Tag Archives: NFL

Rare Rookies: Teddy Bridgewater

Day 1: Teddy Bridgewater

Bridgewater was drafted 32nd overall by Minnesota

Bridgewater was drafted 32nd overall by Minnesota

Going into last season, young Theodore “Teddy” Bridgewater was the consensus #1 quarterback across the board for the draft “pundits” in the media. Most liked Bridgewater going as high as #1 overall to whatever NFL was picking first, because that team was most likely going to need a quarterback.

After a solid-yet-unspectacular final season in Louisville, Bridgewater saw his draft stock plummet. Evaluators watching Bridewater’s film began to nitpick. He was too skinny, he lacked the NFL caliber arm strength, he was inaccurate and bombed his pro day (wow…). Bridgewater became the most scrutinized prospect in the draft next to fellow first-round QB Johnny Football (more on him later).

Despite all of the Bridgewater hate that occurred before the draft, and the fall of Bridgewater to #32 on draft day, I maintain my opinion that he will come out of this draft class as the best first round pick of the three QBs taken in the first.

Bridgewater is indeed on the smaller side, measuring in at 6’2, 214 lbs at the annual NFL combine, and has had some durability issues in college (Bridgewater broke his left wrist against UConn).

 

Bridgewater plays against Rutgers with a broken left wrist and sprained ankle.

Bridgewater plays against Rutgers with a broken left wrist and sprained ankle.

 

Bridgewater, however, returned to that UConn game, broken left wrist and all, and led Louisville to a win. Bridgewater never missed a game once he was inserted as the starter in his fourth game of his freshman year, while only missing one “start”, a game against Rutgers where he came off the bench despite his injury and won the game, sending Louisville to a BCS berth.

Bridgewater has shown rare pocket movement and the ability to truly manipulate the pocket. He also has unreal short to mid-range accuracy. His screen pass placement and deep ball placement can leave a lot to be desired but overall Bridgwater has the ability to put the team on his back.

Earlier in the year I had watched four or five hours worth of Louisville games, hitting about seven games overall. In that time watching the offense, I noticed Bridgewater had an eerily similar playing style to Aaron Rodgers; I noticed through his many games that Bridgewater is deceptively athletic with the ball in his hands while also possessing the ability to bust off a 10 yard run to convert for the first down if needed.

Overall, Bridgewater was my favorite QB in this draft–by far–and there’s no secret about how sad I was to not see him go to the Cardinals or Patriots.

I am pretty pumped to see what Bridge can do with Norv Turner running an extremely Tight End favoring offense. Being able to throw passes to uber-athletic tight end Kyle Rudolph, freak of nature Cordarrelle Patterson, and hand the ball to one of the greatest backs of all time in Adrian “All Day” Peterson will surely aid in Bridgewater’s development, while also allowing for some sneaky OROY potential.

Until next time.

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M.L.T.D.

Most Likely To Disappoint is my first article in a series of them based on the 2014 NFL Free Agency period happening as we speak.

Free agency in the NFL is the 2nd most important transactional period of the year. Teams pour out major moola to football players exiting the last year of their current contract. Whether or not these players are any good is a different argument. There is always risk in free agency, however. Will the player be a scheme fit? Will the player stay healthy? The most important question is, however: Will the player perform after earning their payday?

There have been numerous football players that make their money and check out, at least until their second payday, or sometimes forever. These players are what make NFL football teams weary to dish out the big bucks. Below I have listed the biggest FA busts and why it is some teams are afraid of those big contracts.

Albert Haynesworth: Anyone that’s watched football within the last 5 years remembers Big Al saying “Albert Haynesworth will not be remembered as a bust.“- Haynesworth, circa 2009.

HA. Very funny, Al. Haynesworth signed a 7 year, $100 million contract, with $41 million guaranteed. Hayneworth proceeded to play in 20 games over the span of two seasons, amassing a paltry 6.5 sacks and 53 tackles. He was cut after his second season with the Redskins, and a bizarre relationship with Mike Shanahan. The joke was on Washington, however, as Haynesworth was still paid every penny of that $41 million.

To put that into perspective: Haynesworth was paid $6,307,693 per sack, $773,585 per tackle, and $1,281,250 for every game he played-and didn’t play- during his time in Washington.

Haynesworth was essentially paid $41,000,000 for doing this:

GIF credit to readandreact.net

Since Haynesworth, a few guys have received notable contracts.

A year after Haynesworth, defensive end Julius Peppers received a 6 year, $91.5 million contract with $42 million guaranteed. Peppers was just cut last week by Chicago. He’s now a Green Bay Packer. Not to say he was a bust in any way, he just earned a contract as a 30 year-old free agent and made far too much for a guy about to enter his decline phase.

Credit for picture to chicagonow.com

Back in 2012, offensive guard Carl Nicks signed a 5 year, $47.5 million contract with $31 million guaranteed from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has played in just nine games since signing that contract, meaning nine of a possible 32. For what it’s worth, Nicks is dealing with a MRSA infection that has put his career in jeopardy. It may be Tampa Bay’s fault.

Photo credit to gannett-cdn.com

Last offseason, the Miami Dolphins signed wide receiver Mike Wallace to a 5 year, $60 million with $30 million guaranteed. Wallace gave the Dolphins a career-worst 12.7 yards per catch (YPC) while also posting the lowest touchdown total of his career with just five.

Photo credit to cbssports.com

After seeing these contracts, some teams still dish out major money to free agents that shouldn’t necessarily be paid that much for a number of reasons. Now, I’ll go over a few guys to look out for from this past week that could be major busts moving forward for their teams.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Is the Next Big Al?

DRC signed a 5 year, $39 million contract with $15 million guaranteed today with the New York Giants. That’s a hefty contract for a guy that’s been facing criticism about his effort and desire to play football since day one. He also recently contemplated retirement if Denver won the past Super Bowl. They didn’t.

Eric Decker Will Be Wallace?

Decker signed a 5 year, $36.25 million contract with the New York Jets containing $15 million guaranteed. This isn’t a situation like the DRC’s or Albert Haynesworth’s of the world. The problem with Decker living up to his contract will be the expectations and his quarterback. Decker goes to the NFL’s second worst passing offense and the 32nd ranked scoring offense in regards to the pass during 2013. Decker will struggle to hit 1,000 yards or 8+ touchdowns until the Jets figure out their quarterback situation.

Hatcher To Age Like Peppers?

Another guy whose tried hard his entire career for a massive payday finally got it; DE Jason Hatcher signed a 4 year, $27.5 million contract containing $10.5 million guaranteed. He’s a productive player but will be entering his age-32 season next year. A four year deal for a big name guy entering his decline phase? Yep, sounds like Danny boy is at it again. Luckily for the Redskins, the guaranteed money does not spread for the majority of his contract, meaning they can cut him after two seasons if he is showing signs of decline.

NFL football teams, despite some shaky past contracts, have dished out a fair share of money for free agents thus far this season. Only time will tell if these guys pan out as their respective teams hope.

Stay tuned for the next article: Hidden Gems, Great Grabs

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The Solution

Hey everybody! I know it’s been about 3 weeks since I had my last entry, so it’s about time for me to finally follow up on it.

This next post will be a little lengthy- bare with me. It’s about the solution (in my opinion) for 85% of the Washington Redskins woes.

Since December 17th, a lot has changed.

The Redskins fired Mike Shanahan, Kirk Cousins tanked any and all trade value, Bruce Allen stated he will be taking over personnel decisions, and the Redskins have already interviewed a handful of candidates.

So, here’s when my super-opinionated, but I feel highly logical, argument comes in on how to fix the organization. This would be my decision making from the perspective of Redskins GM Bruce Allen, who recently proclaimed he would have the “power” to do what he needs to turn the organization around.

Step 1- Hire Cincinnati Bengals DC Mike Zimmer as HC

I don’t like old coaches. At all.

I don’t want a coach that has run their course in the NFL, being outdated and kicked to the curb by their prior team because they simply didn’t seem like they had it anymore.

Perfect example: Mike Shanahan.

But there is 1 coach on the older side, compared to the rest of the reported candidates so fat, that I think would be wonderful for this team: Mike Zimmer.

Swapping one Mike for another in relationships may not be the best idea, but swapping that Mike for this Mike in D.C.? I’m all about that scandal.

Outside of the win Washington had over San Diego, thanks to a late game goal-line stand, the Redskins defense was absolutely terrible.

The front 3/4/5 (depending on which fronts they were using) couldn’t generate much pressure, exposing a poor excuse for a secondary in which the number 1 corner is a fading DeAngelo Hall. A little of this is personnel, a bit of it is situation, and a lot of it was coaching.

Jim Haslett did not lead the Redskins defense to one season as a top eight overall defense (something the Redskins were used to before the 3-4 and the days of Shanahan). His playcall was very spotty and his coaching must not have worked. For a guy like Brian Orakpo, a pass-rushing specialist, to be dropping into coverage on a third of his plays makes no sense.

Add poor overall defense with the issue of penalties in all facets of the game and overall poor fundamental football, you get to the root of the problems:

The Washington Redskins are less disciplined than the Alabama Crimson Tide. Sure, the Crimson Tide is a great college football team, but that’s the big difference; the Crimson Tide are a college football team. Professionals shouldn’t be outdone by student athletes.

Mike Zimmer is, from what I’ve seen and read, an old-school, players guy kind of hybrid-type coach. What I’m essentially trying to say is Mike Zimmer is a strong leader willing to listen to his players but doesn’t put up with crap.

I’d also love to see Mike ZImmer with bookend rushers like Ryan Kerrigan and impending free agent Brian Orakpo. I could see Zimmer converting the Redskins defense into what he has up in Cincinnati- a 4-3 with outside off-man coverage/press-man coverage and undersized speed rushers, containing tons of power, from the inside of the DL.

There really is a lot of potential to this Redskins defense. There just needs to be someone to get it all the working parts in conjunction with each other.

Step 2- After hiring Zimmer, go for a recently fired head coach as the OC: Rob Chudzinski

Chudzinski is an offensive mastermind. Ever hear of how good Shanahan has been at molding RBs throughout his career? Rob Chudzinski has the potential to do the same thing, but with QBs. This guy made Derek Anderson look like a top-5 QB back in ’05 before heading down to Carolina and helping Cam Newton to his record-setting rookie season.

Chud was recently relieved of his duties as HC of the Cleveland Browns. Now, considering it was Cleveland that fired him, I don’t think there is anything wrong with Chud. He went 4-12 with a bad offense that had no QB or RB provided to it by GM Michael Lombardi. Chudzinski did the best he could and kept the Browns fairly competitive in games in which they should have been demolished in.

Allow Chud to install his vertical-based offensive playbook into a Redskins team rich in one aspect on offense–speed–  and then combine it with Robert Griffin III’s cannon of an arm. This could lead to an offense that could be extremely fast and extremely dangerous.

A huge benefit for Chud would be his ability to focus solely on Robert Griffin and emphasizing Griffin’s talents to help open up a running game for Alfred Morris. He no longer needs to worry about the complete state of the team, as he would no longer need to run the entity of it.

All he needs to do is focus on making this offense, and Griffin, better than they were.

Plus, if all Griffin does is throw picks, the deep passes will probably travel further than any of Sav Rocca’s punts.

Step 3- Hire Ravens STC (Special Teams Coordinator) Jerry Rosburg

Rosburg has led one of the best, most disciplined special teams in the NFL over the past few seasons. An explosive punt returner paired with good kick and punt coverage units have helped elevate, in my opinion, Rosburg to the top tier of ST coaches.

Rosburg could fix this….I don’t even know if I should call it a special teams unit.

Rosburg could be a big reason why the Redskins offense stops starting at it’s own 11, as well as a big reason to why the Redskins defense could stop having to defend starting at the opponents 38. I’m a believer in him; I think Rosburg could quickly lead this from the worst special teams in the NFL to a top-12 unit.

Step 4- Re-sign Rak, Sign FS, ILB, DL in FA

The current defensive roster will be turning over completely after the season.

Three of the top four corners on the roster become free agents. Young corners never saw time to develop under Haslett/Shanahan. The starting FS and SS are both free agents. The starting MLB is now retired, the “Jack”/other starting MLB/ILB is a free agent, followed by a defensive line that can’t create pressure without it’s best player who is, by the way, also a free agent.

If the Redskins re-sign Brian Orakpo like I say they should, they have solid pieces to build around on defense. Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo, David Amerson, Barry Cofield. The rest of the defense needs some work. That’s where free agency comes in.

If the ‘Skins can re-sign Perry Riley and play him at SAM LB to gobble up tacklers and cover TEs, that’ll shore up some issues at LB. With less crazy cover schemes and more strict man-to-man coverage, Riley will be in a better position to succeed.

Buffalo Bills FS Jairus Byrd is a free agent.

I know Redskins fans, you hate it when we sign a big name. Look at our history:

Albert Haynesworth. DeAngelo Hall. Adam Archuleta. Trading for Brandon Lloyd. Trading for McNabb.

It’s a kiss of death.

With Bruce running the show, though, I think we stand a better shot of hitting rather than missing.

Bring is Jairus Byrd to play single-deep coverage every play and let him ball-hawk like he did his first four years and the guy can be a stud. He’s a great line of defense, a willing tackler, and someone who earns his paycheck every week. Pair him with a Wesley Woodyard or D.J. Williams (Bears) signing, and this defense goes from heavy fixing to a couple of patchwork players away from decency.

It doesn’t completely change the fact that the Redskins need a lot of help, but getting back seemingly-forgotten 2013 4th round rookie Philip Thomas could also provide some major help. After suffering a Lisfranc fracture, he hasn’t had time on the field, but should be prepared mentally for the game when he’s healthy enough to play again.

Step 5- Draft Line and Receivers

The Redskins defense is awful, but there are enough solid players in free agency for the Redskins to find value at their biggest needs (FS, LB and DT). What they need is to draft multiple ways to protect Robert Griffin III. Drafting speedy receivers to fit Chud’s offense as well as some strong, capable linemen could go a long way into keeping Griffin from being hit every play.

I’m not saying that the Redskins will draft the right guys. Allen doesn’t have a great…well, not even a good track record of drafting players, but attempting to build an offense around Griffin needs to be priority numero uno in the draft.

Step 6- This is the shocker- trade Alfred Morris

I know, earlier I mentioned to help fix RG so Morris’ running game opens up, but I couldn’t ruin the shock.

I legitimately believe the Redskins should consider, at the very least, entertaining offers for Alfred Morris.

Morris has been a workhorse for the Redskins over his first two seasons, amassing 2,800+ yards on the ground and over 20 touchdowns. You also need to remember something: Morris was playing for a Mike Shanahan coached offense. He’s a perfect fit for the zone-block scheme, which the Redskins may no longer employ, and is one of many guys that Shanahan has made look very, very good.

Some of those guys consist of Tatum Bell, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis, Terrell Davis and Peyton Hillis. Shanahan made these guys look much better than they really were.

Coupling that with Alfred Morris’ punishing style of running, and it may be best to see if a second or third round pick could be picked up for the durable plodder. He’s got the talent, but doesn’t contribute much in the passing game and may be no good in the next coach’s offensive scheme. Helu has proven he’s capable of handling passing down duties, which would be upped immensely under Chudzinski.

Well, that’s the end of this very, very long article.

If you read all the way through, I sincerely thank you a lot and promise to keep most of my articles from here on out much, much shorter. Thanks again (Brandon)!

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