Looking Good So Far!

I can’t see anyone stopping the offensive engine of the Chiefs, at least for now. Keep the foot on the throttle.

I know it is only three games into the 2018 NFL season, but the Chiefs look good so far, at least on offense.  Patrick Mahomes is the real deal.  Playing like a seasoned veteran.  I am really impressed with his poise under pressure, nothing seams to rattle him.  The stage doesn’t appear to be to big for him either.  He is seeing the whole field very well and reading coverage’s quickly.  I can tell you that being in the system for one year and playing behind Alex Smith has taught him what it takes to be a professional NFL Quarterback.  It is one of the major factors in Patrick’s early success.  Having thrown 13 touchdown passes to nine different players with no interceptions is impressive, and not to mention historical!

Now for he Chiefs defense.  Talking with former Chiefs defensive players, they are literally embarrassed with the Chiefs performances to date.  It amazes me, and them, that a defensive team can give up points as quickly as the Chiefs do, particularly when they have a 21 or 28 point lead.  The Chiefs have several good defensive players so that convinces me, and all my fellow Chiefs alumni, that the play calling on defense and the overall scheme is not up to the level of playoff teams.  There is a time and place to play soft and keep plays in front of you, but I am not sure the Chiefs know when that is.

The only thing that could stop the Chiefs offensive machine are injuries.  If this team can stay healthy, I look for them to win 11 games and make the playoffs.  How far they go is up to the defense.

The Chiefs Kingdom  is on the Patrick Mahomes bandwagon, and rightfully so.  I know I am!

The Outdoor Quarterback.

Preseason Done, Thank God!

It will take three regular season games for most starters to be in game shape.

In all the years I either played played professional football or have been associated with the NFL, I have never seen such terrible performances by virtually every team I watched, including the Chiefs.

The other part of my observation was, several veteran players, starters specifically, haven’t played a complete half of football, in total, in the four preseason games.  My question is, how are any of these players going to be in game shape come the first regular season games?  The answer: they aren’t!  If you disagree, just watch the sidelines of the first half of the opening regular season games.  Watch how the offensive players look and act after a long drive.  Check out the defensive players after a 10 play drive by their opponents.  They will be bent over hands on hips and towels around their necks.  I promise the most popular guy on the sidelines will be the trainer with the oxygen bottles.  Now with the limited practice time the players have, due to the current CBA, none of them can get in the shape and condition they need to be in without substantial playing time in preseason games.  From what I saw this preseason, there were more than usual missed tackles, dropped balls, bad throws, players who couldn’t finish plays and just overall inconsistent play.  In my opinion it will be that way until about the third week in the regular season.  That’s about how long it will take for most of the players to get in game shape.

There is light at the end of the tunnel: fantasy football is just about to start.  Fantasy Football does make the season much more fun to watch.  Now if I could just pick the right players this year, the season will be far more enjoyable.  Two years in a row my top pick in the draft got injured in the first game and was out for the entire season.  Is that bad luck or terrible drafting?

The Outdoor Quarterback

Honor The Contract!

Julio needs to honor at least one or two more years of his existing contract.

Since coming into the league, one of my favorite players, and has always been my number one pick in fantasy football, Julio Jones, is absolutely wrong holding out for an extension on his current contract.  I have always been, and will always side with the players, for getting as much money as they can.  But in this situation Julio needs to play and honor his current contract for at least one or two more years.  The Falcons gave him a great deal with a substantial amount of guaranteed money.  Now that a few other receivers have signed contracts making more annual salary then he is, Julio feels he needs to hold out and not honor his current contract, which still has three years remaining.  He wants a new deal making him the highest payed receiver in the NFL.  With his guarantee money (signing bonus) and his annual salary, he is right there with any of the new contracts being signed.

The Falcons just secured Matt Ryan to an incredible contract.  That means Julio has his quarterback in place for several years, a huge security blanket for him.  Why not go to the Falcons, tell them he will honor his current contract and work towards an extension including more guaranteed money.  That will help the Falcons get other pieces of the puzzle put together to complete their team.  I have no question that the Falcons will be contending for the NFC Championship this coming season.  Distractions like this, with arguably their best player, can become a real problem for the organization.  He will get his extension, no question.  If he just waits to see what some of the other outstanding receivers sign for, Julio can set the mark on what the top receiver in the NFL will be paid.

How does it go, pigs get fat but hogs get slaughtered!

I am still going to make Julio my top choice in fantasy football.  If I could give him any advice it would to be smart, continue to prove to the Falcons you are the best wide receiver in the NFL and that winning the Super Bowl is all that matters and is his top priority.  That will get their attention.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Post Draft Vol 1!

Even with a young quarterback, the Chiefs could go deep in the NFL playoffs.

So, how did your team do in the 2018 NFL Draft?  I will tell you what I think about the Chiefs and few other teams I follow.  The Chiefs made a decision that defense was a major concern.  Loosing Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson a couple of corners, Marcus Peters being one, left very little doubt what the Chiefs were going to do.  Without a first round selection, the Chiefs had to wait for the opportunity to pick their guy, edge rusher Breeland Speaks, from Ole Miss.  Along with Dee Ford and Justin Houston, Breeland Speaks adds another pressure player to the Chiefs defense.

Another key free agent was wide receiver Sammy Watkins.  The question I have is how the rest of the league is going to defend the Chiefs offense.  If Patrick Mahomes plays to his potential, who is going to cover Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, Chris Conley and DeAnthoy Thomas?  Not to mention the leading rusher in the NFL, Kareem Hunt.  For the first time in many years the Chiefs have as good of skill players on offense as they have ever had.  Should be exciting to watch.

If the defense can improve to the middle of the defensive statistical charts, the Chiefs have a very good chance to go deep in the playoffs, even with a young quarterback in Patrick Mahomes.  The Chiefs are playing in the most difficult division, the AFC West, in the NFL.  I like their chances based on the new additions to their roster.

Mandatory off season mini camps around the NFL are just about to conclude.  The Chiefs will have a, “First Look “, for sponsors and special guest this week.  I am looking forward to seeing how they look on defense, just as much as I am interested in watching Patrick Mahomes lead the offense.

Times are changing at Arrowhead stadium and appears to be for the good!

The Outdoor Quarterback

NFL Scouting Combine, Something For NFL Junkies!

The NFL Combine is now must watch TV, football junkie or not!

If you are a NFL football junkie, then this weekend you were in heaven watching the NFL Scouting Combine.  I will admit I watched it off and on from start until the last day.  Of course I spent a lot of time watching the quarterbacks.  A couple of the guys I really like threw very well and were faster than I thought, Josh Allen from Wyoming and Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma.  There were a few others I thought helped themselves and a couple quarterbacks, I think, may have hurt their draft position.

The wide receivers and tight ends looked good.  The Alabama receiver, Calvin Ridley, lived up to his billing.  Ran very well, showed soft hands and ran  great routes.  I was most impressed with the tight end from Oklahoma, Mark Andrews.  Caught the ball very well, looked comfortable running his routes and appeared to always be under control.  The question I have would have about Andrews is his ability to block at the next level.  The Stanford TE, Dalton Schultz, caught my eye as well, and my guess is he can block.

The one player that may have moved himself from the second overall pick to possibly the number overall pick is running back Saquon Barkley.  Saquon stood out in every activity he participated in.  His performance at the combine was very impressive.  I think the Browns would be making a devastating mistake if they down’t take him with the first pick.  Having the fourth overall pick as well, Cleveland should be able to grab one of the top three quarterbacks.  I can guarantee that one of these three quarterbacks, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold will be on the board at pick number 4.  Now that all changes if they can sign a veteran free agent quarterback before the draft.

We will find out in late April!

The Outdoor Quarterback

My Top Three Quarterbacks In This Years Draft?

The three quarterbacks I like in this years NFL draft.

Every year I am drawn to the group of college quarterbacks being talked about and evaluated for the NFL draft.  Over the years the one conclusion I have been able to reach is, everyone sees something different in each of the quarterback prospects.  I have watched all the top rated quarterbacks play this past season, many of them several times.  There are a few I really like and think will develop into NFL starting quarterbacks.

There are three that stand out at the present time.  Those three have the key characteristics and skills to play in the NFL, they are Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Mason Rudolph.  In my opinion these three quarterbacks have next level talent.  I don’t think any of them are ready to step in and start as a rookie for any team.  Although there is one wild card among the top 8 or 9 talked about quarterbacks; Baker Mayfield.  He reminds me of Drew Brees with the running ability of Michael Vick.  Baker is a winner, plays with an uncontrollable desire to win.  He has the kind of attitude that he will do whatever it takes to win.  A player like that is hard to evaluate from a pure NFL style quarterback.  I know one thing, I would want him on my team.  I still don’t see him as one of the top quarterbacks being drafted, at least early.  Someone is going to select him, for sure.

Sam, Josh and Mason all are big strong throwers who have the athletic ability to run.  The can and will keep drives alive with their mobility.  All of my top three have the ability stand and deliver from the pocket.  It looks like  they can read coverage’s, follow their progressions and make decisions quickly.  The three of them fit the Carson Wentz quarterback mold, something most teams are looking for.  They are all exceptional athletes.  They play with no fear and will put the ball in tight spots when needed.  I personally like their physical size, arm strength and athletic abilities.  I have been impressed with their foot work in the pocket.  Even with great arms you must have your feet in the right position to be an accurate passer.

There will be several other top quarterbacks drafted.  I just don’t see them in the same light as I do in Darnold, Allen and Rudolph, including Baker Mayfield.  From what I have seen, Josh Rosen may throw the best deep ball of any of the quarterbacks in this years draft.  There is just something about him and his foot work that concerns me.  He appears to lack the mobility and instincts to avoid a NFL rush.  For him it will depend on how quickly he can process the information he sees at the snap of the ball.

I am interested to see how they all perform at the NFL Combine.

The Outdoor Quarterback

A Super Bowl To Remember!

The Eagles and Nick Foles bring home the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia.

What a Super Bowl, one to remember for sure.  Nick Foles played like Tom Brady and Tom played like everyone thought he would.  A lot of records set in this game.  Tom threw for over 500 yards, a new Super Bowl record.  Nick threw 3 touchdown passes and caught one himself, something never done in a Super Bowl.  Combine yardage for both teams was over 1100 yards, and new Super Bowl record.  Longest field goal kicked by a rookie kicker in a Super Bowl, 46 yards.  One punt in the game, another SB record.  All and all, a great game to watch.  Great throws and catches, outstanding runs and gutsy fourth down play calling.

My only question is what happened to both teams defenses?  They were no shows!  The Eagles blew coverage’s several times and both teams missed tackles on critical plays throughout the game.  Only one sack by either team.  Fortunately it came at the right time for the Eagles.

I have always said that one or two plays can determine the outcome of a game.  In this Super Bowl I can think of three.  The missed field goal by Gostkowski, which wasn’t his fault.  The hit on Brandin Cooks, which knocked him out of the game.  The missed pass play to Tom Brady.  Loosing Cooks really hurt the Patriots.  I think his loss may have been the difference in the game.  The missed field goal was a momentum changer.  The pass play to Tom stopped a drive which kept them from scoring.  All of these plays had some affect on the outcome of the game.

The most impressive aspect of this Super Bowl was the play of Eagles quarterback, Nick Foles.  It seemed like he had an answer for every time the Patriots scored.  He matched Tom’s performance play for play.  Watching the game you would have thought Nick had played in several Super Bowls.  It never looked like that the game was too big for him.  Played like a veteran, calm and with focus.

Congratulations to Doug Pederson and the Eagles.

The Outdoor Quarterback

 

Will It Be The Patriots or The Eagles?

Weather won’t be a factor in the Super Bowl, but turnovers will be.

It’s time to pick, will it be the Patriots or the Eagles that will become Super Bowl Champions.  It comes down to this, if the Eagles can win the time of possession battle, no turnovers and win the field possession game, I predict they will win.  Of course there are several other factors.  Example, if the Patriots get off to a quick start and get up by 10 or more, It will be very difficult for the Eagles to come back.  Tom Brady and the Patriots are not the type of team to sit on a lead, they understand the value of playing to the last whistle.

There is something about this game, hard to put a finger on it but I just get the sense that the Eagles defense is ready to play.  They should be the difference maker.  I know the Eagles have a few key players who have come down with some kind of illness this week, which could play a major role in the game.  If they can recover in time to play in the game, it could be the determining factor for the Eagles to win.  One of the things that needs to happen is for Eagles quarterback, Nick Foles to play with confidence early.  Whatever pregame nerves he will have, and he will have them, need to be put aside on the first snap of the game.  If he is focused and does not let the game get to big for him, I am going with the Eagles.  This is against my better judgement, picking against Tom Brady and the Patriots.  I just feel like the Eagle’s defense will be the difference.

I am an AFC guy and normally pull for the them, in this case that would be the Patriots.  But there is something I like about the Eagles.  When coach Doug Pederson was with the Chiefs, I got to know him a little.  What I really like about him is his offensive philosophy. He is always playing to win game instead of playing not to lose.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Super Bowl Week Is Here

Early jitters from Nick Foles could be the difference in this years Super Bowl

Super Bowl week is here and everyone is getting their parties planned for the big game.  For those current and former players who are attending the game, the best part of Super Bowl week are the private parties and events.  It shouldn’t be any different in Minneapolis.

I have found that unless your team is playing, the day of the game is miserable.  It is the longest game day experience you will ever have, and doing it in sub zero temperatures will make it worse.  Everything leading up to kickoff takes too long.  In my opinion that is why the offenses have had a difficult time getting going.  In most Super Bowls it usually takes a whole quarter for either offenses to move the ball with any consistency.  Defenses, on the other hand, start fast and make big plays early in the game.  I predict that will happen in Super Bowl LII.

Even though Tom Brady is playing in his EIGHTH Super Bowl, I still believe he will need a couple of series to find his rhythm.  A little known fact, the Patriots have never scored in the first quarter of any Super Bowl they have played in.  Opening ceremonies are just to long and proves my point.  You can’t expect either offense to come out of the locker room reading to play after warming up then sitting down for 40 minutes.

If the Patriots can put a good opening drive together, it could be a long day for the Eagles.  On the other side of the coin, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, is playing in his first Super Bowl.  The big question is, can he over come early jitters and be productive to start the game.  The Eagles just can’t afford to get behind early.  Something else they can’t afford to do, is put all the pressure on Nick to win the game.  It will be important to protect him early on so he can gain some confidence.  For the Eagles to win, Nick must make good decisions, sometimes that means throwing the ball away on third down and punting.  If he has a solid performance not great, plays consistent, moves the chains and has no turnovers, the Eagles have really good chance of winning.

One of the keys to beating the Patriots and Tom Brady, is keeping him off the field.  The Eagles defense has to be a factor throughout the entire game.  One big play on defense could be all it takes for Eagles to beat the Patriots.

One last thought, it’s tough to bet against Tom Brady!

The Outdoor Quarterback

 

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NFL Final Four

The NFL version of the final four is here and should be an exciting Sunday.

It’s not college basketball’s March Madness, but it’s the NFL’s version of it.  The final four teams left in the playoffs, Vikings, Eagles, Patriots and Jaguars, are ready to determine who’s going to the Super Bowl.  It’s no surprise the Patriots are there once again!  After all the injuries I think everyone is surprised the others made it this far.  If you are tired of the Patriots being here again, there is a simple solution, just step up and beat them.  Until that happens or Tom Brady  retires, get use to it.

This weekend of playoff games could be very interesting.  If the Jaguars can keep from turning the ball over and play their style of defense, I give them a good chance to win.  This has to be a game of no mistakes, including untimely penalties.  Turnovers, defensive penalties, and giving the Patriots great field position will allow Tom to put a lot of  points on the board.  I just don’t see Jacksonville scoring 40 points again.  If the Jaguars can keep Tom and the Patriots under 23 points, I think they will win.  Everyone knows that Tom and the Patriots have been here before, many times, but this is the first kick at the can for Blake Bortles.   Hopefully he can stay calm and keep up his error free play.  The old saying, “Defenses win championships” may never be to put to the test more than this weekend.  Personally, I love the underdogs but it is hard to bet against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

The NFC Championship game is full of incredible stories.  Both quarterbacks, Nick Foles of the Eagles, and Case Keenum of the Vikings are great stories with potential storybook endings.  Basically Case was the third quarterback on the Vikings roster.  Right now, in my opinion, he is the league MVP.  The way he has played this year and how he has led the Vikings is something Disney couldn’t have scripted.  Nick Foles stepped in for Carson Wentz, who at the time of his injury was the leading candidate for this years league MVP.  Now he is in the position to take the Eagles to the Super Bowl.  Before this season started, you could’t have made this up.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs from NCIS always talks about his his gut feelings.  My guts are telling me that the Eagles are going to win.  But the rest of my anatomy is on the Vikings.  Nothing would be better for the NFL than to have the Vikings become the first team in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl hosted by their home town.  If that happens, Disney will come out with a fairy tale type movie, guaranteed!

The Outdoor Quarterback