of C.J. Anderson, and Marcus Peters for the Rams. That’s just scratching the surface of the variety of weapons that will be on display.

However, the X-factor in this game lies is the hands of the two offensive minded coaches who have led their teams to this point — Sean Payton and Sean McVay. Although the Saints beat the Rams earlier this season, it’s not always easy to repeat the same outcome. That is why the Saints are fortunate to have home field advantage in this situation. They will also be relying on Payton’s experience, aggressive approach, and innovative play calling to give them an extra edge.

Payton’s journey back to the NFC Championship has faced some bumps along the way since the Saints’ first Super Bowl win in 2010. His rise to the top came to a screeching halt in 2012 when the NFL suspended Payton for failing to stop, and working to cover-up, the three-year existence of a bounty system that included targeting four quarterbacks to include Kurt Warner and Brett Favre. It was an unprecedented move by the NFL that shook the Saints season. Now six years later, Payton has seemingly redeemed himself and the narrative surrounding him is now focused on his diverse personnel packages and special play calling abilities.

“I think Sean has a great feel for the game,” said Saint’s quarterback Drew Brees. “We have a pretty extensive play call list. The writing is so small you can hardly read it there’s so many plays on that thing. I think what it is…is he’s got all that there at his discretion depending on what he’s feeling and then the situation in the game and obviously we have a plan. We talk about that extensively throughout the week as far as what we are looking for. If they start playing this in a bunch of this then we have got this package of stuff we can get to.”

“First time we get to a fourth down and short, this is what I want to call. Here is our critical situation call if we’re trying to get into field goal range,” Brees continued. “Here’s our fourth-and-two call going in to score just like we did against the Eagles in the second quarter to score that touchdown which was a critical play in the game. You talk about these situations and obviously these are in his memory bank. So the minute he feels like this is the time, this is the situation, he is able to dial it up. We all know it is coming because we have talked about it and so a lot of confidence comes with that.”

When asked what it’s like to play for Payton, linebacker Demario Davis said the following:

“Great head coach, I think he sets the standard high and he demands everybody to rise up to that standard. He’s very intense and when you play for a coach like that you just want to match that intensity.”

On Sunday, the Saints will have a chance to erase the memory of the heartbreaking loss last season to the Minnesota Vikings that abruptly stopped their Super Bowl run. Payton understands how important this moment is on so many levels. You can guarantee he will pull out all the magic tricks in his playbook to secure a victory over the Rams.

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Mahomes is the One For the Big Moment http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/mahomes-one-big-moment/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/mahomes-one-big-moment/#comments Fri, 18 Jan 2019 05:05:24 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174279 The Kansas City Chiefs have a match-up ahead against the NFL’s arch nemesis, with a chance to play hero. Patrick Mahomes, the young gunslinger, will have an opportunity to add to his prolific season with a win against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

For any quarterback going against Brady in the playoffs, it’s important to handle the big moment and be able to take over a game when need be.

For those that beat Brady in the playoffs, they rose to the occasion. Peyton Manning rose to the occasion multiple times, as did his brother Eli, who rose at the biggest stage, twice. If there is any one player that should be able keep pace, if not outpace Brady, it’s Mahomes.

In his most recent Super Bowl performance, Brady threw for more than 500 yards in a loss against Nick Foles.

In their previous matchup during week six, Mahomes threw 352 and four touchdowns. While it was a loss for the Chiefs by a score of 43-40, it was a shootout with both teams getting on the board each quarter. In the playoffs, we’ve seen time and time again it come down to the final quarter, better yet, the final minute.

In the 4th quarter during the 2018 season, Mahomes threw for a total of 11 touchdowns, tied for third behind Kirk Cousins and Deshaun Watson. In the second half of games, Mahomes was the touchdown champion, throwing 24 of his 50 touchdowns.

For Mahomes, his ability to handle the pressure at such a young age while being compared to others such as Aaron Rodgers and Brady, has been remarkable. A lot of that should be credited to his upbringing. During his childhood, young Mahomes had a lot to look up to as his father was an MLB pitcher. Given the experience of being around professionals at such a young age has undoubtedly helped him mold into a better and more mature pro in the NFL. Head coach Andy Reid of the Chiefs spoke about 23-year old Mahomes and his leadership ability, “He’s young, but he has that ability to influence and make people around him better. He does it with his teammates. He brings a certain energy with him.”

With Bill Belichick getting a sneak preview of Mahomes and his playing ability earlier this season, the young quarterback can expect a different, and likely more aggressive, game plan. Mahomes will have to adjust quickly and identify the wrenches thrown at him right from the opening drive. In New England, Belichick and his troops are 11-0 against rookie quarterbacks. Sure, they aren’t home this time around, but that barely makes a dent in the Patriots gameplan.

New England and Kansas City are set to get started at 6:40pm on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

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Keys to the Rams making another Super Bowl appearance http://proplayerinsiders.com/news-features-featured-on-homepage/keys-rams-making-another-super-bowl-appearance/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/news-features-featured-on-homepage/keys-rams-making-another-super-bowl-appearance/#comments Tue, 15 Jan 2019 17:35:48 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174275 New Orleans- The Los Angeles Rams are very close with making another Super Bowl appearance, but they have the New Orleans Saints who stand in their way of going to Atlanta. Last week, the Rams dominated the Dallas Cowboys on the ground. Running backs C.J. Anderson and Todd Gurley bruised the Cowboys’ secondary with running a combined of 273 yards on them, as well as Anderson scoring 4 touchdowns.  Smash mouth football is what the Rams need to bring to the table against the Saints. That is who the Rams are and they need to get Gurley going quick. If Gurley and Anderson gets positive yards on 1st and second downs, the Rams could use the running backs as a decoy to run post corner routes, slants, and some deep throws, because now the Saints will load up the box to stop the run, which will leave one on one matchups down the field.

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Against the Cowboys, Brandin Cooks caught 4 passes for 65 yards. Jared Goff did not need to put Cooks in a position to force feed him balls, because the Rams’ offensive line was opening holes and their running attack was damaging the egos of the Cowboys’ secondary. Against the Saints, Cooks will need to get started early. He will draw attention, because of his speed, so the Saints may put Eli Apple on Cooks to pressure him. On press coverages, Apple is pretty good, but with man coverage, Eli may need help over the top, because of Cooks’ speed. If Cooks can get open and Goff throws the ball perfectly for him, the Saints could be in trouble, because not many people can keep up with Cooks’ speed.

This is Goffs’ first time in a big game of this magnitude and he needs to be patient, get the Saints confused with some misdirection play, and be accurate with throwing the ball to the open receiver because the Saints have holes in that secondary.

On the defensive end, the Rams have to watch out for Taysom Hill. The Saints use Hill in different formations, as well as special teams. Against the Eagles, down by 14, Sean Payton called a fake punt at his own 30-yard line and Hill ran for the first down. The fake punt was the key factory in a victory over the Eagles because momentum shifted to the Saints.

Aarond Donald and Ndamukong Sue have to put pressure on the Saints’ offensive front. If they can put pressure on Drew Brees than the Rams have a shot to make life difficult for Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingrim. Both running back started slowly in the first half but picked it up in the second half as they won the possession time against the Eagles.

The Rams need to somehow manage Michael Thomas and how dangerous he is when he is on the field. The Rams are known to jump offsides a lot during the regular season and they have to understand that you can not give free yards up to Drew Brees. Brees just turned 40 and he has the best competition rate at 67.3% and 7 consecutive seasons over 4,500 yards in his career. The Rams cannot make any mistakes or costly penalties because the Saints have turned mistakes into points 50% of the time.

This game will be a battle of youth vs wisdom, from head coaches to quarterbacks. It will be chess match between both of these teams with only one team shooting their shot with adding a potential Super Bowl banner in their stadium

 

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Eagles Soar Early, but Lattimore Steals Momentum as Saints Advance http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/eagles-soar-early-lattimore-steals-momentum-saints-advance/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/eagles-soar-early-lattimore-steals-momentum-saints-advance/#comments Mon, 14 Jan 2019 02:25:52 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174268 From the first drive through the end of the first quarter it looked more like the Eagles were the one seed and the Saints the six. The Eagles were flying high, intercepting Drew Brees on the very first play of the game. From there, Eagles quarterback, Nick Foles, took Philly on a seven play, 76-yard drive, hitting Jordan Matthews on stride for a wide open 37-yard touchdown.

Eagles

The Saints would go three-and-out on their second drive, failing to gain one yard. Good Ol’ Saint Nick would again take the Eagles right up the field, this time a 10 play, 75 yard drive, that ended with Foles sneaking in from the one-yard line. Eagles up in a hurry, 14-0.

Brees and the Saints would muster up some yards in their third drive, but only 23 of them before being forced to punt again.  Foles had the Eagles at mid-field and was looking to strike again with a deep pass to Zach Ertz, but Saints cornerback, Marshon Lattimore, would take back the momentum and intercept the pass.

Lattimore

 

The interception ignited the home crowd and sparked a Saints offensive drive that would go 12 plays for 79 yards ending with a Keith Kirkwood two-yard touchdown catch. Offenses on both sides of the ball would stall for a few drives but the Saints would find a way to add a field goal just before half making it 14-10, Philly.

Unlike the first quarter, the Eagles sputtered out of the gates in the second half, going three and out. On the Saints next possession they’d show why they’re the number one seed, going on an 18 play, 92-yard drive, that would take up nearly the entire third quarter (11:29). It would be another two-yard touchdown pass from Brees, this time to Michael Thomas, that would put the Saints ahead for good.

 

With left tackle Jason Peters and guard Brandon Brooks suffering game ending injuries in tonight’s game, Philly’s offense struggled to find a rhythm.  The Eagles “D” also battled injuries as Rasul Douglas (ankle), Fletcher Cox (foot) and Michael Bennett all left the game at one point – Cox and Bennett would return but who knows just how much the injuries impacted their ability to be disruptive.

The Saints would tack on another field goal early in the fourth quarter making it 20-14, home team. While it was only a six point game, it felt like the Saints were clearly in charge and would cruise to victory. That was until Saints kicker, Will Lutz, missed a 52-yard field goal with just three minutes left in the game.

Here we go again. Flashbacks of 2017 Nick Foles was at the forefront of everyone’s mind and the Eagles had the momentum. Not for long though as the drive lasted just four plays before Marshon Lattimore again stole the momentum with his second interception after a Foles pass slipped right through receiver, Alshon Jeffery’s, hands. . This time it would seal the deal. Saints win, 20-14.

Alshon

The black and gold will be at home again next week in a “Battle of the Seans”, when Head Coach, Sean McVay, brings his Los Angeles Rams to town to battle Head Coach, Sean Payton’s New Orleans Saints. These two teams have been on a collision course for quite some time.

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Patriots Just Having Fun in Win Over Chargers http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-just-fun-win-chargers/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-just-fun-win-chargers/#comments Mon, 14 Jan 2019 00:59:19 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174255 The two weathered veterans, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers, competed at Foxborough in frigid conditions, much to Brady’s advantage. With an extra week to prepare and a somewhat healthy Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots opened the score in their first drive that took just over seven minutes. As play went on, it was all Patriots, for most if not all of 60 minutes.

In the first half, the Patriots put 35 points on the board that started off with the longest postseason opening drive in the Brady & Bill Belichick era.

Julian Edelman and James White helped lead the way, by trucking along an 83-yard 14 play drive. From then on, Brady and Bill Belichick kept rolling, by limiting Rivers and second year head coach, Anthony Lynn, to just seven points in the first half.

Throughout the game, the biggest indicator of success for the Patriots and failure for the Chargers was in the run game.

Melvin Gordon, their star running back who surged to a career high 5.1 yards per carry in 2018, only rallied 15 yards on nine carries. A disappointment, however, considering Gordon was laboring ailments in his knees, the Chargers knew what they were getting themselves into.

While rookie Sony Michel made his case for the feature back role with a 129 yard and three touchdown outing.

Given their failure to execute on the ground, Rivers and the offense opted for air attack with a total of 51 passes attempted. Just under 50% of passes were actually completed and no receiver was able to hit the 100 yard mark.

Yet, the Patriots never took their foot off the gas pedal, both defensively and offensively. Adrian Clayborn and Trey Flowers both recorded a sack each. While former first round pick Stephon Gilmore added an interception to his stat line, setting the dagger in the Chargers, if it wasn’t set already.

The final in New England was 41-28, dropping Rivers record vs. Brady to 0-8.

After the game, Brady said with attitude, “I know everyone thinks we suck, and you know, we can’t win any games. So we’ll see. It’ll be fun.”

Heading into their next matchup with Kansas City, praise for Brady and the Patriots will surely stay afar. A Chiefs team led by Patrick Mahomes, who did his best 2007 Brady impression this season, will have a chance to take over the spotlight in the AFC given a win on their own turf next Sunday.

 

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The Cowboys lost their Cinderella shoes in a 30-22 loss to the Rams http://proplayerinsiders.com/news-features-featured-on-homepage/cowboys-lost-cinderella-shoes-30-22-loss-rams/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/news-features-featured-on-homepage/cowboys-lost-cinderella-shoes-30-22-loss-rams/#comments Sun, 13 Jan 2019 04:46:24 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174250 Los Angeles- The  Dallas Cowboys’ defense was shredded to pieces on the ground, as the Rams ran away with a 30-22 victory over the Cowboys.

cowboys

 

In the first half, the Cowboys marched down the field to draw first blood after Dak Prescott threw a 20-yard pass to Amari Cooper to put them in position to score, which made it 7-0. On the Rams first and second possession, the Cowboys stopped the Rams from scoring a touchdown and the Rams had to settle for a pair of field goals.

After a couple of three and outs with the stalling of the Cowboys’ offense, the Rams started to pick up the pace. C.J. Anderson tore through Dallas’ secondary with four runs over 10 yards. Jared Goff threw a couple of strikes to his wide receivers and went back to the running attack. Anderson busted through for a 15-yard scamper and a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Rams up 13-7. The Rams added to the lead after Todd Gurley ran for a 35-yard touchdown to extend the lead 20-7

Prescott did not look the same after the first drive that the Cowboys scored on. Prescott overthrew Cooper a couple of times and the Rams’ defense was making life tough for the Cowboys’ offensive line late in the first half. Prescott finished the half 3 of 9 and could not get anything productive going on the offensive end. Ezekiel Elliot carried the ball 9 times and had 40 yards with an average of 4 yards per touch. The Cowboys were 1 out of 6 on third down conversions and looked out of sync.

In the second half, the Cowboys’ defense held the Rams to a field goal to make it 23-7. However after the Rams scored the field goal, the Cowboys were very aggressive on the next possession to create some type of urgency. On a 4th and short, the Cowboys converted the fourth down to keep the chains moving. After converting on 4th down, Dak made a miracle happen as he extended the play with his legs on first down and threw a dart to Michael Gallup down the field for a 30-yard completion to put the Cowboys at the 1-yard line. Elliot finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown and the Cowboys went for the 2-point conversion, which they converted to make it 23-15.

The Cowboys had no answer for the running attack of the Rams; Anderson scored on a 4th and goal early in the 4th quarter to go up 30-15. Late in the 4th quarter, the Cowboys converted on 3 fourth and shorts to put them in a position to try to make it a one-possession game. Prescott scored a 1-yard touchdown to cut the deficit down. With 2 minutes left and regulation, the score was 30-22. With only two timeouts left, Dallas needed a stop on a 3rd and 6, but Goff made sure that did not happen. Goff, as well as C.J. Anderson, made sure that their season would continue, while the Cowboys were left with yet another divisional round disappointment.

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Victory over Colts leads Chiefs to first home championship game in team history http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/victory-colts-leads-chiefs-first-home-championship-game-team-history/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/victory-colts-leads-chiefs-first-home-championship-game-team-history/#comments Sun, 13 Jan 2019 02:23:09 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174242 On a Saturday afternoon where a snowstorm blanketed Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Chiefs were able to overcome the elements to achieve a dominating 31-13 win over the Indianapolis Colts. The victory was an all-around team effort leading them to their first home playoff win in 25 years and solidifying homefield advantage for the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game for the first time in team history.

“We played a great team football game,” said Patrick Mahomes. “There was a lot of excitement here. The fans were awesome. Defense played amazing and the offense did enough to get the win in the end.”

As great as Kansas City has been all year, there were a few relevant questions leading up to the Divisional Round:

1) Is Patrick Mahomes the key to better playoff luck for the Chiefs?

2) Will the Chiefs make it past the Colts who held a 4-0 record against them in the playoffs?

3) Can the Chiefs hold on to a big lead?

The answer to all those questions turned out to be a resounding YES. It was all Chiefs from start to finish. They came out swinging and never let up which is what they needed to do in order to slow down a hot Colts team that won 10 of its last 11 games. The Colts were cooled off fairly quickly as nothing went right for them at all.

The Chiefs first possession resulted in a 75-yard drive that ended with Damien Williams touchdown putting them up 7-0. They went on to rack up two more touchdowns and a field-goal before halftime. The Chiefs saw success through the air and on the ground. Also, a little bit of everyone contributed to their impressive offensive performance to include running back Damien Williams, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, and tight end Travis Kelce. Williams finished with 25 carries for 125 yards. Mahomes completed 27 of 40 passes for 278 yards.

Another question mark for the Chiefs was around their defense. They’ve been inconsistent throughout the season but notably better at home. Today they put on one of their best performances of the year. They shutout the Colts offense for almost the entire game and held them to no first downs for most of the first half. The Colts didn’t score on offense until the final five minutes of the 4thquarter.

The Chiefs are waiting patiently to find out their next opponent. They will face the winner of the upcoming New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Chargers Divisional Round game. “We won this first game,” said Mahomes. “We have two more to go. Whoever we play next is going to be a great team. I’m excited we get to play it here in front of our fans.”

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Philadelphia Eagles are different team since Week 11 loss vs. Saints http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/philadelphia-eagles-different-team-since-week-11-loss-vs-saints/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/philadelphia-eagles-different-team-since-week-11-loss-vs-saints/#comments Fri, 11 Jan 2019 21:38:25 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174236 A lot has changed since the Philadelphia Eagles faced the New Orleans Saints in Week 11 of the regular season. They were pummeled by the Saints 48-7 at the Super Dome and fell to 4-6. This was an odd turning point for the Eagles who went 6-1 following that meeting to include last weekend’s crazy wildcard win over the Chicago Bears.

While the Eagles are improving, the Saints offense has lost some steam in recent weeks. However, with a bye week and homefield advantage, the Saints will be fresh going into Sunday’s Divisional Round matchup. But the Eagles are a different team since they last met in November.

Here are three reasons why:

Nick Foles’ Magic

No one can deny that the Eagles have found their swag since Nick Foles took over for an injured Carson Wentz. His poised demeanor has led the team on a four game winning streak. Additionally, this is a team that trusts him based his leadership during last year’s Super Bowl run.

Now Foles will get the chance to see if his magic can help the Eagles overcome the Saints in a game much more important than the last one. In their previous matchup, Wentz was the starter and struggled quite a bit. He completed 19 of 33 passes for 156 yards and three interceptions.

The success of Foles will depend on how much time he has in the pocket and that will be contingent on the performance of his offensive line.

An improved offensive line

The Eagles offensive line has improved in the second half of the season. The Eagles allowed 34 sacks in the first 11 games. During this recent winning streak, they have only allowed four sacks. They have also managed to keep some of the leagues most talented past rushers, such as Khalil Mack, quiet over the last few weeks.  That is a notable turnaround.

The offensive line battled some injuries throughout the season but they are heading into the Divisional Round healthy with all their key starters in place to include Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce. This is another good sign for Philly.

The offensive line has to stay clicking if they want to keep the game close.

The revenge factor

Let’s face it. The defending Super Bowl champs were manhandled and embarrassed by the Saints in Week 11. It was also the team’s second worst loss in franchise history. To make matters worse, the Eagles left the field in their feelings. They felt like the Saints ran up the score despite a commanding lead.

Eagles left tackle Jason Peters was quoted by multiple reporters this week addressing this issue: “They ran up the score,” he said. “We wanted them again, we got them again. This time, we coming. It’s not going to be the same outcome.”

Add a little fuel to the fire and it definitely brings a unique edge to this weekend’s game. You can expect the Eagles to be angry and chippy. This is a much different dynamic than earlier this season.

With that being said, there is still one question that remains: Is an improved Eagles team enough to beat the Saints at home? We’ll know the answer on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The New Orleans Saints: Déjà Vu to Super Bowl Number Two? http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/new-orleans-saints-deja-vu-super-bowl-number-two/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/new-orleans-saints-deja-vu-super-bowl-number-two/#comments Fri, 11 Jan 2019 04:18:47 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174230 The Saints are marching, and their steps are eerily similar to the 2009 Saints who went on to win Super Bowl XLIV (44). In fact, the seasons are so similar we can’t help but have a little déjà vu. If we hop in the DeLorean and take a trip back to New Orleans to watch football in 2009, we may feel we’ve never left present day. There’s a Drew Brees there, and a Sean Payton too! The Saints just finished their season and their 13-3 record is good enough for a first round bye and the number one seed in the NFC. Fast forward to present day and the Saints are again 13-3 with a first round bye and the number one seed in the NFC. Coincidence? Maybe, but this is where it gets interesting. The Saints three losses in 2009 came against the Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Panthers. This year? You guessed it. The Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Panthers handed the Saints their three losses again this year. In 2009 it was the Cowboys who snapped the Saints 13 game win streak and this year it was the Cowboys who snapped the Saints 10 game win streak. In week 17 of the 2009 season the Saints rested quarterback Drew Brees as they had already clinched the number one seed. In that game they ended up losing to the Panthers who were also starting a backup quarterback. There’s no need to type out what happened this year, because you already know.

Saints

Here are the facts:

-          This week the Saints will be host the defending Super Bowl Champion, Philadelphia Eagles.

-          The Saints are 6-2 at home this season – one of those losses came in the final week of the season when Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara didn’t play a snap.

-          In the past 10 years, the Saints have won more than 70% of their home games – fifth best in the entire league during that span.

-          With Brees at quarterback and Sean Payton as his head coach, the Saints are 5-0 at home in the playoffs.

The Saints keys to victory:

-          Let Brees be Brees.  The Eagles have the 30th ranked pass defense. In their week 11 matchup against the Eagles, Brees threw for 363 yards and four touchdowns and stopped throwing the ball with just over 11 minutes left in the game.

-          Win the turnover battle. Nick Foles has created believers but last week Philly lost the turnover battle 2-0 to Chicago. The Saints offense is too good for Philly to steal a win in New Orleans with a -2 turnover differential.

-          Score touchdowns in the redzone. If there is one thing Philly does come to town with, it’s a great redzone defense. Once opponents have gotten inside their redzone, Philly only allows touchdowns 42% of the time – best in the NFL. As for the Saints, once they get inside opponents redzones, they score touchdowns almost 70% of the time – fourth best in the NFL. Failure to convert redzone opportunities in to touchdowns is a quick way to let an underdog hang around. As we learned last year, Philly has no problem being the underdog.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Saints will take on the Eagles in the last game of the weekend this Sunday, January 13th, at 4:40pm (ET). Mr. Brees will be looking for an early 40th birthday gift as his birthday is just a few days later.

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Can Patrick Mahomes finally lift the Chiefs over the Colts in the postseason? http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/can-patrick-mahomes-finally-lift-chiefs-colts-postseason/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/can-patrick-mahomes-finally-lift-chiefs-colts-postseason/#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2019 23:24:05 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174216 We all know the story very well. The Kansas City Chiefs make it to the postseason but somehow their Super Bowl hopes slip away in the most disappointing fashion. The Chiefs are 0-6 in home playoff games since 1994. If you put that into perspective, the Chiefs haven’t won a home playoff game in 25 years. Not to mention, their divisional opponent on Saturday is all too familiar and permanently etched in Kansas City’s playoff history. The Indianapolis Colts hold an impressive 4-0 record against the Chiefs in the postseason.

Now enters Patrick Mahomes who is looking to change that storyline on Saturday when the Chiefs faceoff with the Colts. Leading Kansas City to a different result isn’t that far-fetched as we’ve seen Mahomes destroy defenses all season. He is a large part of the reason the Chiefs were 12-4 in the regular season. Mahomes has completed 66 percent of his passes for 5,097 yards, 50 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions this season.

Besides that special Mahomes touch, the Chiefs need to focus on three things if they plan on defeating the Colts:

Forget the Past

If you look at history then you are probably already assuming that the Colts will be on the winning end of this matchup. Furthermore, two of the Colts four playoff wins in the series were at Arrowhead Stadium. So much for home field advantage. Although this makes KC fans extremely wary, the Chiefs must have selective amnesia about their lack of success in the playoffs versus the Colts. Especially since all of those losses were before the Mahomes era. They have to view Saturday’s game as a new opportunity to create a different result. Coach Andy Reid had the same sentiment this week about their past with the Colts: “You move on. Those are history. You don’t go back to that. You are always moving forward in his thing and that’s what we are doing.”

Let it Fly on Offense

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Patrick Mahomes has been winning with his arm all season and that mentality shouldn’t change going into the postseason. The Chiefs possess the NFL’s number one offense with 35.3 points per game in the regular season. It will also be critical to continue taking advantage of the playmaking abilities of wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. The Chiefs still have to be mindful of the Colts defense. They have allowed the fifth fewest explosive plays (20 or more yards) and rushes (15 or more yards) in the NFL this season.

Play Solid Defense

If Kansas City had a weakness this season, it was their defense. The Chiefs have given up an NFL-record 419 first downs and ranked near the bottom of the league during the regular season in yards allowed per game (31st), yards per play (24th), and points allowed (24th). However, statistics show that the defense is much better at home. Opponents have scored fewer points per game (18 vs. 35 on the road), quarterbacks have had a lower passing rating (74 vs 105), and they accumulated more sacks and interceptions. Solid defense will be key against Andrew Luck who has been notably better now that his offensive line is protecting him. They Colts also have big playmakers such as wide receiver TY Hilton, running back Marlon Mack, and tight end Eric Ebron who can easily disrupt Kansas City on the defensive side of the ball.

 

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The Patriots Drive For Their Sixth Ring Starts On Sunday http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-drive-sixth-ring-starts-sunday/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/patriots-drive-sixth-ring-starts-sunday/#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2019 22:47:30 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174210 As the playoffs for New England kicks off on Sunday, they’ll take on the Los Angeles Chargers. Let’s take a look at the team who has made the Super Bowl in 3 of the last 4 seasons. As a team, they are undefeated at home this season and enter Sunday’s game trying to get another chance to play in the AFC Championship game for the 15th time in team history.

Offensive:

The 2018 version of the Patriots hasn’t been as dominant as the have been in previous seasons. With injuries and suspensions all over the place, Tom Brady hasn’t had the big offensive numbers as he had in other seasons. Tom finished with 29 touchdown passes, his lowest since 2013, when he finished with 25 for the season. Brady has been dangerous in the red zone this season. He threw 18 of his touchdown passes inside the 20 yard line. As he enters the playoffs, he has a career 27-10 record. He’s 19I-3 at home and hasn’t lost in Foxboro since 2013 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Even though rookie Running back Sony Michel didn’t start the season as the starter, he finished as the most effective runner on the roster. The former Georgia Bulldog, finished with 931 yards rushing and six touchdowns on the ground. In all four of his games that he has rushed for 100 yards or more, the Patriots are undefeated. When they go into passing downs, James White enters the game and he’s been the most consistent receiver on the roster. He lead the team with 87 catches and 123 targets. His ability to get out into spacing allows Brady to have the perfect weapon in case they can’t get the ball down the field with their receivers.

Speaking of receivers, this might not be Brady’s best group in recent years, but they make enough plays to get things done. Led by Julian Edelman (74 catches and 850 yards), the Patriots might not have the deep threat to stretch the middle, but they get open and make 1st downs. The team’s big down field threat, Josh Gordon left the team under NFL suspension a few weeks ago and now players like Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett have to be able to fill that role. Rob Gronkowski is the biggest name and has always been constant throughout his in career, even he’s had a down season as well. He caught only 47 passes, this was the lowest in a season where he played 10 or more games since his rookie season. A redzone monster, Gronk only had 3 touchdown catches this season.

Defense:

Bill Belichick’s defenses over the last few season hasn’t had the star power like most defenses, but they always get it done. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy, started all 16 games and led the team with 92 tackles and had 10 knockdowns of the quarterback. With Vany Noy leading the linebacking core, there’s also Donte’ Hightower and Elandon Roberts making up the Patriots 4-3 scheme. When Van Noy gets 8 or more tackles in a game this season, New England is 3-1.

New England finished with only 30 sacks as a team on defense and they were lead by Trey Flowers (7.5 sacks). Outside of Flowers, no other Patriot had more than four and a half sacks. Going into a game against a team who can pass the ball in the Chargers, the Patriots need find ways to get to the quarterback. The Patriots finished 22nd in passing yards allowed this season and Phillip Rivers lead the Chargers to one of the best passing attacks in the NFL.

Now with all off those passing yards allowed, the Patriots secondary had 18 interceptions as a group this season. Led by Duron Harmon (4 interceptions), the team had 9 different players pick off at least one pass. Stephon Gilmore made his 2nd Pro Bowl this year and will have a chance to show the nation why as he gets the matchup with fellow Pro Bowler Keenan Allen. Expect the Chargers to put Allen in places away from the former South Carolina Gamecock star.

Key Stats:

  • Kicker Stephen Gostkowski is 34 for 38 on field goals in his playoff career. He missed 2 of them in the Patriots playoff run last season.
  • Brady is the only starter on offense (that isn’t on the offensive line)  that has started every game and he’s 41 years old
  • Brady is also 2-0 as a starter against the Chargers in the playoffs, but he’s thrown 6 interceptions in both games.

New England will play the Los Angeles Chargers at 1pm on Sunday on CBS.

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Time to Eat: Zeke vs. Gurley http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/time-eat-zeke-vs-gurley/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/time-eat-zeke-vs-gurley/#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2019 02:07:15 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174196 Since 2017, the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams have yet to match up. By the end of that October, 1 2017 game, the Rams put up 35 points while the Cowboys tallied 30. Both running backs, Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley put up big numbers, as expected.

Gurley had an outstanding day. His ground game totalled to 121 on 23 carries. However, Dallas avoided Gurley from reaching the end zone while rushing. Instead, Gurley tallied his six points in the air from Jared Goff.

On the opposite side, Elliott was just short of a 100 yard rushing day, however, he provided much of the offense with one touchdown on the ground and two in the air.

Clearly, this dual brought the best out of both players.

In the NFL this year, when it comes to total rushing yards, there’s been none better. Elliott has led the league by more than 200 yards. Trailing behind is Saquon Barkley, and with less than 20 yards behind Barkley, Gurley closes out the top three.

As far both teams history is concerned, the series has been extremely tight. Dallas leads the series 17-16, tracing all the way back to 1960.

However, Sean McVay and his Rams will look to balance the record in the upcoming playoff matchup.

McVay talked about the matchup ahead and said, “It’s a great challenge. You want to see us play very sound, but I think it’s about playing efficient football.”

Efficient football works best with your top running back in the lineup. So far, it also looks as if running back Gurley will suit up. With some inflammation in his knee, things appear to be better, however there’s no guarantee.

Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, former head coach of the Cowboys, spoke about the current challenge ahead and specifically about Elliott, he said, “It’s a big challenge to stop their running game, especially him, but all are guys know that. We certainly can’t let him run wild on us.”

With the stage set in Los Angeles, the setting should be electric as the two running backs pound their way one step closer to a Super Bowl.

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Four must-haves for the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/indianapolis-colts-kansas-city-chiefs/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/indianapolis-colts-kansas-city-chiefs/#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2019 02:04:02 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174191 The Indianapolis Colts continued their hot streak last Saturday as they dominated the Houston Texans ion the road. They harassed the Houston offense and they were able to do whatever they wanted offensively. This week, the challenge get a little stiffer as they take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead stadium. The Chiefs, who are the number one seed in the AFC, are a team many believe will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. The Colts, of course, have other plans. It will not be an easy task for them to win in Kansas City in January where it will likely be bitter cold, but they could get it done. Here’s a few things to look out for if the Colts are to win.

1) Run game equals wins

Marlon Mack

The Colts have found themselves a running back in second-year running back Marlon Mack. The talented running back has given the Colts some balance offensively that they lacked and with him running the football, they are a very good football team. Against the Chiefs, the magic number to get Mack to will be 100 yards rushing. In games where he has rushed for over 100 yards, the Colts are 5-0. So balance is key, but so is giving Mack the football. Giving him the football also allows the Colts to keep MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes on the bench longer than he wants to be there.

2)  Less Luck is more

Andrew Luck Colts

The Colts are known as a passing team with Andrew Luck back at the helm. Luck can surely make a lot of the throws in the NFL at all different levels, but maybe less of Andrew Luck means more for the Colts.  This season, the Colts were 2-6 when Luck threw the football over 40 times in a game. For a quarterback coming off a shoulder injury, he should not be throwing the football that much anyway, but the Colts must continue to stress balance with the offense if they want to escape Kansas City with a win, especially with the pass rushers the Chiefs have in Dee Ford and Justin Houston.

3)  Darius Leonard the machine

Darius Leonard

No one expected Darius Leonard to be the player he has been for the Colts. He was thought to be good, but he has been downright spectacular for the Colts defense this season, tallying 163 combined tackles this season. For the Colts to win the game on Saturday night, he has to be flying all over the field and involved in everything. The more he is in on tackles, the more better the Colts defense plays, In face, the Colts are 6-2 when he is involved in ten or more tackles in a game.

4) Protect the football

TY Hilton

Like it always is in January, it will be cold in Kansas City. The temperatures not only affect the players and the travel of the football, but the security of the football. Players will have to be extra careful how they carry it after catching or getting the handoff. For the Colts to win this game, they must minimize the turnovers. The more they lose the football, the more their chances plummet, especially in Arrowhead Stadium.

The Colts four points to victory lay right before them. Now can they execute them or not is the question.

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Dallas Cowboys vs Los Angeles Rams Spotlight watch http://proplayerinsiders.com/news-features-featured-on-homepage/dallas-cowboys-vs-los-angeles-rams-spotlight-watch/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/news-features-featured-on-homepage/dallas-cowboys-vs-los-angeles-rams-spotlight-watch/#comments Wed, 09 Jan 2019 04:40:42 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174175 Los Angeles- In the last regular game of the 2018 season against the 49ers, the Los Angeles Rams took care of business and dominated the game with a victory, and earned a first-round bye. Throughout the entire season, many analysts, as well fans thought the Rams could be in the Superbowl this year. In the first half of the season, the Rams looked like the Thanos of football. Everything was clicking for them. Their offense was ranked in the top five. Their special team playmaker Brandin Cooks gave the Rams some good field position almost every time he touched the ball and nobody could stop Aaron Donald or Ndamukong Sue on the defensive end. However, late in the season, their defense has been exploited and there have been some questionable playcalling down the stretch with games on the line.

image

 

The Rams have been plagued with miss tackles in the secondary, as well as being too conservative on first and second downs when they have the lead in the third quarter. In order for the Rams to get a victory over the Cowboys, they have to give Todd Gurley at least 22 touches. Gurley is the engine that drives the offense. They need to get him going early. Jared Goff has to be precise with looking off the Cowboys defenders. In the last two seasons, Goff has thrown 60 touchdowns and only 19 interceptions with a QBR of 100.

Goff has to take some shots down the field on this Cowboys’ defense. Last week Russell Wilson took advantage of the one on one matchup and it paid off big late in the 4th quarter. The Rams need to get the ball to Cooks early and let him be a factor. The Cowboys might try to put a defender over the top to help out with Cooks, so they will not get beat for big plays down the field, but that will open up plays down the middle of the field. If Goff plays big and Gurley gets over 150 yards on the ground, the offensive side of the ball will be in great shape for a victory.

On the defensive end, Sue and Donald have to be aggressive with getting to Dak Prescott. The Rams need to put a QB spy on him because Dak is a QB that can extend plays with his feet. Last week was a prime example of how he used his legs as a weapon to secure a victory with the go-ahead touchdown to get the Cowboys their 3rd playoff win since the 90′s era. The Rams will see a lot of Ezekiel Elliot and they need to stop him on third and short. Last week Elliot dominated the Seahawks on third down and that was one of the reasons why the Cowboys controlled the time of possession. Donald, Sue, and the Rams’ defensive front need to keep Elliot in the backfield. Elliot is averaging around 4 yards per carry and that is how the Cowboys have picked up their victories.

On the other side of the field, the Cowboys are proving a lot of critics wrong by winning games in nail-biting fashion. After they beat the Seahawks, the Cowboys face a defense that mirrors them. They need to double team Donald and somehow stop Sue if they want their running attack to work. The Rams’ defense plays a lot of man coverage and they get physical within the 5 yards to knock receivers off their route. They will blitz a lot. The Rams are very gutsy with dialing up a safety blitz or bringing the house if they feel like it is an urgency to get pressure on the QB. Dax has to be aware of the pressure and throw the ball away. He can not take a sack or have any type of mistakes, because the Rams can turn that into points in a matter of minutes. Amari Cooper will be a factor in this game. He lit the Seahawks up with 7 receptions for 106 yards. Cooper, Elliot, and Dax is the formula for controlling the Rams.

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

 

On the defensive side, the Cowboys frontline is proving critics wrong once again. A lot of people felt like the Cowboys’ defense was overrated, but once again the Cowboys’ defense quieted the critics by outperforming the Seahawks. They neutralized the number 1 rushing team in the league and punished Chris Carson on every play. It starts with the front, who have turned this team around. The Cowboys’ defense is ranked in the top 10 and not many teams can figure them out. They are ranked top ten in their run defense, which will be a key factor. If they can stop Gurley on third and short situations, it will force the Rams to throw the ball. If they can make the Rams one dimensional, it can get pretty interesting to see what team will come out victorious.

Both teams are a reflection of each other. They like to play smash mouth football and they play off their running backs. If the running game is solid, it could open up big opportunities down the field, because the defense will stack 8 players in the box to stop the run. This should be a great and interesting game for viewers.

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Benjamin Watson Named Week 17 NFLPA Community MVP http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/benjamin-watson-named-week-17-nflpa-community-mvp/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/benjamin-watson-named-week-17-nflpa-community-mvp/#comments Wed, 09 Jan 2019 03:33:12 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=174183 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Benjamin Watson has been named Week 17 NFLPA Community MVP for donating and raising more than $100,000 for 15 charitable organizations through his “Freedom Friday” campaign during the 2018 NFL season.

“With so many players working for the betterment of their communities, it is an honor to be named NFLPA Community MVP this week,” Watson said. “As a husband, father, teammate and citizen, my mission is to use the time, talent and treasure God has given me to love and serve those in need, be a voice for the voiceless, and stand for justice and truth.”

In September, the New Orleans Saints tight end launched “Freedom Friday,” where he and his foundation, One More, pledged to donate $5,000 to 15 charities that he has previously partnered with during his 15-year career. Along with making his monetary contribution every Friday, Watson used his social media channels to encourage others to give and volunteer with that week’s organization. By the time the campaign ended on Dec. 28, he had helped raise more than $100,000 in support.

The honored non-profits included All-Pro Dad, which encourages men to be great fathers; International Justice Mission, the world’s largest anti-slavery/human trafficking organization; Boot Campaign, which provides life-improving programs for military families; and World Vision, a Christian organization working to help communities lift themselves out of poverty for good.

“Thank you for supporting me as well as our entire player membership in all of our efforts to make a difference,” said Watson, who serves on the NFLPA’s Executive Committee. “Each of these organizations are tirelessly working to free people from physical, emotional and spiritual bondage, removing seen and unseen obstacles so that they have the freedom to reach their potential.”

Last month, Watson announced that this would be his final NFL season. In his 15 years, he has made a tremendous impact on and off the field. His One More foundation serves as a vehicle to carry the hope and love of Jesus Christ to those who need it most while also working to meet their physical needs. In December, he hosted his 10th annual Big BENefit event, which provides holiday gifts and a surprise dinner for 25-30 underserved families. And Watson has continually poured his passion for others into community work through countless avenues, including the 15 charities recognized during his Freedom Friday campaign.

In honor of Watson being named this week’s Community MVP, the NFLPA will make a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or charity of choice along with an in-kind donation to him on behalf of our supporting partner Delta Private Jets. A limited-edition bobblehead will also be made of Watson and sold by our supporting partner Forever Collectibles at foco.com. The NFLPA will donate part of the proceeds from this collector’s item to their charity or foundation of choice.

The NFLPA is also proud to partner with Life is Good, the original positive lifestyle apparel brand, to showcase athletes whose values align with the brand’s commitment to growing the good in their communities and helping those in need. In January 2019, Life is Good will further advance the MVPs’ worthy causes with the Life is Good x NFLPA commemorative T-shirt collection at LifeisGood.com and Fanatics.com. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to each player’s charity or foundation of choice.

Watson, along with the other 2018 Community MVPs, will become eligible for this year’s Alan Page Community Award, which is the highest honor that the NFLPA can bestow upon a player.

The NFLPA Community MVP program recognizes NFL players who are making a positive impact in their local communities. Each week during the regular season, the NFLPA will celebrate one NFL player who has demonstrated a commitment to giving back to his community. Please visit our website to read more about the program as well as the current and past winners.

2018 NFLPA Community MVP winners*:

Week 0: Tyrann Mathieu, Houston Texans

Week 1: Melvin Gordon, L.A. Chargers

Week 2: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Week 3: Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

Week 4: Damon Harrison, New York Giants

Week 5: Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

Week 6: Kelvin Beachum, New York Jets

Week 7: Devin & Jason McCourty, New England Patriots

Week 8: Kareem Jackson, Houston Texans

Week 9: Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks

Week 10: Andrew Whitworth, L.A. Rams

Week 11: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Week 12: Von Miller, Denver Broncos

Week 13: Ben Garland, Atlanta Falcons

Week 14: Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 15: Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals

Week 16: Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers

Week 17: Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints

*Teams listed indicate player’s club when he was honored

 

About the NFL Players Association

The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through 2020. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.

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