Friday, August 25, 2023

Yanda hosts football clinic


Aug 24, 2023



Former Anamosa High School, North Iowa Area Community College, University of Iowa and Baltimore Ravens superstar offensive lineman Marshal Yanda was back in his hometown at the middle school gym (due to extreme heat outside) Sunday, Aug. 20, hosting his football camp as an annual Anamosa School Foundation fundraiser.


Lucky area youth were put through football drills led by the surefire soon-to-be NFL Hall of Famer, and posed for photos with the Super Bowl Trophy and Super Bowl championship ring Yanda and his family, who now reside in Mount Vernon, brought to town with them.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Riley Reiff: One of the best performers in Patriots’ preseason game vs. Packers


Mon, Aug 21, 2023, 11:56 AM EDT·4 min read

A week-long trip to Wisconsin reached a crescendo for the New England Patriots in Saturday’s preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.

The game was ultimately cut short early in the fourth quarter after a horrific head injury suffered by Patriots rookie cornerback Isaiah Bolden. Fortunately, Bolden was able to fly back home with the team after spending the night in the hospital and appears to be in good spirits.

As for the game itself, it was a positive showing from the Patriots with up and down moments. The offense showed signs of life, but the offensive line looked like a mess at times.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots got gashed on the ground for 119 yards and a touchdown, but they had multiple players step up on the backend against the Packers’ passing attack.

Today, we’re taking a look at the best and worst Pro Football Focus grades in the game for the Patriots. This is simply a measure of performance with limited reps in one game. It isn’t the be-all-end-all evaluation for players. So please take it with a grain of salt.

Top 5 offense

  • RB Rhamondre Stevenson: 83.1
  • WR Demario Douglas: 81.8
  • WR Kayshon Boutte: 80.6
  • WR Kendrick Bourne: 79.0
  • OL Riley Reiff: 73.3

The rookie wide receivers made their mark in this game. For all of the talk of coach Bill Belichick’s drafting struggles, he seems to have finally hit on a pair of talented wideouts in the sixth-round of the 2023 NFL draft.

Demario Douglas gets separation and has the shiftiness to turn short plays into big ones. Meanwhile, Boutte has been a reliable receiving target with the sort of speed that can turn the lights out on a defense in the open field.

It might be smart for the Patriots to keep both receivers on the 53-man roster, even if it means keeping six players at the skilled position.

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

Trey Flowers reaches deal to reunite with Patriots


Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer

Aug 8, 2023, 09:47 AM ET

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In a reunion with their former draft pick, the New England Patriots have signed defensive end Trey Flowers, it was announced Tuesday.


Flowers, a two-time Super Bowl champion in New England who was selected by the team in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, spent his first four seasons with the Patriots before signing a five-year, $90 million deal with the Detroit Lions in 2019.


He appeared in four games with the Miami Dolphins last season, landing on injured reserve due to his foot.


The 6-foot-2, 265-pound Flowers isn't projected as a lock to make the roster, but he provides veteran depth behind Deatrich Wise Jr. and second-round pick Keion White in the team's multiple defensive scheme.


The team had an open roster spot and thus didn't have to release a player to make room for Flowers, who had visited the team earlier in the offseason and worked out for club officials on Monday.


Flowers, who turns 30 next week, had 21 sacks in his first four seasons with the Patriots. He also had 5.5 sacks in nine postseason games for the Patriots.


After missing his rookie season in 2015 due to injury, Flowers has 31.5 sacks, 265 tackles and 10 forced fumbles with 4 recoveries over his career.

Stat demonstrates Iowa is among college football royalty over last 4 seasons


Riley Donald 

Each year the Iowa Hawkeyes are often an afterthought to the national college football media. Sure, they have great defense and special teams, but they don’t always do the flashy things that analysts want to talk about.

But, who said you have to do those flashy things to win games? Iowa has proven it isn’t always needed and the Hawkeyes are among some of the biggest names in college football when it comes to how often they win. Really, that’s the only barometer that matters at the end of the season.

In a tweet, SportSource Analytics highlighted just that fact.

Technically, the data SportSource Analytics is showing in this tweet is from the last four seasons. Right now, 2023 results would only include last season’s bowl games.

Per SportSource Analytics, over the last four seasons Iowa is one of just 10 teams to have won at least 70% of their games, though. The Hawkeyes boast a 70.83% winning percentage since the start of 2019 with their 34-14 overall record. It speaks for itself. The Hawkeyes and head coach Kirk Ferentz don’t care how it gets done, they just care if they win.

And they do that among the best of them. The company the Hawkeyes are keeping over the last four seasons is downright impressive.

From the SEC, the Georgia Bulldogs (90.74%) and Alabama Crimson Tide (88.89%) are the top two winningest teams over the last four seasons. Each is in the playoff conversation annually and has won titles, specifically Georgia, repeating the last two years.

The Big Ten leads the way in winning games recently as they boast the most schools in the top 10 here with three. The Michigan Wolverines (76.60%) and Ohio State Buckeyes (87.50%) join Iowa as teams hailing from the Big Ten that simply get it done.

Soon-to-be Big Ten member, Oregon (75.00%), is also winning games at a pretty good clip. Also among teams winning 70% or more of their games over the past four seasons are Clemson (83.33%), Notre Dame (80.39%), Oklahoma (74.51%), and Utah (72.34%).

Interestingly enough, the rule would still apply for Iowa over the course of the last five seasons, too. The Hawkeyes have won more than 70% of their games dating back to the start of the 2018 season.

Since 2018, Iowa has an overall record of 43-18. That includes a Big Ten mark of 29-15. Each of the last five seasons has seen the Hawkeyes earn a bowl bid as well, going 3-1 in those bowls with the 2020 Music City Bowl canceled due to COVID issues.

The Hawkeyes are in the top 10 with some of college football’s annual playoff attendees and recent national champions. Iowa is keeping pace with some of the best teams year in and year out.

There seem to be some Hawkeye fans that have feelings of complacency or apathy toward Kirk Ferentz and Iowa, but his track record recently is among the best in the game. Again, while it isn’t pretty, it is effective.

There are 123 other schools that haven’t seen this success recently and should serve as a stark reminder that the grass isn’t always greener.

Monday, August 07, 2023

How Ravens' 'Fantastic' Tyler Linderbaum Is Building Off Rookie Year

Driven by heightened confidence, Baltimore Ravens center Tyler Linderbaum is poised for a big second season.


august 2, 2023

When the Baltimore Ravens drafted center Tyler Linderbaum in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, they did so with confidence that he could be an early impact player.

And by all accounts, Linderbaum proved to be exactly that, starting all 17 games in the middle of Baltimore's offensive line while giving up just three sacks, per Pro Football Focus.

But now, as the 23-year-old works through his second training camp, there's more on his mind than simply finding a rhythm; Linderbaum knows the offensive line sets the tempo, and he aspires to establish the tone for a more consistently sound group up front.

Better yet, with a standout rookie season under his belt, Linderbaum is legitimately driving the unit, sparked by a sense of confidence that offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris believes has transcended his leadership and overall skill-set from last year to this year.

"We speak in codes a lot up front, and he now understands everything that takes place," D'Alessandris said. "And he's really the coach's voice and eyes on the field, so he's reiterating what's being taught in the classroom, and then he goes to the field, and we work on the field, and he's continued doing that process.

"So, he's doing a really great job, and he's a great leader and an excellent performer."

Linderbaum echoed what D'Alessandris said, comparing his rookie season to his freshman year in college and claiming that he "definitely feel(s) more confident" with his voice this time around.

And really, it was only a matter of time until Linderbaum ascended into this role; he was well-regarded as a leader at Iowa, and the demands of the center position require a vocal presence.

Perhaps more importantly, centers need to be followed by their teammates - as Linderbaum noted, he's making the calls and the fronts, which forced him into a talking position.

The next step, he argues, is simply continuing what he's already done, creating more trust from those around him in regard to his leadership up front.

As for the on-field aspect, Linderbaum believes he's stronger than he was a year ago and spent his offseason working on technique and body positioning to better utilize that strength.

The result? A more well-rounded player equipped with the lessons of an already-impressive rookie campaign ... all the while recognizing there's still work to be done.

"I just think being more comfortable playing at this level," said Linderbaum, of what's different this year than last. "(It's) kind of (your) first year here, everything is coming at you so fast … Just getting so used to the speed of the game is important.

"So, definitely having a season under your belt is good, but there's still a lot of improvements to go."

Not everything is completely different for Linderbaum this year, though - the expectations that accompanied him last offseason still exist, just to a higher level and with a more cemented track record to support them.

In this instance, it's Pro Bowl talk - with one reporter asking offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley whether there are any similarities between Linderbaum and six-time Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz.

Stanley's response? The comparison may not be too far off in terms of the way the two centers conduct themselves on the gridiron.

"Off the field, they're completely different people, but, on the field, they (have a) very similar tenacity," Stanley said. "When they get upset, there's definitely another switch about them where they're just not going to take anything from anyone. So, they both have that about them, and that's something you always want to see in your center."

But regardless of comparisons, the point surrounding Linderbaum remains straightforward - he lived up to expectations as a rookie and has certainly raised the bar entering Year 2. Better yet, nobody expects more nor wants more growth than Linderbaum himself.

This profile of a young, driven, highly skilled center is certainly intriguing as it relates to the long-term future of Baltimore's offense, and D'Alessandris couldn't be fonder of both the tangible and intangible assets that Linderbaum brings to the table.

"Oh, I think it's fantastic," D'Alessandris said. "He's just a fantastic person and football player, and the way he carries himself and the respect … He's diligent at his job, so he wants to know – yes – the easy answers, but he wants to also find out the hard answers. So, we'll put him in that position where he has to grow in that area, and he's doing a fantastic job."

Will Linderbaum's future include the same accolades as the resume that Kruetz put together? Who knows - but he's working towards building his own legacy one day, one snap and one call at a time.

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

From frustrations to tears of joy, Joe Thomas details emotional highs, lows of 2016 season

Joe Thomas, who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 5, is the subject of a new book by Marc Bona and Dan Murphy based on interviews with Thomas’ family, friends, teammates and Thomas himself. In this excerpt, the fifth of five, Thomas details the emotional lows and highs late in his career.

Marc Bona | Updated: Jul. 28, 2023, 5:30 a.m.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – I don’t think anyone really knew how tough it was actually going to be.


We started 0-14 — the worst start in team history at the time. We had three different starting quarterbacks in each of the first three games, but it wasn’t like we were getting blown out.

We were hosting the San Diego Chargers at home on Christmas Eve, and we finally came together and played a complete team game that resulted in our lone win of the season.

I remember all three phases played a crucial role in the victory. The Pierogi Prince of Parma, Jamie Meder, a kid who grew up a Browns fan and embodied the toughness of the city, blocked a field goal late in the fourth quarter to maintain a 20-17 lead. The Chargers got the ball back and drove down the field and attempted a game-tying field goal as time expired. After the kick sailed wide right, tears sailed down my face.

I didn’t expect it to be emotional, but I think that’s one of the beautiful things about the game of football. Sometimes you’re just overcome with emotion and it’s totally unexpected, but I think it’s a great thing. Football is the ultimate team game. You’re putting aside any personal ambitions for the good of the team and everyone pulled together and we got that first victory.

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