The hype of the 2019 NFL schedule release

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor

By Kate Arhar // @Clvlndk8

I don’t believe any entity in sports knows how to create hype for seemingly innocuous events quite like the NFL.

This week they released the 2019 schedules in prime time. Social media was on fire with love/hate from each fanbase. And some teams spared no expense on video excellence in sharing their schedule with everyone.

Perhaps it’s just because so many teams don’t have a first-round pick in next week’s draft – Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, New Orleans – or maybe fans are just so hungry or anything football related, but the excitement surrounding this year’s reveal was amazing.

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Checking in on the quarterbacks in the NFC South

Sonja Greenfield, OTFB Reporter

By Sonja Greenfield //  @Mom23RN

I’ve hit the NFC North and NFC East.  This week, I head down to the durrty south.

These quarterbacks are about as stable as they get, outside of Tampa Bay, and even that’s not that truly unstable.   Despite quarterback Jameis Winston‘s issues, he’s still in the mix.

So, lets look at Winston, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Cam Newton and ask the question, “What will 2019 look like for these quarterbacks?”

Since I’ve mentioned Winston, let’s start with Tampa Bay.

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The Eight “Rookie” Head Coaches of 2019

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor

 

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

This season an unprecedented eight NFL teams will have new head coaches. And for six of these coaches, it will be their first time running the whole show.

Bruce Arians has stepped out of the booth and back onto the field in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have floundered recently and Jameis Winston hasn’t grown or flourished the way we expected him to when he was drafted in 2015. Perhaps promoting former NFL QB turned offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will be the first step in turning Winston around.

But the seven other coaches have their work cut out for them. Let’s take a look at these “rookies” and, maybe the biggest key to their success, who will be under center as they take the field.

This week’s Blitzed Insider’s featured article!

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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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Football is more than just a game

Sonja Greenfield NFL Reporter

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

On Friday, Feb. 15th, the NFLPA released a statement saying that the NFL has reached a settlement with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and current Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid in their collusion case against the NFL.

The almost 3-year saga has, for all intents and purposes, has come to a sort of anti-climactic close.

Regardless of if you support Kaepernick and Reid or not, it opened up dialog.  Or at least attempted to.  I had a hard time finding people who could civilly discuss this online, but hopefully more civil discussions were had in “real life”.

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The quarterback carousel gets spinning

Lisa Johnson Senior Media Manager/NFL Reporter

By Lisa Johnson //@LJ1303

Going into the 2019 NFL season many teams have needs. Some have different needs than others, but no need is more important than that of the quarterback. There are at least 5 teams that are going to need some help at that position.

The Denver Broncos addressed theirs by agreeing in principle for Baltimore Ravens benched QB Joe Flacco. While Flacco won’t be the answer long term for the Broncos, he will at least give them some time to find their franchise quarterback.

Many NFL analysts have ranted that this 2019 quarterback class, to say it nicely, is average. No one guy stands out at this moment. You’d have to assume Bronco’s GM John Elway agrees with that assessment since he pulled the trigger so quickly on Flacco. I’ve always felt that if you pick a player in the first round, that player has to start day one. I just don’t feel that there are day one starters in this draft, which in my mind is why Flacco is a Bronco.

So what does this signing mean for the other teams that are quarterback-starved? It means another free agent/ “Gap” quarterback is about to hit the market.  If the Broncos can’t find a team to trade their one and done QB, Case Keenum to, then he is expected to be released.

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Dear Saints Fans

Sonja Greenfield, Detroit Lions Reporter

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

Hi Who Dats!

It’s me, Sonja.  Congrats on an amazing 2018 season!  I was hoping your team was going to make it to the Super Bowl.  Can’t have enough 40+year-old quarterbacks there, right?  I would have really liked to see Drew Brees cap off an MVP caliber year and ride off into the sunset with a Super Bowl victory.  I’m sorry that it can’t happen because of officiating.  And that is an awful position to be in.  As a Detroit Lions fan, I, unfortunately, know all too well about poor officiating leading to bad outcomes.

Where shall I start?

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Excitement over Rams win tempered by controversy

Lucy Rendler-Kaplan
LA Rams Reporter

By Lucy Rendler-Kaplan // @Lucyrk78

 

LA Rams 26 – New Orleans Saints 23

The Los Angeles Rams are going to the Super Bowl. However, that’s not the biggest news surrounding the team this after their win over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game Sunday. A missed call late in regulation is.

Yes, there was an obvious third-down pass interference. Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman hit Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis and the Saints didn’t get the chance for a first down that could have run out the clock.

Instead, New Orleans was left with having to kick a field goal, giving the Rams 15 seconds to tie the game. While the field goal gave the Saints the lead, a penalty MIGHT have given them the win. But would it have? We will never know. What would the narrative be today had that potential field goal NOT gone in?

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The Super Bowl is on the line for the Rams on Sunday

Lucy Rendler-Kaplan
LA Rams Reporter

By Lucy Rendler-Kaplan // @Lucyrk78

The NFC Championship Game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints may be held in the Big Easy, but this matchup will be anything but. 

This is a rematch of Week 9, a game that the Saints won. Could the Rams have won? Yes. Should the Rams have won? I vote yes.

Still, the Rams finished the season at 13-3, tied for the best record in the NFL. Only problem? The team they tied with IS the Saints.

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Eagles Fall to the Saints in Divisional Game

Roxana Herrera Philadelphia Eagles Reporter

By Roxana Herrera //@rxnlzbth

Saints 20 – Eagles 14

What was a promising start for the Philadelphia Eagles ended in tears for the fans of the defending champions. Eagles were up 14-0 going into the second quarter and had everything going their way until quarterback Nick Foles was intercepted and the momentum completely shifted. After that, the Eagles’ defense was too tired to find an answer.

They started off on top converting a turnover into a touchdown. Then later that quarter, Foles hit wide receiver Jordan Matthews for their second and final touchdown of the game. Eagles earned a total of 151 yards and were barely able to add any more.

It’s fair to say Foles threw some questionable passes, either they were overthrown or underthrown. The offense also had trouble converting third downs.

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