Ja’Quan Gardner is Niner’s loss, Fleets gain

Wanda Wiedman,
NFL Reporter

By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63

If you didn’t catch the Sunday AAF San Diego Fleet’s win over the San Antonio Commanders you missed out on a great game and the emergence of a shifty running back.

Ja’Quan Gardner stands at 5’-7” and around 191 pounds. He went undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft after leading the D-IAA conference with 206 carries, 1322 rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns at Humboldt State. He caught 20 passes for 212 yards and two TDs while returning two kickoffs for scores as a senior.

He was also a First Team All-GNAC honors and rushed 249 times for 1,300 yards and 18 TDs, while making 42 catches for 324 yards in 2016. Prior to that, Gardner led the Division II in rushing with 2,266 yards and 25 TDs on 337 carries as a sophomore. How did he not get drafted? Well, when you are in a draft that had running backs Saquan Barkley, Sony Michel, Kerryon Johnson, Derrius Guice, and Nick Chubb, the odds are against you.

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A look in at the Texans

Sonja Greenfield OTFB Reporter

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

This week, I thought I’d write about the Houston Texans.

But, I’m going to be honest with you. As I started to think about what I was going to write about, I realized that I don’t really know too much about the inner workings of the Texans.  I don’t know their draft needs, who their free agents are. You know, the good stuff.

But I remembered someone who would.  One of our old friends Claire. Claire used to be our Texans reporter and co-hosted our podcast.  So of course, it was a no brainer to ask her!   Here we go!

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NFL Suspensions: Are Owners Exempt?

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft became the talk of the football world last Friday. No, not for winning yet another Super Bowl. It was because his name came up as part of an investigation in Jupiter, Florida, that was targeting a human trafficking ring.

According to 15th Circuit State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Kraft was issued a summons yesterday, formally charging him with two counts of soliciting prostitution in a Florida spa.

While we wait to see what, if any, action the NFL will take against Mr. Kraft, I thought I would take a look at how the NFL hands out punishments to players, referees, team personnel and owners. And what I found has left me kind of disturbed.

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“Survey says, …” TWT: Let’s talk Combine

OTFB Reporter

By Liz Panucci // @PanucciLiz

If you love stats, then the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is for you. It’s all about pounds, inches, and speed. The 40-yard dash, in particular.

These faces are the up-and-coming stars of the NFL, maybe even your team. Each player has a story on how he got to be here for the ‘Biggest Interview of his Life’. Watch the interviews, scan your Twitter timeline and get to know these talented, confident, and maybe a little nervous, young men.

Lisa Johnson shares what’s abuzz as we head into the chaos of this event in her Get to know the Top 10 NFL Combine Prospects. Plus, our very own Kate Arhar is reporting live from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this weekend. Stay tuned daily @ourturffb for updates.

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Get to know the top 10 NFL combine prospects: Kyler Murray

Lisa Johnson Senior Media Manager/NFL Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

During the next few weeks, I will be writing articles on the top 10 prospects heading to the NFL Combine. And I’m proud to announce OurTurf Football will be there live and in person to bring you all the top stories from Indianapolis.

I won’t even pretend who my first NFL prospect is gonna be. For all my followers and colleagues who know me, certainly know it’s gonna be a quarterback.

Right out of the gate, this weeks spotlight is Heisman Trophy winner QB Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma. Murray is listed at 5’10” – 190 lbs.

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New, Young Head Coaches Smart to Add Veteran Coordinators

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior Sports Reporter

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

With the success that the NFL’s youngest head coach, LA Rams HC Sean McVey, it was no surprise NFL owners wanted to try to find the same needle in a haystack. This offseason brought a fury of hirings of young head coaches. Smartly, those coaches are looking to veteran coordinators to fill out their coaching staff.

While teams like Tampa Bay decided to go with a veteran head coach in Bruce Arians, most other coach-needy teams decided to go young. Arizona, Green Bay, Miami, and Cincinnati have all hired coaches between the ages of 35 – 39.

Not that age has anything to do with coaching, but it does have to do with experience. Bringing in veteran coordinators and specialist not only is savvy, but it allows the HCs to be educated by some of the best.

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The good, the bad, and the ugly of the AAF – Week 2

Wanda Wiedman,
AAF Reporter

By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63

Two weeks in and the Alliance for American Football has proven to be an exciting display of gridiron grit and talent. Three teams are currently undefeated, the Arizona Hotshots who hold the lead in the Western Conference and the Orlando Apollos, and Birmingham Irons.

The Apollos and Irons are tied for first in the Eastern Conference. On the flip side, there are also three teams that are winless – The Salt Lake Stallions, the Memphis Express, and the Atlanta Legends.

The San Antonio Commanders and the San Diego Fleet hold one win apiece. However, there was some good, some bad and sheer ugliness that has come out of the league so far.

Let’s start with the Good.

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How the offseason is shaping up for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sonja Greenfield, OTFB Reporter

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

On an OurTurf podcast earlier this year, I spoke with my fellow reporters about what coaching job I felt would be a good situation to get into.  Dayna and I agreed:  Tampa Bay.

There are no sky-high expectations because they finished last in their division.  They have a decent group of players that they can work with.  Players such as two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans, linebacker Lavonte David, and a pretty solid defensive corps with players such as defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Carl Nassib, and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy

There’s a lot of good groundwork that can be built upon, that new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles can take advantage of.  Granted, McCoy could be leaving Tampa Bay, however, that would give them about $13 million in cap room, should they do that.  That would also allow their 2018 1st round pick, DT Vita Vea a good chance to shine, even though last season he was hampered by injury.

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“Survey says, …” TWT: Controversy in the NFL

OTFB Reporter

By Liz Panucci // @PanucciLiz

The NFL and controversy. They kind of go together. When was the last time we had a football season that went smoothly?

Let’s take a look back, to when it was summer and we were all excited for kickoff. Quite interestingly enough, these were the top 10 brewing controversies heading into the 2018 NFL season as per Frank Schwab/Yahoo Sports.

  1. The Helmet Rule
  2. Are the Browns really going to sit Baker Mayfield all season?
  3. Will there be any more Patriots strife?
  4. Jameis Winston‘s uncertain future in Tampa
  5. Le’Veon Bell playing on another franchise tag
  6. The Giants’ conundrum if Eli Manning struggles
  7. Second-guessing the Alex SmithPatrick Mahomes decision
  8. Jalen Ramsey vs. everyone
  9. Vance Joseph’s job security in Denver
  10. Jon Gruden already under pressure

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“Survey says, …” – Complete List

OTFB Reporter

By Liz Panucci // @PanucciLiz

Have you missed any? Here’s the full list – take a look, share your thoughts in each survey.

February 18: Controversy in the NFL

February 11: The Alliance of American Football

February 4: Greats of the game + rising stars

January 29: Super Bowl LIII

Follow Liz on Twitter // @PanucciLiz

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