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Friday, July 13, 2018

Trey Flowers one of PFF's highest graded defenders from 2015 NFL Draft



By Tanya Ray Fox
July 12, 2018

Trey Flowers had a disappointing rookie debut for the New England Patriots back in 2015 after a shoulder injury kept him out for most of the season, but in the two seasons since, he continued to grow into his role on the defensive line. Now he’s one of its most important players heading into 2018.

The 24-year-old defensive end was taken 101st overall in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and he earned an impressive 87.8 grade for his 2017 season from Pro Football Focus, making him the third-highest graded defender from his draft class behind Adrian Amos (Bears) and Landon Collins (Giants), both safeties.



Isn’t it just like Belichick to grab a player like that in the fourth round?

Flowers’ 13.5 sacks over the last two seasons leads the team by a large margin, and as they try to build a new and improved pass rush this year, they will have to rely on Flowers consistency. Luckily he’ll have some help on the other side from Adrian Clayborn, who will meet high expectations in New England after having a career-best season with the Atlanta Falcons in 2017.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Detroit Lions: Jeff Davidson; Lions’ secret weapon




Jeff Davidson has a history of successful running games and should be able to help the Lions take the necessary steps forward to take this offense to a whole new level.

By Zack Moran
July 8, 2018

Stop me if you have heard this one before; the Detroit Lions’ running game has been atrocious for a while now. It seems like you can’t go a day without that being said from everyone concerning the Lions. The Lions have signed LeGarrette Blount and drafted Kerryon Johnson this year. They also drafted Frank Ragnow to solidify the offensive line and Tyrell Crosby for much-needed depth. One move that deserves more attention; the hire of Jeff Davidson as the offensive line coach.

When Jim Caldwell was removed as head coach, there was only one other coach to fired along with him; and that was former offensive line coach Ron Prince. With all of the upgrades along the line, Prince was never able to put everything together successfully. Some reports even came out saying he was not well-regarded in the locker room and he rubbed the veterans the wrong way. In lieu of Prince’s firing, Jeff Davidson became the new offensive line coach when Matt Patricia was brought in as head coach.

Davidson’s rushing success

Jeff Davidson has had some success through his time as an NFL coach. His most recent stint with the Denver Broncos as the offensive line coach; they averaged 115.8 yards per game on the ground which came in at 12th in the league. His other stints with the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, and the San Diego Chargers; all featured a strong rushing attack.

My biggest reason for optimism for Davidson is the consistent rushing success wherever he goes. He was able to take bottom-ranked rushing teams and transform them into a respectable rushing team time and time again. If you want to get an idea of Davidson’s track record; check out Nate Atkins from MLive.com article. At the end of the day, through Davidson’s time as an offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, offenses averaged 10th most yards per carry in the league. Also, had multiple 100-yard rushers in a season, sometimes even in the same game. He will be the much-needed spark that will bring the rushing game out of purgatory.

Help to the passing game

Along with helping the running game, he might be able to solve the sack problem as well. Matthew Stafford was sacked 47 times last year. For the amount of money the Lions are investing in Stafford, that is completely unacceptable. Sacks are drive killers and run the risk of your quarterback getting injured. We need Stafford to stay healthy in order to have a successful season is a complete understatement. If Davidson is able to bring a simpler block scheme into the mix, it will allow Stafford to do what he does best in the passing game and shred defenses with his arm.

Also with an already solid passing attack in place, the running game just needs to be average. It’ll make the offense more well-rounded and make defenses respect every aspect of the Lions’ offense instead of just the passing game.

Davidson is the Lions’ secret weapon when it comes to the offense. The number of resources invested into the rushing attack and Davidson’s successful running pedigree, the Lions should have no problem running the ball this year. Also, with the hopes of keeping Stafford cleaner this year, he will help this offense become one of the best in the league.

Friday, June 29, 2018

A big payday awaits Redskins guard Brandon Scherff



Brandon Scherff could be in line for a big payday thanks to a rival’s recent contract. (Doug Kapustin/Associated Press)

By Kareem Copeland
June 28, 2018

Washington Redskins guard Brandon Scherff had to be wearing a massive smile when Zack Martin signed an extension earlier this month.

The Dallas Cowboys guard landed a six-year, $84 million deal, with $40 million guaranteed, to become the highest-paid player at the position in the NFL, additional proof of the increasing value teams are placing on guards. The importance of the quarterback and the NFL’s continued development as a passing league have funneled more money to those who protect the franchise player, but offensive tackles are no longer the only ones landing hefty contracts.

Scherff can patiently await his own lucrative deal. He has a great case for cashing in.

As he enters his fourth NFL season, Scherff already is a two-time Pro Bowl selection, and Pro Football Focus ranked him ninth among the league’s guards last season. Martin ranked first; Andrew Norwell, who signed a five-year, $66.5 million contract (including $30 million guaranteed) with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency, was fourth. Norwell is the second-highest-paid guard in the league.

Scherff is still on his rookie deal and will make $705,000 in base salary in 2018, according to salary website spotrac.com. He’ll take home more than $6 million from signing and roster bonuses.

Scherff’s salary rises to $12.525 million in 2019 if the team exercises his fifth-year option, but the Redskins would like to secure his services for the long term. The team doesn’t want to go into the final year with the 2015 draft’s fifth pick on the edge of unrestricted free agency. Preserving salary cap space for Scherff is likely a reason Washington took a conservative approach to free agency this offseason.

When tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses are healthy, the Redskins have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL, and they need it to protect the $94 million investment they just made in quarterback Alex Smith. There’s also new hope for a previously floundering running game with the addition of running back Derrius Guice and the development of Chris Thompson.

Scherff is off to a strong start to his NFL career, and offensive line coach Bill Callahan said the 26-year-old is still getting better.

“His work ethic is off the charts,” Callahan said. “He’s a guy that continually challenges you as a coach and every day wants to get better, wants to know specifically what he needs to work on to improve. We go over that list continually.

“He’s a guy that you just love to coach because you tell him one time and he gets it and he’s got it. You can do a lot of different things with him because he has that type of versatility and that type of adaptability as well.”

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