The Perfect Saint

This is a follow up to my previous article, “Exposed: the Secret Life of Drew Brees” in which I attempted to make fans aware of the fact that Brees just may be the most underrated quarterback of this generation and possibly all-time. 

 

The story was met with mixed reviews.
Fans were shocked to learn that their  hero was much more accomplished then even they were aware. 

They seemed pleasantly surprised at his consistency over the 10 years he has spent as a Saint (Brees has averaged over 4,800 yards and 35 TDs) and he has thrown for 5,000 yards in 4 separate seasons which is the same total as all other quarterbacks in NFL history combined. 

 

Saints fans eagerly reminded me that Brees is only 5’10, which is widely considered too short for a quarterback to make it in the NFL, much less achieve that level of success. 

 

The other great quarterbacks of this era are all considerably taller. Peyton Manning stands at 6’5, Tom Brady 6’4, Aaron Rodgers 6’2. 

 

Critics argued that Brees was able to accumulate those stats because he plays on losing teams and takes advantage of garbage time to pad his numbers.

Once again Brees proves them wrong.

Since he joined the Saints ten years ago in 2006 the team has only had four losing seasons, finishing all four of them with a record of 7-9. They have had five seasons with double-digit wins, made the playoffs all five times, won the division 3 times and the Super Bowl once, for a total of 94 wins and 66 loses. 

 

Quite the improvement for a team that  was 3-13 the year before he arrived, hadn’t had a winning season in five years and had never won a Super Bowl.

The other argument is that Brees only looks better because he throws more passes than the other elite passers.

That actually plays in favor of the argument for Brees as he still has a higher completion percentage (66.4) than   Manning (65.3), Rodgers (65.1) and Brady (63.6) even after throwing a high quantity of passes. 

 

What we’ve learned is the  only way to consider Brees less than amazing is to remain ignorant of his stellar accomplishments.

The year he shattered Dan Marino’s record with 5,476 yards, he also threw for 46 TDs, his team won their division with a 13-3 record and he was somehow still snubbed for the MVP.

Aaron Rodgers who beat him by a vote of 48-2 had 4,643 yard and 45 TDs. 

 

Does anyone else see the bias?

Besides having one of the most dominant seasons of all-time, what does Brees have to do to be recognized?

What if he walked on water? 

 

He basically does that too.  

 

Through the Brees Dream Foundation, he has helped provide cancer patients with over $22,000,000 dollars.

That is just one of the foundations he supports and just one of the ways he has given back to the world.

He also improved the city of New Orleans by bringing them a Super Bowl Victory in the aftermath of Katrina.

He does it all quietly and with humility.  

 

Drew Brees is constantly proving that on top of being one of elite players in the NFL, he may just be…

The Perfect Saint.

One of the Top Players in the 2016 NFL Draft is Campaigning to be a Green Bay Packer…

Reggie Ragland has made it clear he would love to be drafted by the Packers this year.

 

“I did meet with them, and they talked to me about that they needed a linebacker on the inside,” Ragland said. “And if they had the opportunity, I think they would. But I’m not sure. It all depends when draft day comes.”

“But they said they really need an inside linebacker, so they can move Clay (Matthews) back on the outside. If they get me, it would be a blessing in disguise because Green Bay’s always been one of my favorite teams growing up as a kid.”

How can you deny him that right? 

 

Especially when inside linebacker, the position he plays so passionately, is one of, if not the biggest position of need for Green Bay this upcoming season.

What makes this interesting though, and even a bit complicated, is that he is projected to go in the top 20 of this year’s draft and the Packers first selection is the 27th pick.

That means that Packers General Manager Ted Thompson would probably need to wheel and deal to get Ragland for his team. 

 

The only timeThompson has made a deal to move up in the draft was to grab linebacker Clay Matthews whom Ragland would most likely replace in the middle, as Matthews has made it clear he wants to move back to an outside linebacker spot.

 

I’m sure Packer fans would welcome Ragland to join fellow Alabama stars Eddie Lacy and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who have enjoyed success in their young careers,  even if it came at the price of an extra draft pick or two.

The Packers have a hungry young defense that could use another playmaker  that understands and plays the game at the level Ragland does.

“It would mean a lot to me that I came out there and I worked hard through the process that they really wanted me that bad to trade up for me,” said Ragland. 

“That means I really got to come in, whoever it is. If that happens, whoever it is, I’ve got to come out there and just play hard and prove to them I that they made the right decision by trading up to get me.” 

   

Packer fans are hungry for another difference making star to propel their team forward and since Green Bay’s front office is dedicated to building through the draft this seems like a fair compromise and possibly a perfect match.

The draft is still a ways off and only time will tell if the Packers front office can make Reggie Ragland’s Green and Gold wish one true.

Free Agency Starts Now!

The Los Angeles Rams added some intrigue to this young offseason by cutting 3 players that could appeal to teams looking to make a quick splash. 

 

What’s special about this case with James Laurinaitis, Chris Long and Jerad Cook, is they are all players that could improve a team immediately and unlike the other free agents, they are available NOW!

What makes it tricky is most teams are still trying to figure out where they stand with their own free agents, what they hope to accomplish in the draft and most importantly what they have available for cap space.

Laurinaitis is the most appealing because he is still in his prime and is coming off a very productive season where he accumulated 109 tackles, 1 sack and 1 int. 

 

He could be a solid  building block for a young team who is looking for a veteran leader or a great addition to a defensive unit that is already established and in need of that final piece.

He will probably come with the highest price tag of the 3 but should also return the highest dividends. 

 

Jared Cook has never been spectacular but then again he has never played in a top offense.

His numbers have been very consistent though and that should make him a prize for an offense looking to add some fire power. 

In a league with a depravity at the tight end position, he could instantly turn a team that is on the bubble into a title contender. 

The 6’5 Cook should come at a fairly decent  price cause of his lack of elite numbers.

Chris Long is the wild card of the bunch. 

 
He is only two years removed from being an elite pass rusher but due to the fact that his number decreased massively because of injury over the last couple seasons, he is the biggest risk.

If he can somehow manage to get back to the form that gave him 31.5 sacks in 4 years he could be a steal for a team looking to get pressure up front.

Either way, we need to thank the newest team from Los Angeles for providing us the first excitement of the 2016 season.

Is This the End of Cam Newton…

There is a new mentality in the NFL that if a quarterback loses a Super Bowl, it’s simply because he can’t handle the pressure.

Cam Newton has shown more than anyone that his game is completely ruled by emotion. 

 

When he’s winning, he’s confident and at the top of his game and he can’t control himself. 

 

When he’s losing…

Well, we all know how that goes. 

 
In 2015, Cam and the Panthers had a season for the ages. Only losing one game before ending their year with a loss to theBroncos in the Super Bowl.

You would think that would be enough for a young man who was close to convincing the league that he was more than just a running back who occasionally throws the ball.  

  

That he would be happy that he had a chance to win the “MVP.”
What Cam has proved instead is that he is not happy unless all eyes are on him. 

 

He wants you to know that he is more than a football player. 

 

Bigger than his team.

Bigger than the NFL. 

 

And ultimately larger than life itself.
Of course. He’s Superman! 

 

Then he wonders why people question him.

He thinks it’s because we don’t understand him. That we just haven’t ever seen a freakish athlete before. 

 

What we don’t understand is why he pretends to be part of a team…

Then quits on them. 

 

I think we are big enough as fans to forgive Cam.

I think we will even give him another chance.

The question is can he forgive himself for the fact that even superheroes have their Kryptonite?

 

Can he step out of his head long enough to accept that he is only human?

Why the Packers Will Not Sign Matt Forte this Offseason…

There is no denying this guy is a straight up beast!

Yeah, he has finally hit the 30 year threshold and his skills may be slowly declining but Forte still has plenty left in the tank.  

  
On a good enough offense where he isn’t the main focus, this guy could still easily go for a grand on the ground and 5-7 rushing TDs.

What’s scary is that is not even the best part of his game.

At 6’2″, 218 lbs, Forte is at his most dangerous when you get him the ball with room to run out in the flats.

He has tremendous vision, nimble feet and a deceptively fast first step. 

 

He would fit perfectly as a change of pace or 3rd down back behind a bruising runner like Eddie Lacy and could give Aaron Rodgers that dangerous outlet source in the passing game.

He would definitely open up the offense even more so the Packers plethora of young receivers have room and time to learn.

There is no doubt he would love to be reunited with former Bears teammate Julius Peppers even if he had to take a little less money to accomadate Ted Thompson’s tight purse strings. 

 

And who wouldn’t want to finish their career with the best quarterback in the game? 
 

After a year where the Packers struggled to stay focused, it would seem reasonable to add a veteran who has been at this for a long time and is hungry for a Super Bowl ring.

So why won’t the Packers sign Matt Forte in free agency? 

 

It just makes too much sense.

The Quarterback Conundrum in the NFL Draft…and other ways GM’s make a mess of the league.

There are at least 4 quarterbacks that I have seen regularly projected to go in the first round of the NFL draft.  

 
With the success Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota had last year I can kind of understand the optimism.

But for every success story there is a Jamarcus Russell or Johnny Manziel waiting to laugh in your face. 

 
Worst of all is the daunting fact of how many talented QBs Cleveland has ruined for the rest of the league and yet experts are still encouraging the Browns to take a chance on another one this year. 

 

I get it. In this day and age you have to have a serviceable quarterback to make the playoffs. If you look at the teams that made it this year most of them had top notch passers.

What people are missing is that most of those quarterbacks were surrounded by premier offensive weapons and stellar defenses.

In reality, the four top quarterbacks in this draft shouldn’t go any earlier than the third or fourth round.

However GMs are in such a hurry to get their dirty paws on a great passer that they give up gold to get a guy that is barely worth bronze. 

 
Instead, they should spend their picks on building up their teams so that eventually they can plug a guy into their offense when he is ready, rather than making him try to carry the load all by himself.

The Browns seem to have finally figured it out last year when they spent 8 of their 12 picks on defense and the rest on offense without touching a quarterback.

By raising the value of the quarterbacks teams are spending way to much on the wrong guys.

Yes, the Broncos had Peyton Manning but we know it wasn’t his 9 TDs and 17 interceptions that got them to the Super Bowl.  

 

With these pass happy offenses even guys like Tyrod Taylor can go over 20 TDs.

So it’s time to start realizing QBs are not that important anymore if you have the right guys surrounding them.

Would you put a souped up V12 with turbo boost on a beat up rust bucket and expect maximum performance?

So why do we throw our future franchise quarterback into a mess and expect him to perform up to specs?

I’ll admit, Andrew Luck took off fast and made a bunch of noise. But then look at what happened. He burned out quickly. 

 
Guys like Blake Bortles and Derek Carr didn’t shoot up so quickly but are climbing steadily because they have a full set of weapons surrounding them.

There are teams like the Cowboys, Rams and Eagles who could benefit from adding a quarterback this year but even these teams have bigger holes that they should be plugging in the first few rounds. 

 

For example, what if the Browns or Vikings had spent the picks they used on quarterbacks in 2014 to acquire Allen Robinson who went a full round later?  

They would both be in way better positions than they are right now.
The problem with the league is not the talent level that is coming into the league but the way it is being abused.

If that doesn’t convince you here is a stat that may blow your mind.

The draft position of the top 5 quarterbacks from 2015 ranked by passer rating.

1. Russell Wilson: Round 3, 75th pick overall.

2. Andy Dalton: Round 2, 35th pick overall.

3. Carson Palmer: Round 1, 1st pick overall.

4. Tom Brady: Round 6, 199th pick overall.

5. Kirk Cousins: Round 4, 102nd pick overall.

6. Drew Bree: Round 2, 32nd pick overall.

7. Tyrod Taylor: Round 6, 180th pick overall.

Based on these stats you have twice the chance of getting a top tier QB in the 6th round than with the first pick overall. 

 

How is this possible? 

Most of these teams where focused on filling other needs instead of trying to get a QB right away. They built their teams first then added a passer.

So why aren’t GMs aware of this? Why do they continue to overspend? 

It baffles me. But I think this would be a great year to end the madness.

Peter Wiseman’s Mock Draft – 2016

1. Tennessee Titans  

Laremy Tunsil, LT, Ole Miss

Grabbing the most complete Tackle in the draft makes perfect sense for a team with a plethora of young offensive weapons in need of a boost.  Tunsil should immediately open up holes for the Titans young running game and add stability to an offensive line who is entrusted with protecting Marcus Mariota.

2. Cleveland Browns  

 Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Last year the Browns showed a change in draft  strategy as they invested a majority of their top picks on defense. This year they need to stick with a (best player available) mindset in this draft. They could do much worse than adding a pass rusher with a non-stop motor. Joey Bosa’s killer instinct should help make this defense a devastating force for years to come.

3. San Diego Chargers  

  Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Bolstering their offensive line will be a twofold blessing for the Chargers. It will definitely help keep Philip Rivers window open for a while longer and it should boost last year’s first round pick Melvin Gordon in the running game. Stanley has been NFL ready since last year and is prepared to make an immediate impact  on this offense.

4. Dallas Cowboys  

  Carson Wentz, QB, NDSU

This franchise has been wanting to pull the trigger on a quarterback for sometime now. With Tony Romo’s injury history and one of the league’s best offensive lines, this pick could pay dividends evensooner than this team hopes. Wentz is a long shot but everyone one knows that is exactly how the Cowboys like it. Landing here should give him some time to mature and the weapons he needs to succeed when given the chance.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars  

  Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State

The Jaguars have glaring holes all over their defense. They will get a quick jump on filling them by adding an extremely versatile and athletic player to their backfield. With his fluid speed, ridiculous ball skills and passion for the game, Ramsey may just be the best player in this draft and the most well rounded corner to come out of college this decade. He should be a breath of fresh air and an instant gamechanger for a unit that is urgently in need of a spark.

6. Baltimore Ravens 

 Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

Last year’s Ravens defense was an embarrassment to the team’s proud history.  Adding a powerful big bodied defender who has the ability to bring the heat in so many different ways should help them take a big step in bringing back respectability to the organization. It’s scary to think that Lawson plays even larger than his 6’3, 270 pound frame and that he is equally good against the pass and the run.

7. San Fransisco 49ers  

  Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA

This team needs help at linebacker and at running back. Chip Kelly fills each of these holes by adding the most versatile player in the draft and bolstering his team on both sides of the ball. If the 49ers cut this guy loose and let him be the sideline to sideline nemesis he desires to be, they could find themselves with one of the biggest finds of this draft. Jack is aggressive to the point of being vicious and this team could use a taste of the furociousness to help them get back on track. He scored 7 touchdowns as a running back and has experience as a punt returner.

8. Miami Dolphins 

 Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

This selection adds an extremely aggressive player to the Dolphins biggest area of need. Hargreaves is very consistent and his speed and instinct make him dangerous as shown by his 10 picks over the last three years. His athleticism makes him a good fit for a team that is looking for a big time playmaker on defense.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers   

 Laquan Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

Last year the Bucs had the first overall pick and selected Jameis Winston as their franchise quarterback. This year they will get him another weapon that will help make this offense even more potent. He already has the ability to split a defense and the hands to make the tough catch in tight coverage. Learning next to Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson will give him some time to develop his skills at a pace that could set him up to be great.

10. New York Giants  

  DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

This year the Giants have struggled to be dominant up front. This pick should help them reestablish that form. At 6’7 and 300 pounds, Buckner is long and athletic and that same disruptive defender they’ve had so much success with in the past. His presence should immediately make those around him better and make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks.

11. Chicago Bears   

  Jaylon Smith, ILB, Bears

Chicago has had some great middle linebackers in the past and they add another one right here. Smith has the potential to help bring the “glory” back to this Bears defense and will be a great centerpiece for them to build around for years to come. He plays with passion and has the versatility to man any of the linebacker positions.

12. New Orleans Saints 

 A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

The Saints need to shore up a defense that has become a glaring weakness. This pick makes them immediately stronger in the middle. Robinson thrives on pushing the pocket back toward the quarterback. He also has very quick feet which allow him excellent pursuit in the run game.

13. Philadelphia Eagles  

  Jared Goff, QB, California 

Goff may not have the same upside as  the other quarterbacks in this draft but as of right now he is the the most complete and NFL ready. The Eagles have a ton of talent at the other skill positions on offense. They need a passer that can step right in and lead them. He has great vision and the ability to make every throw.

14. Oakland Raiders 

 Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama

Its only a matter of time before the Raiders develop into one of the most frightening teams in the league. Adding Reed to that mix makes their defense that much scarier. He’s a space eating monster in the middle with a knack for making his teammates better. That’s a scary thought when the Raiders already possess a devastating d-line.

15. St. Louis Rams 

 Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State

The Rams need a franchise quarterback to help tie together all of the talented pieces of their offense. Cook gives them that piece. He has great vision, can make all the throws with tremendous accuracy and can hurt you with his legs if he feels the need.

16. Detroit Lions 

 Andrew Billings, NT, Baylor

The Lions need to repair their defensive line and this is exactly the guy to do it. Billings is a massive run stopper who also has  a quick enough burst to get through the line and pummel opposing quarterbacks before they have a chance to react. He plays downhill consistently and disruptivly and has tremendous vision and drive.

17. Atlanta Falcons  

 Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama

Rarely does the perfect piece fall to the exact perfect spot in the draft. That may be what this ambitious tackler becomes for a Falcons defense that will be built around its linebackers. Ragland has that old school mentality but can also bring the heat whenever he needs to and will fit nicely alongside Vic Beasley in Coach Quinn’s defense.

18. Indianapolis Colts 

 Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio St

The Colts need a young stud at running back who will take some of the pressure off of Andrew Luck. Elliott may be one of the most complete backs to come out of the draft in a long time. He uses fluid moves to cut through defenses and is a threat to take it to the house any time he touches the ball, regardless of whether he goes outside or right up the middle.

19. Buffalo Bills

 Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss 

For all the negatives on this guy, the Bills could get an absolute steal. Critics complain that his production doesn’t match up to his potential. However, there is no doubt that Nkimdiche changes games with his explosive burst and could be exactly what this team needs to take their defensive unit straight to the top.

20. New York Jets 

 Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

What would you get if you put Jason Whitten’s style of play in Rob Gronkowski’s body? You get a prototypical tight end who isn’t always going to be flashy and seldom makes mistakes. You add Henry’s consistency to an offense that already has two big play receivers and that will spell trouble for Jets opponents all season long.

21. Washington Redskins 
 Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State 

With an offense that came out of nowhere in 2015 it would make sense to solidify the line. Conklin has the ability to make this squad better right away by providing protection for Kirk Cousins and by opening up holes for a running game that tends toward inconsistentency.

22. Houston Texans 

 Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

Something about this guy makes me believe he can be extremely special even in an NFL that is trending away from workhorse running backs. In a league full of defenses who have to be focused on the pass, Henry is an old school bruiser who has the speed and agility to hit the holes and the power to punish anyone who fills them. The Texans lack consistency at the running back position, and this bruiser can offer them plenty more than that.

23. Minnesota Vikings 

 Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis 

The Vikings have tons of talent in their receiving core and have been looking for a quarterback who can finally uncover it. Lynch has the versatility to finally make that happen. He possesses the ability to make plays with his arm and legs and would be a perfect fit for a team that already has one of the premier rushing attacks in the league.

24. Cincinnati Bengals  

 Josh Doctson, WR TCU  

 Wide Receiver seems to be a strong point for the Bengals, but with the injuries they’ve had and with A.J.Green as the only one currently under contract, it could be a huge boost to this offense to bring in a young Dynamo like Doctson who has the size and fluidity to be a touchdown machine in this league.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers  

 
Mackenzie Alexander, CB, Clemson 

Alexander will bring some of the fire back to a Pittsburgh defense who has cooled off in recent years. He doesn’t fit all of the measurables of an NFL corner but there is no mistake that he has the heart. That’s exactly what the Steelees need. A player who can escalate the level of intensity of this young squad.

26. Seattle Seahawks 

 Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson

The Seahawks love to be overpowering and dominant on defense. Dodd would help add to that legacy as he gives them another unstoppable force up front. It’s frightening how well this non-stop competitor fits in with the Seahawks system. He should be ready to go from day one and will only get better as he gains experience.

27. Green Bay Packers 

 Jonathan Bullard, DT, Florida

Every year the Packers are trying to get stronger up front and this year won’t be any different. Bullard should give them another force on the line and insurance against one of their big men leaving in free agency. This kid may not be completely polished but he “brings it” every game and comes at you with pride and passion.

28. Kansas City Chiefs 

 Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma St.

The Chiefs suffocating defense just got stronger as they add a guy who can make a mess of offensive lines. Ogbah’s presence should make a squad who has been top three in points allowed over the last two years even harder to deal with. The new “Nigerian Nightmare” brings the inescapeability of a heat seeking missile and will help open up the Chiefs defensive back field to the possibility of even more big plays.

29. Arizona Cardinals 

 Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama

The Cardinals could use a solid center to anchor their offense as they continue to establish themselves as a winner. Kelly will not only bring the skills but the attitude that could help them get over that last hump.

30 Carolina Panthers 
 Jeremy Cash, S, Duke

The Panthers already have a ton of playmakers on defense and with this pick they add even more strength to their backfield. Cash is a tackling machine who will bring pop to a very strong Carolina run stopping unit.

31. Denver Broncos 

 Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA

The Broncos add a big disruptive force to the front of a defense that is known for causing problems to opposing teams around the league. It’s a scary  thought that this defense could actually improve in 2016.