Charlotte, NC– Entering their third game of the 2017 season, the Carolina Panthers had defensive momentum on their side. That momentum dissipated quickly on Sunday. After two impressive first series, that momentum disintegrated into two field goals. Here is the Good, Bad, Ugly and Beautiful from Sunday’s game.
The Good: Running back Jonathan Stewart ran extremely hard on Sunday. He now only trails former Carolina Panther running back (breast cancer advocate extraordinaire) Deangelo Williams by 46 yards for the franchise record. Running back Christian Mccaffrey had the first 100-yard receiving game by a running back in Carolina since 2011. ( Hey, Stewart!!)
Wide receiver Samuel Curtis has the longest rush of the season for 30 yards.
Only one penalty for each team. Kicker Graham Gano is 8 for 8. He should be 9-9 (see the bad)
After the home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on the national stage last week, the New England Patriots needed to come out of Week 2 with a convincing win. They completed that task with a win in New Orleans over the Saints, 36-20. Tom Brady looked like well, Tom Brady, throwing for over 400 yards and three touchdowns, completing 30 of 39 pass attempts, earning him an impressive 139.6 passer rating.
With Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola out on offense, and Dont’a Hightower out on defense, it was unclear how the team was going to perform. But faith in Bill Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff insured that the Patriots, even on the road, would bounce back from their loss the week before.
The offense really came to life, with three touchdowns in the first quarter, with passes to Rex Burkhead, Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan respectively. Brady even played referee, making a case for the crew to pick up the flag thrown for an illegal pick since the block was within one yard from the line of scrimmage limit. Mike Gillislee scored a fourth touchdown in the second quarter following fullback James Develin into the end zone, and with a 28 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal, the Patriots had 30 points by halftime, allowing only 13 for Drew Brees and the Saints.
But as good as the offense was, there was a price – injuries. Rex Burkhead and Rob Gronkowski both left the game with rib and groin injuries respectively. Gronk’s injury was particularly concerning, as it looked at first like he might have reinjured the back which caused him to miss the end of the 2016 season and the Super Bowl.Continue reading “Patriots Right the Ship vs Saints”→
It all went terribly bad quickly on a bad, bad, terrible night in Viking land.
Shades of Brett Favre and the 2009 NFC Championship game haunted this game when comparing how the franchises seem to be going in opposite directions. Even memories of the famous kick by Garrett Hartley could not make this game palatable.
Not only was the loss of Zach Strief and Terron Armstead felt but Max Unger and Larry Warford both struggled mightily according to Profootball Focus (PFF) stats. The run game was non-existent (Adrian Peterson–come on down) and the loss of Willie Snead was felt. Most players stayed in on offense to protect Brees leaving precious few wide receivers against the Vikings secondary.
The New Orleans Saints break out into a rendition of “O, Canada” once again as they sign Canadian raised Orlando Franklin to a one-year deal.
Franklin is a Jamaican-born professional football guard raised in Toronto who now plays for the New Orleans Saints.
This veteran guard started all 16 games for the San Diego Chargers last year. Franklin’s release this offseason by the Chargers was seen as a cost-cutting move. But the truth may lie deeper than that. Prior to being on the Chargers roster, he was an offensive lineman for the Denver Broncos. With the Broncos, he excelled in their zone-blocking scheme; whereas the Chargers employ a power-gap scheme.
NF: Where did you learn about football – When? and from Who?
CC: I learned football on my Pop’s knee. He was a semi-pro player, and our family went to football games all the time. It is woven into the very fibre of my being. We went to high school games on Friday, Tiger Stadium on Saturday and before the New Orleans Saints came into existence, we rooted for the Detroit Lions.
My Dad took us to the first Saints game in Tulane Stadium, and he has been a Saints ticket holder since day one. He would put two TVs side by side to watch two games at once and have the radio on as well. He is a wild man when it comes to football. On Thanksgiving he and my younger brother come over and we watch football all day together.
The New Orleans Saints selected Al-Quadin Muhammad with their last pick of the 2017 NFL draft. There was faint expectation for this pick given its position in the draft but the Saints, who never fail to surprise, pulled off a bit of an upset with the selection of Al-Quadin Muhammad.
His ESPN draft profile reads like a dream for a pass rusher.
Pass Rush Skills
Shoots hand inside and jacks up blockers with initial punch. Above average initial quickness and flashes ability to win with speed to power. Tracks quarterback as he works upfield and sheds in proper direction. Average bend and adequate closing speed. Room for improvement when it comes to double and quick inside moves. Appears to have long arms and gets hands up when doesn’t get to the quarterback.
Versus the run
Flashes ability to shoot gaps and disrupt plays in the backfield. Lean lower body and gets overwhelmed at times but does a better job of setting edge than other edge defenders with similar size. Strong and plays with good pad level for the most part. Shoots hands inside and stacks much bigger blockers though needs to shed quicker at times. Effective wrap-up tackler between the tackles. Some tightness in hips and concerned about ability to regularly make open field tackles. Good effort and sound angles but quicker than fast and struggles to chase down backs on a straight-line.
Ideally fills out frame but best long-term projection is at LDE. That said he is a 3-4OLB candidate with experience lining up in two-point stance and off the line. High-cut and more effective attacking upfiield but has experience dropping and has enough range to hold up in underneath coverage.
Plays with a chip on shoulder and good fight taking on bigger blockers. Relentless would be an overstatement but good effort chasing the run and average to slightly above average effort rushing the passer. Flashes ability to fight through double teams.
Al-Quadin Muhammad’s issues off the field have hampered his ability to develop on the field. He has missed two of the past three seasons because of a suspension and dismissal. The University of Miami suspended him for the 2014 season after he allegedly punched a former student in the face in the Hard Rock Stadium parking lot. Al-Quadin Muhammad was dismissed from the team because the university believed a Miami Beach car dealership gave him free use of an exotic car, which is an NCAA violation.
The New Orleans Saints made a surprise selection in the third round of the NFL draft when they selected linebacker Alex Anzalone.
This was a highly anticipated pick by Saints watchers who expected the Saints to select a pass rusher ranked as a round two or three selection in a very deep defensive draft. Instead they choose a linebacker buoying up the belief the team believes in its free agent pass rusher, Alex Okafor. What did they see in Anzalone to make this selection?
The oft-injured Anzalone is believed to possess first rate football skills. In the Saints opinion, he is the only linebacker in the draft who excelled at all three linebacking positions as well as in pass protection. Has good lateral movement and can burst into an alley.
Mike Detillier described his style of tackling as “Attacks ballcarriers like they stole something from him as a kid.” He is a smart player who is rarely caught out of position. Locker room leader who other players listened to.
Our Lads states “Shows man-to-man skill with the ability to mirror cuts and stay in phase with a back or tight end up the field.” Thinking about a 6 foot, 3 inches, 241 linebacker lining up against running backs and tights ends in the NFC South does my heart good. Physically gifted but has arms and needs to improve his technique against quality blocking.
The New Orleans Saints finally selected a pass rusher in the third round of the NFL draft by taking Trey Hendrickson who had the highest pass-rushing productivity in the nation. He also led the nation in blocked kicks.
Mike Mayock: “I like this guy. Daniel Jeremiah and I showed up at the East-West Shrine Game and we both kind of went nuts over this guy. Six-four, 266, he sticks his hand in the dirt and boy does he come after people. And then what I really liked — people say he has short arms and bla bla bla — but then he went to the combine and tested extremely well. So you’ve got an effort motor guy with really good measurables, except for the short arms. And all I’m telling you is New Orleans needs to affect the pass game and he’s going to be one of those guys that can stick his hand in the dirt or stand up depending on what they need.”
Mel Kiper Jr. compared new Saints DE Trey Hendrickson to Rob Ninkovich. If that proves to be true, it'd be a steal for the Saints.
The New Orleans Saints traded up to acquire Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara with the 67th pick of the 2017 NFL draft.
The Saints had to trade back into the second round to nab Kamara by giving up their 2018 2nd round pick and this year’s 7th round pick to the San Francisco 49ers. Sean Payton has a specific vision for Kamara who will join Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson in the backfield. The Saints conducted a private workout for Kamara during the draft process. Payton envisions Kamara as a Reggie Bush/Darren Sproles type of player who can also field kicks. Kamara was one of four team captains selected last spring.
Kamara led the Tennessee Volunteers with 127 yards and two touchdowns, eight catches for 161 yards and another TD, in addition to a 16-yard kick return in a 45-38 double-overtime loss to Texas A&M. The 312 yards represented a single-game record for Tennessee and put Kamara on NFL draft radar.
The New Orleans Saints select Offensive Tackle Ryan Ramczyk with the 32nd pick of the first round of the 2017 NFL draft.
What at first was, to me, a ho hum, ever-so-safe pick became more exciting as the night wore on. Coach Sean Payton divulged the grade placed on Ramczyk by the Saints organization. The Saints had Ramczyk slotted in the top tier of the first round at a position they wished to fill. The gap between the Ramczyk grade and other, defensive player grades was sufficient enough to warrant the pick in the first round.
“Our grade on Ryan was at the top half of round one, inside of a grade of 15,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “He was a player graded in the first round by every one of our scouts.” If the Saints had waited until a later round, the draft would not have yielded many promising picks at offensive tackle.
The Saints made it clear they expected to draft an offensive tackle but most analysts (including me) thought they would draft one later given Drew Brees‘ ability to make life relatively easy for an offensive tackle. (Perhaps, the Saints are moving back toward dominant offensive line play reminiscent of the days when they regularly garnered the Madden award for Most Valuable Protectors in 2009 and 2011). Continue reading “Saints Select Offensive Tackle Ryan Ramczyk”→