Monthly Archives: June 2017

Tom Brady is ranked first in the NFL

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was voted the league’s top player in the NFL Network’s annual top-100 poll, a ranking based on a tabulation of 902 players.

Tom Brady is the only player to be voted first in the NFL Network's annual top-100 poll multiple times.

It marks the second time that Brady has ranked No. 1 and makes him the only player to be voted first multiple times since the poll debuted in 2011. He was No. 2 last season, behind Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

Brady was also voted No. 1 in 2011. He was fourth in both 2012 and 2013 and third in both 2014 and 2015.

“Best ever. Best in the game,” cornerback Darrelle Revis remarked Monday night on the television show that counted down the top players.

New York Jets linebacker Demario Davis added, “As long as Tom Brady is here, he’s got that No. 1 spot.”

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller was second, followed by Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown and Oakland Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack rounding out the top five.

Brady, who will turn 40 on Aug. 3, was named MVP of Super Bowl LI after he led the Patriots back from a 28-3 deficit against the Falcons. In 12 games in the 2016 regular season, Brady went 291-of-432 for 3,554 yards, 28 touchdowns and two interceptions. In three playoff games, he was 93-of-142 for 1,137 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

Bakhtiari: The packer’s playoff troubles began to disappoint me

The Green Bay Packers have made the playoffs every year since David Bakhtiari entered the league in 2013, including two NFC Championship Game appearances in the 2014 and 2016 seasons.

For most NFL players, that’s a good start to a career. For the Packers offensive lineman, it’s nowhere near good enough.

“It’s starting to [tick] me off a little bit,” Bakhtiari said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “You’re not guaranteed another year. Keep getting close and not making it is stressful. We’ve got to collectively — we’ve got to do more. … The Green Bay Packers — I mean, the trophy is the Lombardi Trophy. We have to get back there and win it.”

While Bakhtiari is probably being a little hard on himself, expecting rings and not relishing the feat that he and his teammates have accomplished thus far in his short career, his comments reflect some quiet hand-wringing that has to be going on in Green Bay.

The Packers have one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Yet there’s only one Super Bowl ring to show for Aaron Rodgers’ sterling career so far. The team has also won the NFC North five out of the past six years, but has only advanced out of the divisional round of the playoffs twice in those seasons.

With Rodgers slated to turn 34 during the 2017 season, there’s certainly more pressure to add more Super Bowls before Father Time catches up to the All-Pro. As Bakhtiari points out, the anxiety level is only going to continue to rise as long as the Packers only have that one ring — and several disappointing playoff finishes — to show for all of Rodgers’ team’s flare the past decade.

Ex-Jets WR Eric Decker agrees to join Titans

Tennessee Titans and former New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker have reached agreement on a one-year deal, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Jets released Decker on June 12 after unsuccessfully attempting to trade the veteran wide receiver.

Veteran wide receiver Eric Decker is joining the Titans on a one-year contract, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Decker, 30, underwent hip and shoulder surgeries last fall, but he is healthy and had been practicing before his release by the Jets.

He was limited to three games last season but caught 80 passes for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2015. He also had two seasons of more than 1,000 yards receiving and double-digit touchdown totals for the Denver Broncos, who selected him in the third round (87th overall) of the 2010 draft.

In seven NFL seasons he has 385 receptions for 5,253 yards and 52 touchdowns.

Cowboys ‘very fortunate’ for well-attended OTAs

With a noticeable amount of high-profile players opting out of voluntary workouts this spring, the Dallas Cowboys are lauding their near perfect attendance.

According to ESPN.com, “during the two sessions open to the media so far, every player has been accounted for.” Coach Jason Garrett said that has extended to the workouts without media present.

“We’ve been very fortunate — we have near 100 percent attendance of everything we do in the offseason program and we have a lot of guys who live here and a lot of guys who don’t live here, get here,” Garrett said. “They’re the right kind of guys. We have guys who care about football, care about this football team and care about getting better — and that’s a manifestation of that.”

This is a volatile, and ultimately fruitless debate to dip ones toes in this time of year. The fact remains that voluntary workouts are voluntary, and that some players prefer to keep this time to themselves and spend it with private trainers.

Of course, should the Cowboys succeed, stories like this one from ESPN will take on a higher amount of significance:

Last Tuesday, (Dez) Bryant walked by the film room and saw (Dak) Prescott in there alone. He joined his quarterback and soon (Ezekiel) Elliott walked in too. They were able to study what happened in that practice, see some mistakes and attempt to improve the next day.

If the Giants falter — the moment Odell Beckham and Eli Manning miscommunicate on a route — Beckham’s absence from offseason training activities will come up right or wrong. So far, Beckham missing practices and workouts have not seemed to matter much.

Team building in the NFL is a hazy concept — even the coaches believed to be the best at it like Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll have their struggles. There is no perfect formula. But in any situation, it’s paramount not to put too much stock in one element of the offseason that is directed more toward younger players grasping the playbook before the start of training camp.

Brock Osweiler a ‘pleasant surprise’ in Browns camp

A little more than a week ago, I wrote a post exploring whether the Browns would actually keep Brock Osweiler as their third quarterback.

But life comes at you fast.

On Wednesday, Browns head coach Hue Jackson talked up the former Texans divorcee. The comments added to what has been an Osweiler boost of late, altering already scrambled perceptions of who, exactly, is winning the job this preseason. At the least, Osweiler no longer seems second fiddle to the second-round draft pick the Browns received for taking him.

#Browns Hue Jackson said Brock Osweiler has been “pleasant surprise. Everybody has a reputation. He’s not that. He has a good feel to him.”

— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) May 31, 2017
I’ve heard Brock has been excellent, as well. Yes, it’s OTAs. But at least, they are getting more out of him than anticipated. https://t.co/5H74T3VKTx

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 31, 2017
There’s always a chance that Osweiler was the quarterback that Broncos vice president John Elway projected him to be, but myriad factors in Houston got in the way. At the least, he is average to slightly-above-average, which is more than the Browns can say about their current crop of otherwise unproven, young passers.

There is also a chance that Jackson is finally getting an idea of what he wants from this version of his offense and who might be able to get him to that vision.

Because we’re deep into spring football minutiae, the Browns quarterback race could change a dozen more times before opening day. But for now, the competition seems as wide open as ever.