Building the All Under-23 Offense in the NFL

 

 

 

QB: Dak Prescott, Cowboys, 23 years old

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There is no doubt that Prescott is a candidate for ROTY, and he might even be the leading candidate. His poise in the pocket along with his ability to pose a threat with his legs is more than enough for him to make my team. Carson Wentz was also in consideration, but I was pretty much splitting hairs with this decision.

RB: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 21 years old

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Elliott has been running like mad man so far this season, with over 700 yards in only six games so far. He hasn’t rushed for under 130 yards in his last four games. ‘Nuff said. Todd Gurley was also in consideration, but in my opinion, he is a little too overrated, and he hasn’t been finding the holes this season like he did in his rookie season.

WR1: Odell Beckham Jr., Giants, 23 years old

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I promise that I’m not just choosing players from the NFC East! That division just has a lot of young talent at these skill positions. Odell Beckham Jr. is on track to become the best receiver ever, just look at the stats. He is so quick in and out of his breaks and he can stop on a dime. The only way to cover him is to get in his head and get him frustrated.

WR2: Jarvis Landry, Dolphins, 23 years old

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The other LSU receiver that was drafted in 2014, Jarvis Landry should really be one of the top 10 wideouts in the league, but playing for a lackluster Dolphins team has brought his hype down the last two years. Landry caught 110 balls last year for over 1,100 yards, and that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

WR3: Amari Cooper, Raiders, 22 years old

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I so badly wanted to put Mike Evans or Allen Robinson here, and I was considering Will Fuller, but he hasn’t proved enough yet. I just couldn’t leave Cooper off of this list. He broke the 1,000 yard mark for the Raiders last year, and he is already more than halfway there through six games so far in 2016. Cooper hasn’t put up Odell Beckham Jr.-like production, but being The Guy in your rookie season has to say something. Cooper is a fantastic route-runner, and while he won’t blow you away with speed, he is a very balanced receiver.

TE1: Hunter Henry, Chargers, 21 years old

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There are about no tight ends worth mentioning who are 23 years old or younger. Hunter Henry and Eric Ebron are about the only ones. I went with Henry mainly because he has posted over 300 yards in only six games, and he is still playing behind Antonio Gates for the most part. Also because, you know, it’s Eric Ebron.

 

 

Blue Collar News

​Welcome to this edition of “Blue Collar News” where we will take an in depth look at NWA Blue Collar Wrestling out of Portland, Oregon. This past Sunday, October 9th they presented a card at Eagles North Portland FOE 3426 located at 7611 North Exeter Street in Portland, Oregon. 
The opening match of the evening was a triple threat match for the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship. The champion, Buddy Highway, defended the strap against the Pacific Northwest TV Champion, Cousin Jameson, and Kyle King, who is a trainer from Xtreme Wrestling Center in Raytown, Missouri. Highway picked up the win by a pin fall and retained the title. Jameson had this to say after the match, “Both men (Highway and King) are amazing athletes and after a hard fought match Buddy Highway retained his championship. It was an honor to work with Kyle King.” The Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Champion, Buddy Highway, was worked up for this match and the future. He told me, “Well, my focus has been on Tommy C. Making his life as much of a living hell as possible. Making him fight “Brutal” Bob Evans and Wildman Kongo after defeating him in a “Pick My Poison” match. But this week has me against Jameson and Kansas’s own Kyle King for my NWA PNW Title. It was a pretty intense match, as King mainly stayed outside while I battled Jameson. But in the end after a Road Block on King I was able to retain my title. Now my sight is set on Tommy C., once again, as he has asked for his title rematch next week at NWA Blue Collar. All I know is this, I have my title in my possession and I’ll be damned if I’ll let that go, once again. This is The Lost Sullivan and the devil’s child has spoken!!” Kyle King was part of a wrestling seminar that day in Portland featuring himself, Top Rope Promotions star, Wildman Kongo, out of Falls River, Massachussetts and ROH’s “Brutal” Bob Evans. King was a class act and told this reporter about his career. “I’ve been working for 8 years, all over the US. In the past 2 years, I’ve done 2 Evolve seminars, got to work for them and Full Impact Pro in Florida, as well as bringing Bob out to Kansas City for his seminar. The XWC is Kansas City’s oldest wrestling training center, at over 2 years and has wrestling, physique and promo work each and every week. We have had students on Raw several times already, which has been great for us. The most interesting thing about Bob’s seminars is the positivity he brings. He’s got 25 years in this business and loves to serve. Be it his own experiences in wrestling or just business which has helped me personally so much in just the last year!” If you are interested in getting trained as a professional wrestler, referee or manager go check out Xtreme Wrestling Center on Facebook. 
In the second match of the evening James St. John defeated J.B. Moonshine by pinfall. J.B. was not happy afterwards and when asked about a re-match, he stated, “His win was a fluke and if he didn’t have a handful of my overalls he wouldn’t have won! I’m hoping there is (a re-match), I want my chance to prove it was a fluke, so, booker, book it!”
In the third match of the night Ares Toretto faced Badd Blood for the NWA Continental Heavyweight Title. Badd Blood retained the strap by a pin fall. Badd Blood will be traveling to Georgia to face “Desperado” Christian Walker, the NWA Georgia Wrestling Extreme champion on November 12th at a show being called “Badd Blood Rising”.
In the 4th match of the evening Measure 11 (Petrov and Tommy Celcius) faced off against ROH’s “Brutal” Bob Evans and Wildman Kongo. Evans and Kongo walked away with a pinfall victory. Kongo is well known in the Northeast and told me about his background. “I was trained by Bob Evans. I’ve been wrestling for 9 years and I’ve wrestled Dalton Castle, MVP and Aldo Rose a.k.a. Adam Rose (from WWE). All this year.”

In the semi-main Lance Dean faced C.J. Edwards. Edwards won by disqualification when Dean threw powder in his face and was caught by the ref.

The main event was a non-title, falls count anywhere match between the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Champions, The Dark Asylum, and The Role Models. The Role Models got the pinfall when they handcuffed Butcher to the ring and double teamed Big Vicious. The end came when tgey backdroppef him through their “Worship Us” table in the center of the ring to score the pinfall. They look to have earned themselves another shot at the straps. 
Blue Collar Wrestling had a special visitor from the old wrestling days in Portland, Princess Victoria. She worked during the 80’s and was trained by Sandy Barr. She was best known for her feud with Velvet McIntyre in Vancouver for All Star Wrestling as well as in the NWA. They formed a tag team after concluding their feud and won the NWA World Women’s Tag Team Titles in Calgary. In 1984 they were recognized as the WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions. When asked about the experience, she told me, “Walking into BCW dressing room was like walking back in time 36 years. I heard please, thank you and excuse me. When the promoter spoke everyone shut up and listened. When the matches began, with very few exceptions, all were watching each other’s matches, There were critiques given and accepted. The matches were solid, old school wrestling and the crowd was on their feet for the entire show. There was no cussing in the interviews as the promoter had instructed, “The first word in the term “professional wrestler” is “professional” and I expect everyone of you to conduct yourself as such in every aspect of your lives not just at the arena.  I enjoyed every minute of my time there and am looking forward to going again. BCW is worth taking a look at, folks. Bring your kids and grandma and grandpa as this is a family orientated event..”
Next Sunday, in Portland, Blue Collar Wrestling will host Chris Youngblood, a fixture in World Class, World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico, Global Wrestling Federation, USWA, WCW and FMW in Japan during the 80’s and 90’s. 
With all these classic stars and Ring of Honor stars working in NWA/BCW it’s going to be a great rest of the year for the promotion. Follow NWA Blue Collar Wrestling on Facebook to keep up with all the latest news from the NWA in Portland.
Will The Role Models be able to wrestle the tag titles away from The Dark Asylum? Will C.J. Edwards challenge for a title after his big semi-main event victory? What is in store for Chris Youngblood next week? Come back, next week, to Blue Collar News to find out! And, if you get a chance go visit http://theblackbooks.smackjeeves.com/ and read my web comic, “The Black Books”, a sci-fi detective noir story, for FREE. Finally, if you would do me a favor, visit http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.personalCampaign&participantID=720221 and donate $5 to help prevent suicide. It means a lot to me. That’s it for this week. So, in the mean time and in between time, so long from Blue Collar News!

Predicting Winners of Top WR-CB Battles for Week 6

Dez Bryant vs. Sam Shields:

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Both of these players didn’t play in Week 5 and are questionable to even play in Week 6, but in this article, I’m assuming that every player that is questionable will play. If both of these players are healthy, then we will see a rematch of the famous Dez Bryant “catch”. Remember that play? He “caught” that ball over Sam Shields. The speed of Sam Shields versus Dez’s ability to high-point the ball should be a joy to watch. At the end of the day, you can be a very fast corner, but all that Dak has to do is toss the ball up, and Dez will come down with it. Dez has built a whole career off of doing that. I’m not about to doubt him now.

Winner: Dez Bryant

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Vontae Davis:

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Is it DeAndre Hopkins or Will Fuller that is the top receiver in Houston? That’s been a pretty hot topic of debate recently, as Fuller has been torching defenses with his speed, and Hopkins has only turned on one 100+ yard day. I’m sticking with Hopkins as the top receiver on this Texans team. He has been for the past two years, so I’m not going to dismiss him supremacy after just five weeks. As far as him versus Vontae Davis, I give Hopkins the edge here. Davis is starting to age, and while he is still a top cornerback, I feel like this is DeAndre’s breakout game this season.

Winner: DeAndre Hopkins

Brandon Marshall vs. Patrick Peterson:

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It’s hard to think that Brandon Marshall is 32 years old, because he’s playing like he’s still in his prime. The veteran is preparing for life after football, as he has already started a broadcasting career on NFL Network, but the way that he’s playing right now, I don’t think he needs to think about sitting at the booth for another three years. Marshall may be having another Brandon Marshall-type season, but I never bet against Patrick Peterson. He can stay stride for stride with any receiver in the game and is the modern day Houdini, as he makes receivers disappear on the football field. The only way to beat Peterson is to put the ball perfectly overtop of him, an with the way that Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing, I can’t see him being able to do that.

Winner: Patrick Peterson

Amari Cooper vs. Marcus Peters –

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Amari Cooper went off against a Jason Verrett-less San Diego Chargers squad. His 138 yards came on 6 catches, and he finally took back the crown of the top receiver in Oakland. Don’t get me wrong, Michael Crabtree is having a fantastic season, but Cooper is and will be the top receiver every time that he steps onto that field. Marcus Peters has given up some big plays this season, but he has also made some huge plays. Peters is prone to give up the big play, but Cooper doesn’t have the long speed to get by Peters, and that’s usually where Peters experiences some issues. Peters will shadow Cooper the whole game and keep him from beating him deep. Advantage: Peters.

Winner: Marcus Peters

Julio Jones vs. Richard Sherman

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This is the marquee matchup of the week. Of course, there is no guarantee that Sherman will follow Julio all game long, and he probably won’t, because it’s the Seahawks scheme. This has obviously been the big topic of conversation regarding Richard Sherman and his standing among the top corners of the game. In the snaps where he is lined up on Julio, I can’t imagine him getting torched. Sherman will hold his own against Julio Jones, but don’t count on Julio being silent either. This is the closest call of the entire week, but I’ll take Julio Jones. He has a quarterback in Matt Ryan who is incredibly in form, and that is the deciding factor.

Winner: Julio Jones

 

 

 

Top 5 Heisman Contenders After Week 5

Louisville vs. Clemson. Washington vs. Stanford. North Carolina vs. Florida State. All three of these games have dramatically shifted my Heisman ranking, and as fun as they were to watch, who the heck is the top Heisman contender now? Week 5 shook up the Heisman race like a California earthquake, so how do things stand now?

 

Honorable Mentions:

Dalvin Cook – If the Seminoles didn’t have two losses, then you’d see him a lot higher up on this list.

Christian McCraffrey – Stanford suffered a terrible loss to Wisconsin, and while McCaffrey is amazing, he can’t be this entire Stanford offense.

Tommy Armstrong Jr. – This is your official dark-horse Heisman contender. He’s got Nebraska at No. 12 (AP Poll) in the nation with his arm and his legs.

 

5. Jake Browning – QB – Washington

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I’m absolutely in love with this Washington team, just check out my last article. While this defense is what really makes me believe in their chances as a Top 3 team, Jake Browning is absolutely fantastic under center. He isn’t draft eligible until next year, but Browning is already a lock to be a Top 5 pick in next year’s NFL Draft. Browning hasn’t topped the 300-yard passing mark in any game yet this season, but the Huskies are 5-0, and greatly because of him. The number one trait among Heisman winners: They win games.

4. Greg Ward Jr. – QB – Houston

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Not only can Greg Ward Jr. get it done through the air (over 1,300 passing yards thus far), but he also has the running ability of a running back. At 5’11”, Ward will probably never make it in the NFL, but he has certainly made his mark on College Football. Houston is currently ranked at No. 6 (AP Poll), and with only Louisville as the only real threat left on their schedule, Ward should be able to put up huge statistics and the Cougars should keep on winning games.

3. Deshaun Watson – QB – Clemson

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Last week, I didn’t even have Watson in my Top 5, as he’s thrown way too many interceptions for a Heisman contender and his team struggled in their first two games. After a huge win against Louisville, he jumps up my list in a major way. He threw 3 interceptions, but in a game like the one we saw on Saturday, when you have two Top 5 teams going up against each other, winning the game matters a lot more than statistics. Watson willed his team to win, so he gets a big bump up the rankings. Although he won, I’m not ready to forget about those first two games where he should’ve posted a lot bigger stat lines.

2. J.T. Barrett – QB – Ohio State

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It seems like people have just stopped watching Ohio State and Alabama. There is clearly a VIP section in the Top 25 rankings, and it’s at No. 1 and No. 2. Fans just assume that Ohio State and Alabama will consistently win, so J.T. Barrett seems to not get as much hype as he deserves. Barrett doesn’t have the stats that the other candidates do, and that’s because the Buckeyes have blown out every opponent that they’ve faced, so they take him out once the believe that they don’t need him anymore. Fun Fact: Barrett has only thrown SIX, yes six passes in the fourth quarter this season. Ohio State is winning and J.T. Barrett has done nothing to move him down the rankings.

  1. Lamar Jackson – QB – LouisvilleImage result for lamar jackson vs. clemson

I know that this is controversial, but it really shouldn’t be. With 2,313 total yards already this season, Jackson is putting together a historic season. Let’s put his stats into perspective. If Lamar Jackson were his own team, he would be the 30th best offense in College Football, above Ohio State and only 4 yards behind Clemson. Are you freaking kidding me? The fact that people had Lamar Jackson as the unanimous top Heisman contender before Week 5 and then fault him for losing to Clemson is insane. Jackson played an incredible game, and it wasn’t like Louisville struggled. It was an instant-classic type game that anyone could have won. I know that I’ve said that winning is the most important thing in these types of games, but Jackson willed his team to win, and maybe if James Quick had pick up the extra yard on that fourth down, we would be talking about one of the best players in college football history. Jackson is still the best in College Football by leaps and bounds.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits:

Lamar Jackson gets choked out by Ben Boulware, doesn’t get a flag

http://www.cleveland.com/osu/index.ssf/2016/01/jt_barrett_ohio_states_heisman.html

http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Deshaun+Watson/Clemson+v+Louisville/OFNY-TZYKGD

Greg Ward Jr. out for Houston, Kyle Postma will start

http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/uw-husky-football/jake-browning-and-uw-offense-have-plenty-of-room-for-growth/

Time to Change NFL Schedule System

If anyone wants to check 14 of your favorite teams 16 games for the next 30 seasons in the NFL, you can. Does that bother anyone else but me? Is it stupid for me to be annoyed that I can look up all but 2 of the Chicago Bears opponents for the 2032 season right now? How can that be, you ask? Well, for those who are not acquainted with how the NFL makes their schedule from year to year, it goes like this.

There are 32 teams that fit ever so nicely into 8 divisions. In order to show how a schedule is made each season, lets take the 2017 New England Patriots. The Patriots play teams in the AFC East (their division) TWICE in a home an home series, so that’s 6 games.

The rest of the Patriots schedule in 2017 is filled out by facing a division in their own conference (AFC) and a division in the NFC. In 2017, the AFC East plays the AFC West and NFC South. Home games and away games are determined by rotation. For example, the last time the Patriots played the AFC West as a division on their schedule was in 2014. That season they played the Raiders and Broncos at home and the Chiefs and Chargers on the road. For 2017, they switch and play the Raiders and Broncos on the road, and the Chiefs and Chargers at home. That brings the number of games played up to 10.

In 2017 the NFC division that the Patriots play is the NFC South (the other conference schedule is also done on a rotating basis). The previous time the Patriots played the NFC South in 2013, they played the Saints and Buccaneers at home and Falcons and Panthers on the road. For 2017, they play the opposite facing the Saints and Bucs on the road and the Falcons and Panthers at home. That brings the number of games played up to 14.

The final 2 games on the Patriots 2017 schedule have yet to be determined, as they are based on where the Patriots finish in their division in 2016 and how the two interconference divisions the Patriots aren’t playing (the AFC North and South) finish. For instance, if the Patriots finish first in the AFC East, they play the first place teams in the AFC North and South. If they finish 2nd in the AFC East, they play the second place teams in the AFC North and South, etc..etc…

NFL Schedule Maker
Total Games
Teams in own division TWICE 6
Interconference Division ONCE 4
Intraconference Division ONCE 4
Interconference Position from other 2 divisions 2

For those who love competitive balance, this schedule looks like a good idea. All of the teams in the same division play just about the same exact schedule minus 2 games that are left to how the team finished the season before. I certainly think its a nice and neat way to organize the leagues schedule for the next 5-30 years, but I question how much it really helps the competitive balance overall.

If you are a last place team in the AFC East (say the Jets) and you go 3-13, it’s got to be a hard revelation that the next season you are basically playing the same exact schedule as the 14-2 Patriots. How is that a good idea? Sure, in some divisions the difference between a 10-6 division winner and a 7-9 last place team isn’t that much, but how about for the example of the AFC East? An 11 game difference is pretty big in a season where only 16 games are played. So, how can we make this better for all teams and guarantee, like most of the European Soccer leagues, that success the year before means a tougher schedule the next season.

Here is my suggestion, and its pretty simple. Teams opponents the next season, outside of their division of course, are determined by the place they finish in said division. For instance, if the Colts finish 1st in the AFC South, they play their division opponents twice (6 games), each of the teams that finished first in their conference twice (6 games), and all 4 teams that finished first in the other conference (4 games). The opposite conferences will rotate on a season to season basis for what plays what division at home and on the road (AFC East winner plays at NFC East winner one year, then flips the next season).

If you think its crazy that you would play teams outside of your division twice in a season, think again. The NFL used to allow that in earlier schedule diagrams. From 1978 to 1995, the NFL, due to its unbalanced divisions with a four-time division and two five team divisions in each conference, had a 5th-place schedule where a team would play the other 5th place team in their conference twice.

With my schedule you don’t penalize the last place team by making them play a schedule equal to that of a first place team. This also creates a large number of entertaining games for every season, guaranteeing that just about each week you will see a pair of first place teams from the year before matching up against each other.

If you are a last place team this gives you a healthy chance of having a successful next season without having to worry about being overwhelmed with facing just as many playoff teams as the teams that finished 1st and 2nd in your division the year before. I never really understood why the NFL wanted to make each team in the same division basically play the same schedule. To me. that creates a much more generic NFL season.

New Schedule System
Play each team in division twice 6 games
Play each interconference division place twice* 6 games
Play each Intraconference division place once* 4 games
*Based on finish from previous season 16 games

I’m open to other suggestions. Please let me know yours.

Why the Washington Huskies Are A Top 3 Team in College Football

          After a dominating, and I mean dominating, performance against Stanford, Washington should be expecting a huge jump up the rankings. Just how high should they be put? I don’t care if it’s an overreaction, but I like them as a Top 3 team. They obviously will never be put there, as the winner of Louisville vs. Clemson will gladly fill that spot, but if that weren’t an issue, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them right up there.

          Where do you start when talking about this team? Let’s start a Quarterback, where we have the pleasure to watch true-sophomore Jake Browning. In watching Browning, I noticed three things. First, his accuracy, particularly on the deep ball, is impeccable. Second, his decision-making is his best attribute. Third, he has NFL size. The only flaw that I noticed with him was his lack of arm strength, but that is something that can be fixed in the year-and-a-half that he has before he is draft eligible.

Image result for jake browning

          At the running back position, Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman have both had their breakout games, and both of them are capable of torching defenses. Receivers John Ross and Chico McClatcher combine to form one of the speediest receivers duos in college football.  Let’s also give some love to the offensive line, who kept Jake Browning’s jersey clean the entire game against Stanford.

          The offense is great to watch, but the defense is something else. Two years ago, it was the year of Shaq Thompson, Marcus Peters, Hau’oli Kikaha, and Danny Shelton, and after they left for the NFL, Washington had trouble reloading on defense. Well, Consider them reloaded, as their defense boasts several top names. They have two Senior Defensive Ends in Psalm Wooching and Joe Mathis. If you watched the Stanford game, you should already be acquainted with these two, as they were practically living in Stanford’s backfield.

          Azeem Victor is a tackle machine at linebacker, as he has 42 to his name. Jo-Jo McIntosh is another impact player on that defense as well, although the stat sheet may not show it.

          How could I talk about this defense without mentioning Budda Baker and Sidney Jones? Baker is the classic in-the-box type safety, always around the ball, and even though he is a little on the shorter end, it’s never been an issue when quarterbacks throw to him. Sidney Jones is a lockdown cornerback on the outside, and he is likely to be first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. The same goes for Budda Baker.

Image result for budda baker

         Now, a team can have great players but not perform. That isn’t the case for this Huskies team. Playing out West, many people are already asleep by the time that Washington is playing, so they won’t get that recognition that they deserve. The best thing that could’ve happened to them was playing Stanford in Friday Night Primetime. People were finally able to watch the Huskies play, and like me, they liked what they saw.

          Washington has their signature win, along with the players, to succeed. Facing Oregon next week looks to be their only big test for the rest of the season, so Washington looks like it could roll to the College Football Playoffs. I could see them winning it all too. Quote me on that.

Photo Credits:

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/university-of-washington-ready-to-cook-with-budda-baker-040716

http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/uw-husky-football/like-cals-jared-goff-uws-jake-browning-has-a-unique-feel-for-the-game/