Thursday, September 20, 2018

New ANF Honoree Aaron Kampman Recalls Farming, Time as Hawkeye

By Rob Howe
September 19, 2018

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Iowa Farm Bureau announced Tuesday that former Hawkeye defensive end Aaron Kampman is this year’s addition to the American Needs Farmers (ANF) Wall of Honor. Kampman, who will be honored at Saturday’s game against Wisconsin, is the eighth Iowa player to be honored on the plaza on the northwest side of Kinnick Stadium.

He grew up in the small town of Kesley, Iowa in Butler County and played for the legendary Ed Thomas at Aplington-Parkersburg High. Kampman then played for one season under coach Hayden Fry before helping Kirk Ferentz rebuild the Iowa program. He went on to a successful career with the Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Tuesday he said he was proud of a lot of things during his football career but none of them more than helping Ferentz establish his culture with the Hawkeyes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

What I Learned: ‘Sleep is my P.E.D.’

Six-time Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, who turned 34 on Saturday, on extending an NFL career while trying to preserve his health for life after football.

September 17, 2018

“The first thing I learned is how far I had to come when I got to the NFL. I was a junior college transfer, so I was a raw player even as a senior at Iowa—then I was gone after two years there. In my first training camp with the Ravens I was so awful I thought they might cut me, even though I was a third-round pick. So my first, second, third, fourth year in the NFL, I kept attacking practice every day. Some players peak when they’re seniors in college, or their first or second year in the NFL. I was not peaking. I kept getting better as the years went by. I’ve achieved stuff I never knew I could—Pro Bowl, all-pro—but I didn’t think about that stuff. I took care of today. I took care of the weights. I took care of practice. I took care of watching film.

“I’ve learned how much I love this game. It’s just more important to me every year so I just continue to grind out every little thing that’s gonna make me better, whether that’s eating, sleeping, lifting, whatever I can do.
A great meal for me has changed. I’m into quinoa now for my carbs. So I’ll eat quinoa, and my protein is chicken, and then I use a Vitamix blender and I blend up spinach and kale for my vegetables.

“Kale is ruthless. It is! I don’t like drinking it. I put a little hot sauce in there too, to try and give it some zing so you can drink it.

“I eat brown and white rice, a mixture. I bought a rice cooker a couple of years ago, and you can cook the quinoa in there too. Also, I drink a gallon of water every day.

“Sleep is huge. Sleep is my P.E.D., my performance-enhancing drug. I’m usually asleep by 9:30. Sleep experts say you want to stay on a schedule. You want to try to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time.

“For pain management and flexibility, I picked up yoga this offseason. I did it twice a week.
For stretching and range of motion, like range of motion in my hips, it’s good. My hips are looser. In my stance, I just feel a little bit loose and a little more spring in my steps. With my shoulders too … stretching my shoulders is big now. We lift all these weights all the time and it’s always build and build and build and they get you to stretch, but usually I stretch after I lift and I’m fatigued from my lift, I don’t want to necessarily stretch like you should. I kind of go through it fast because I’m tired and I just want to get to the shower and relax. But now I literally spend an hour on stretching, deep stretches, and I definitely feel like I’ve gotten more range of motion and I feel better in my hips and my knees and my shoulders.

“I think about my health more as I get older. I’ve been fortunate—and I’m knocking on wood—I haven’t had any head or neck injuries, and no concussions. That’s pretty amazing. I still think the good of the game and what the game has given me, and how many experiences that the people I’ve gotten to meet, and the neat stuff that I’ve gotten to experience, and my entire family’s gotten to experience, will end up outweighing the stiffness and the soreness and stuff as I get older. The longer I’ve been in the game, I’m learning what I’m doing now is going to help me not only stay in football longer but help my health later in life.”

Monday, September 17, 2018

Should Rams try to trade Jamon Brown with Austin Blythe dominating?

September 17, 2018
By Cameron DaSilva

The Los Angeles Rams were hit with some bad news this offseason when Jamon Brown was suspended two games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, stemming from a 2017 arrest. It was a disappointing development, especially after seeing the same five offensive linemen dominate for 15 weeks last season.

However, the Rams were prepared for Brown’s suspension and had Austin Blythe waiting in the wings. He was the odds-on favorite to replace Brown for the first two games of the season, and he did exactly that.

Blythe was PFF’s highest-graded right guard in the NFL last week against the Raiders, earning a place on the Team of the Week for Pro Football Focus. On Sunday, he was equally good, clearing running lanes for Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown, while also providing excellent protection for Jared Goff.

He’s been better the past two weeks than Brown was at any point last season,
which begs the question: What should the Rams do now? Brown’s suspension is officially over and he can return to the team as of Monday. That’s good news, but it also puts the Rams in a tough spot.

Similarly to the way the Bucs have to decide between a hot Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston when he returns in Week 4, Sean McVay has to either pull Blythe or keep Brown benched.

There is another option, though. The Rams could attempt to trade Brown to a team seeking a short-term rental at guard with the potential for a long-term connection. And no, that isn’t the slogan for a bizarre offensive line dating site.

Brown is in the final year of his contract and the Rams are likely to focus their resources elsewhere this coming offseason. Brown won’t command top dollar by any means, but with Marcus Peters needing a new deal soon, Rodger Saffold and Lamarcus Joyner hitting free agency and Ndamukong Suh’s contract expiring, it’s easy to see why the Rams might not pay up to keep Brown.

That in its own right makes this trade very attractive from their perspective, especially with Blythe dominating thus far and Joseph Noteboom also on the roster. The Rams have enough flexibility on the offensive line to get by without Brown on the roster, just as they have the past two weeks.

Even if the Rams are able to recoup a sixth-round pick, it might be worth considering trading Brown. That’s likely more than they’d receive in compensatory picks if Brown were to leave next offseason, so why not bring in some assets for the 2019 draft?

He carries a cap hit of $1.87 million in 2018, so he’s not exactly a bargain when compared to Blythe’s $630,000, but that contract could preclude some teams from making a deal. Keeping him on the roster and paying him that amount of money to be a backup isn’t ideal for Los Angeles, but it could be the very reality it faces.

In the end, it’s going to be difficult to move Brown, who’s merely an average guard. However, a team desperate for help at guard like the Texans or Bills could make a call and gauge the Rams’ interest in moving the lineman.

If no move is made, the Rams will need to waive someone to make room for Brown, or place a player like Mike Thomas on injured reserve.

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