Signing Joe Flacco was another effective move by the Jets

Signing Joe Flacco was another effective move by the Jets

For the first time in a long time, the New York Jets have an answer at quarterback in Sam Darnold. New York doesn’t have to go into offseasons looking for a quarterback because of Darnold and what he brings to the table as he heads into year three, and they can focus on other positions to help him succeed. The Jets have undergone a solid offseason to this point by helping their franchise quarterback by retooling the offensive line, signing Breshad Perriman, and getting a receiver in the early rounds of the draft such as Denzel Mims. However, that doesn’t have to be the only position to help out Darnold.

Backup quarterback usually gets ignored by many because of the position, but when the starting quarterback goes down with an injury, that’s when it helps to have a backup to help out and win a few games. Not to mention mentoring the young starting quarterback, which is what Joe Flacco brings to the table after the Jets signed him to a one-year contract last month. Over the last two years, the Jets backup quarterback situation has been a problem. Darnold has missed three games in each his first two years with an injury and mononucleosis. In those six games, the Jets started Josh McCown, who was a great teacher and mentor to Darnold but struggled in his three starts replacing the injured quarterback. Trevor Siemian, and Luke Falk round out the trio of backups to start. New York went 0-6 in those games. In 2019, the Jets went 7-6 with Darnold playing.

Flacco brings valuable veteran experience as a franchise quarterback on a team, the Baltimore Ravens, for a decade. As well as being the starter in Denver last season before suffering a serious neck injury that forced him to miss the rest of the 2019 year and had surgery on it back in April, which does put his status availability up in the air for Week 1. Flacco’s seen it and been through it all in the league. A lot of winning to go along with frustrating times and struggling through injuries over the last couple of years. Flacco made the playoffs six times in Baltimore, winning ten playoff games and a Super Bowl championship. There arguably could’ve been more playoff wins in Baltimore for Flacco if not for a few drops in the playoffs in 2011 and 2014. 2011 would’ve resulted in a trip to the Super Bowl. That experience right there can be so helpful to a quarterback like Darnold, and Flacco has been in the position where Darnold is in currently in year three.

In 2010, Flacco’s third year, the Ravens brought in an experienced backup in former Rams quarterback Marc Bulger. Bulger had a fine career in the league, spending ten years with the Rams and starting in eight of those seasons. Bulger made the Pro Bowl twice during that span. Bulger helped Flacco a lot in his development in 2010 in a season where, at that point in his career, threw for the most passing yards and touchdowns. Flacco can do the same for Darnold in 2020. He can even help him out within the AFC East.

So far, Darnold’s had his struggles against his own division, especially against the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. Flacco has never lost to the Dolphins and when it comes to the Patriots, there’s only a select few of quarterbacks who have played well consistently against them over their twenty years of dominance, Flacco was one of them. Flacco was 2-2 against the Patriots in the playoffs and he really should’ve been 4-0 if not for the aforementioned drops, which also include the Billy Cundiff missed field goal in the 2011 AFC Championship game. Flacco can show Sam their defenses tendencies in the film room.

If Darnold does have to miss time again this year, you can trust Flacco to go in their and win you a game or two, but it goes far beyond that where he helps Darnold and the Jets. Jets general manager Joe Douglas worked in Baltimore for 15 years and was a big influence in the Ravens drafting Flacco in 2008, and the Jets needed a backup quarterback desperately. The Ravens all-time leader in passing, a member of the 40,000 passing yards club, and a former Super Bowl MVP with double-digit playoff wins made to much sense for the Jets. Compared to last year, the Jets quarterback room with Darnold, Flacco, and rookie James Morgan is a lot better, and Darnold should benefit from having Flacco to help further his development.

New York Jets running game will make or break their season

New York Jets running game will make or break their season

It feels like it was still just yesterday, but there was a time when the New York Jets were one of the most dangerous teams in the league. It was only two years from 2009 to 2010, the Jets won 24 games including the playoffs and got to two straight AFC Championship games. They did that off the heels of a great defense, and a balanced offense with a strong running game.
In 2010, the last time the Jets made the playoffs, the Jets rush offense was 4th in the NFL. In the nine years since, the Jets rush offense has only been in the top-5 once and has ranked 19th, 26th, and 31st over the last three seasons. A large reason for that has been due to the struggles on the offensive line and New York has made it a priority this offseason, now the questions are will the offensive line improve, and if so, can the running game be effective?
The Jets have been also active in the running back market by signing veteran Frank Gore and drafting Lamical Perine to add to Le’Veon Bell. The team has also been interested in free agent running back Davonte Freeman. Bell is the x-factor in all of this as he’s coming off a down year. Statistically, it was a down year, but it wasn’t all Bell’s fault with the struggles on the offensive line and his lack of carries in head coach Adam Gase’s gameplan. Bell still showed the talent that is in him and what made him a top-5 running back in the NFL in 2019. Bell is not just a great runner, but he is still a productive player as a pass catcher.
A three headed rushing attack of Gore, Perine, and Bell should help bring balance to an offense that desperately needs it, but there is going to have to be consistency in the amount of times the Jets run the football, and that falls on Gase. Gase’s rush offenses have been below average and that is going to have to change, if the team is going to win.
If the Jets run the ball effectively, with Bell leading the charge and having a solid season, New York will be in the playoffs. The Jets have always been a franchise that has won with a good running game, look no further than 50 years ago when they won their only Super Bowl, or when they went to the AFC championship games in 1998, 2009, and 2010. Bell, Gore, and Perine will be key factors.
Have the Rams bungled their Super Bowl window?

Have the Rams bungled their Super Bowl window?

A lot has changed for the Los Angeles Rams in a relatively short period of time. The team was loaded in 2018 and 2019, making the playoffs in those two years with new head coach Sean McVay. Quarterback Jared Goff went from struggling in his rookie year, to an MVP-level quarterback in years 2 and 3. Los Angeles went to the Super Bowl in 2019, losing to the New England Patriots 13-3. It seemed the Rams were going to get back at some point due to their talent and coaching, but that seems less likely just 15 months later.
The Rams lost guard Rodger Saffold, which significantly hurt their offensive line and running back Todd Gurley was never really at 100% all season in 2019. As a result, Goff had a rocky 4th season in the league as he threw 16 interceptions with a 86.5 passer rating. A drop off from his last two years where he threw 28 and 32 touchdown passes.
The Rams defense struggled as well after losing guys like Lamarcus Joyner and Ndamukong Suh and made their defense older with the signings of Eric Weddle and Clay Matthews. During the season, the team traded cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, and made a move that ended up not necessarily paying off in 2019. The Rams traded two first-round picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars for cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Ramsey struggled for the Rams, culminating in a gaffe on third-and-16 in a must win game against the San Francisco 49ers when Emmanuel Sanders caught a 46-yard reception and the 49ers won on a game-winning field goal, and eliminating the Rams from playoff contention as they finished 7-9 on the season. This offseason has seen more turnover for the Rams.
Matthews is still a free agent, Weddle retired, Ramsey is still in need of a contract extension after they dealt two first-round picks for him, Gurley was released and signed with the Atlanta Falcons, wide receiver Brandin Cooks was traded to the Houston Texans, linebacker Corey Littleton left in free agency for the Las Vegas Raiders, as did outside linebacker Dante Fowler as he signed with the Falcon. Kicker Greg Zurlein also departed in free agency for the Dallas Cowboys. They also have to pay receiver Cooper Kupp soon. In the NFC West, they are no longer the top team in the division. The 49ers and Seattle Seahawks have passed them and the Arizona Cardinals, while they aren’t there yet, are on their way and just acquired wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
The Rams sudden decline is an example of how quick things change in the NFL. 15 months ago, the Rams were in prime position to make the Super Bowl for a while, now, they are the third best team in their own division with the Cardinals quickly getting there. What Los Angeles does have going for them still is their coach and quarterback. McVay is still considered as one of the best minds in the game, and you figure Goff is not the quarterback we saw him as in 2019. It really is what’s going on around the Rams other than the coach and quarterback that is the concern. The offensive line and running game are a concern now and the defense is a question mark even with Aaron Donald who is one of the best players in the league. The window isn’t closed yet for the Rams, but it’s closer to closed than many expected it to be when they made a run to the Super Bowl.
Three biggest losers of the 2020 NFL Draft

Three biggest losers of the 2020 NFL Draft

After taking a look at the three biggest winners of the NFL Draft, it’s time to examine who were the biggest losers of the draft. Teams that maybe will regret certain picks or just didn’t have the board fall in their favor. We start this list off in Philly.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles shocked the world when they picked Jaylen Hurts in the second round, perking everyone’s ears about the future of Carson Wentz. The Eagles can say they want to use Hurts as a gadget type player for the offense, but the problem is they picked him in the second-round. Quarterbacks taken that early usually start at some point. The pick of Jaelen Reagor over Justin Jefferson was baffling in of itself, but the Hurts pick will hang with the franchise for a long time. With Wentz’s injury history, the question is do the Eagles have faith in Wentz? The guy who was largely responsible for their 2017 regular season and was an MVP candidate. The guy who was responsible for leading the team to the postseason in 2019 with injuries all around him on offense. The same quarterback they paid a lot of money to just one offseason ago. The Eagles are in a position that many will be watching.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints are here because of the fact they had four draft picks in total. Cesar Ruiz was a decent pick but doesn’t necessarily fill a big need. They were left out of the entire second-round before taking linebacker Zack Baun and tight end Adam Trautman. New Orleans again got left off the 4th, 5th, and 6th rounds before taking quarterback Tommy Stevens in the 7th. The Saints draft was uneventful at best.

New England Patriots

The Patriots was an odd one to say the least. They needed offensive talent in the worst way, and their response to that was trading out of the first-round and then selecting thee defensive players in a row in safety Kyle Dugger, defensive end Josh Uche, and linebacker Anfernee Jennings. The Patriots defense was already pretty good, so it’s good to add some young talent and continue to maintain the success, but to do it at the expense of an offense that badly needs assistance is not ideal. The Patriots then picked tight end back-to-back with the selections of Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene.

The 3 biggest winners of the 2020 NFL Draft

The 3 biggest winners of the 2020 NFL Draft

With the NFL Draft wrapped up and in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to look at the teams who did the best and nailed their draft class. Truthfully, we won’t know how these draft classes will go at least for another three years, but it’s always interesting to look and see which team got the best value early. So, let’s look at the three winners of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Baltimore Ravens

Through two offseasons, Eric DeCosta may already be the best general manager in the entire NFL. You can tell the amount of knowledge he learned from former general manager Ozzie Newsome has paid off so far. In rounds one and two, Baltimore let the draft come to them and they played best player available so well. Drafting LSU inside linebacker Patrick Queen and Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins. The team helped the interior of the defensive line by getting Texas A&M’s Justin Madubuike in the third round, along with getting linebacker Malik Harrison out of Ohio State and Texas Longhorns wide receiver Devin Duvernay. Baltimore is one of the best in the draft, and they continued it here.

New York Jets

The Jets hired Joe Douglas for the NFL Draft. While this was his first draft as a general manager, Douglas has been doing this work for years with Baltimore, the Philadelphia Eagles, and Chicago Bears. He went to work quickly by drafting offensive tackle Mekhi Beckton out of Louisville. The Jets first offensive lineman they’ve drafted in the first round since 2006. Day two, he drafts Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims. Right off the bat, you know what Douglas’s objective is; Help Sam Darnold. Later, he selected Jabari Zuniga and La’Mical Perine out of the University of Florida. Douglas has a plan for the Jets, and this draft shows that plan.

Indianapolis Colts

While the team didn’t have a first-round pick, they more than made up for it by using that pick to trade for DeForest Buckner, and they had a real solid draft overall. With their first pick which came in the second-round, they stole USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., and later in the second-round they drafted Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, who was a perennial Heisman candidate. The Colts drafted for the present and their future with those two picks, but then they drafted permanently for their future by selecting Jacob Eason out of the University of Washington. Eason can sit and learn for a year or two as veteran Philip Rivers is the team’s starter for the time being. The Colts started off hot but struggled down the stretch last year. This draft could help them be the team they were at the beginning of 2019 and compete for the playoffs, especially if Rivers is back to his old self.