Jacksonville Sport News

If the NBA expanded, here’s my 30 top cities

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Sun, 07/22/2018 - 22:35
  1. Seattle- ready to brings back the Sonics
  2. Las Vegas- every league wants part of the LV market, but would have to compete with the popular hockey team that has concurrent seasons
  3. Kansas City- large city nowhere near any other NBA teams
  4. Pittsburgh- big sports city, but may not be big enough for 4 teams
  5. Virginia Beach- no teams and massive population in the area
  6. Mexico City- huge mostly untapped market for pro sports in Mexico
  7. London- there are problems with an international team, so would likely come with 4+ other European teams
  8. Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Rome, Athens, Istanbul- 3 or more would join If London gets a team
  9. Louisville- basketball city, but is there room for two?
  10. St Louis- possible if Kansas City does not get a team
  11. San Diego- doesn’t seem like much of a sports city, even though it’s huge
  12. Vancouver- could support a team, but most likely if Seattle somehow doesn’t get a team
  13. Chicago- unlikely with the Bulls being so established, but it’s a big enough city
  14. Columbus- largest city in Ohio, but unlikely to take fans away from Cleveland
  15. Cincinnati- smaller Columbus
  16. Nashville- unlikely to compete with Memphis
  17. Baltimore- too close to DC
  18. Jacksonville- large city with small suburbs would make one of the smallest markets
  19. Montreal- better to funnel all of Canada’s NBA fandom into TOR and VAN
  20. Buffalo- too close to Toronto, small market with loyal fans and bad teams
  21. New York- NY doesn’t need 3 teams Tampa- too close to Orlando
  22. Lincoln- Nebraska is nothing but corn and cornhuskers
  23. Providence- small market, too close to Boston
  24. Albuquerque- way too small Honolulu- too small, too far
  25. Anchorage- even smaller, little closer
  26. Athens, GA- was included as a possible expansion in NBA 2k, but way to small and too close to Atlanta

Any thoughts?

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Rays Gear Round-up?! + Shoutout To My Awesome Mother

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Sun, 07/22/2018 - 18:31

Hey guys!

I am always on this sub throughout the season and offseason following the Rays. I am only in my mid twenties and was very young with the Rays started. My mom and I weren't extremely close when I was young but we did go to the first Rays game ever at the Trop together. This past Saturday I drove down from Jacksonville where I live now and surprised her with 2 tickets to the game (gotta get those DJ kitty heads!). While she was "getting food" she came back with an old school black Rays jersey! My first sport jersey EVER! We never had the money for them as a kid and I know my mom had to save a bit or make a few cuts to afford it, but she did it! I love it!

This brings me to the reason I deicded to create this post, I'd love to see some of your Rays gear (Old or New!) I'm mainly a hat guy so included my small hat collection. Post your favorite Rays gear, Merch, Giveaway items, anything at all! I'd love to see what the community has collected over the years!

My Rays Gear!

My hats are all snapbacks.

  1. Rays Inaugural Anniversary
  2. Rays 10 Year Anniversary Neon
  3. Rays Throwback I purchased last year
  4. Rays 20 Year Anniversary I got from the trop
  5. My Snapback from my childhood! (Not sure the year on it, can't seem to find a timeline for the logos on hats like this, anyone know?)
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Some thoughts on Allen Robinson and his injury from 2017.

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Sun, 07/22/2018 - 18:19

2017 was supposed to be a really strong year for Robinson, as he was poised to be the WR1 for Jaguars. Unfortunately, he only lasted 1 play and then ended up tearing his ACL.

Here is some of my thoughts about Robinson, and some data that I've researched about ACL injuries in NFL athletes.

Allen Robinson was one of the 51 NFL players who suffered a torn ACL in the 2017 season. Robinson suffered the injury in the first game of the 2017 season while playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he was poised to be their WR1 and a potential top-20 WR. He had his surgery just days after his injury, which means there was very little inflammation and he did not have to wait for his knee to calm down. Overall, ACL replacements are pretty standard now-a-days; while there are some subtle differences in terms of graft choice (hamstring, patellar tendon, quadriceps, Achilles) for the most part these new tendons do quite well. While there have been players that return in as little as 6 months (i.e. Adrian Peterson), this is usually not recommended. A standard timeline is 9 to 12 months. Since it will be about 1 year when Robinson steps on the field again, assuming his rehab went well, he should be good.

What does the data say? There is a 94% success rate after ACL reconstruction surgery, which means there is a 6% re-tear rate. A study from 2014 shows that there is a 6x increased risk of a 2nd ACL injury when compared to health subjects. 30% of athletes suffered a 2nd ACL injury within 24 months of return to sport, within those 21% had a contralateral ACL tear, and 9% had a graft re-tear.

About 20% of RBs and WRs never return to the NFL after an ACL tear. Those that do, experience about a 33% performance drop. Unlike baseball players that run the base paths in a straight line, RBs and WRs in football require lots of high-speed changes of direction, which carry the highest risk to the ACL. Anything that requires landing, cutting or pivoting poses a great challenge to the ACL. One study from 2017 demonstrated that NFL players experienced significantly shorter careers postoperatively than players in other sports (NBA, NHL), 2.1 years vs. 3.2 years. All athletes played fewer games 1 season postoperatively, and the NFL had the lowest rate of active players 2 and 3 seasons postoperatively. There was also a decrease in performance in the first season after the surgery, and this trend continued in years 2 and 3 as well.

Is it common to damage any other part of the knee beside the torn ACL? About 60% of acute injuries also involve a tear of the meniscus, the so-called shocks of the knee located in between the upper and lower leg bones. About 80% of patients suffer a bone bruise as well.

2018 Health Outlook: Allen Robinson has the potential to be a top 20 WR in 2018 for the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately for Robinson, his ACL tear isn’t a one and done injury. I expect him to have an noticeable decrease in performance, and I doubt that he will ever reach the potential he could have reached had he not tore his ACL. The repetitive, constant, and unexpected pivoting of WRs will continue to put a large amount of stress on his new rebuilt ACL.

Risk of Re-Injury: 30% risk of having another ACL tear within 2 years, 6% risk of re-tear.

Recommendations: I am concerned that Robinson will struggle to regain his form in his first year back from ACL reconstruction surgery, and will likely not finish in the top 20 WR.

This is also in a Podcast form if you would like to hear it, search for 'Injuries 101' Podcast on your favorite Podcast listening App, or just go to Youtube.

submitted by /u/DrJesseMorse to r/CHIBears
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Offseason Review, Day 14 - Green Bay Packers

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 12:16
Green Bay Packers NFC North 2017 Record: 7-9

Link to Hub

This one got away from me a bit and now it’s around 13,000 words. If you don't feel like reading all of that, I’m putting a TL;DR up here with some links to the various sections. If you read the whole thing, that's awesome; if not, do what you want.

Coaching and Front Office Changes

DC Dom Capers is out, Mike Pettine is in; OC Edgar Bennett is out and Joe Philbin is in; Ted Thompson is out as GM but still creepily in the building, and Brian Gutekunst is our new That Guy. Meet the new boss, oddly similar to the old boss.

Free Agency

A lot of minor players left, Morgan Burnett will be missed, and Jordy Nelson got cut and everyone’s sad. But we have Jimmy Graham now! Woo!

Draft Picks

For the third time in four years, we drafted all the cornerbacks. Also picked up a bunch of developmental wide receivers, a future first-round pick, a coverage inside linebacker, and a whopping two specialists.

Other Offseason News

Literally nothing happened.

Projected Starters

There’s no real way to summarize this in a couple of sentences, so let’s just say there’s not, like, a ton of surprises.

Position Groups (Offense & Special Teams) (Defense)

-QB is godlike in the only place that matters, shitty elsewhere

-Lots of young running backs, things look good

-OL is mostly solid, and where it isn’t, there’s a bunch of young guys

-WR is pretty meh after the first two or three guys; TEs are pretty decent

-DL is probably our second-best position group; two solid DEs, a good NT and some backups

-We have one run-stuffing ILB and a couple of other guys, but nobody’s great in coverage except maybe Oren Burks

-Our OLBs are good in theory but old/injured in practice and there’s no depth

-The secondary is a total mess of rookies, formerly injured persons, mediocrity and old Tramon Williams

-Special teams is pretty decent

Schedule Predictions

My guess is 11-5; the range is probably between 9-7 and 12-4.

Training Camp Battles to Watch

RG, RT, RB, ILB, CB

Offensive Scheme

West Coast spread with timing issues, zone running game, iso routes, extremely knowledgeable receivers, hurry-up offense, etc.

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Great! Now we've got that out of the way:

Coaching & Front Office Changes

(Bold = a departed or new person, italics = a promotion/demotion from within the organization)

Head Coaches 2017 Staff Title 2018 Staff Title Mike McCarthy Head Coach Mike McCarthy Head Coach Winston Moss Associate Head Coach/Linebackers Winston Moss Associate Head Coach/Linebackers Offense 2017 Staff Title 2018 Staff Title Edgar Bennett Offensive Coordinator Joe Philbin Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt Quarterbacks Coach Frank Cignetti Jr. Quarterbacks Coach Ben Sirmans Running Backs Coach Ben Sirmans Running Backs Coach Luke Getsy Wide Receivers Coach  David Raih  Wide Receivers Coach N/A N/A Jim Hostler Passing Game Coordinator Brian Angelichio Tight Ends Coach Brian Angelichio Tight Ends Coach James Campen Offensive Line Coach James Campen Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator David Raih Assistant Offensive Line Coach Jeff Blasko Assistant Offensive Line Coach Defense 2017 Staff Title 2018 Staff Title Dom Capers Defensive Coordinator ** Mike Pettine  Defensive Coordinator N/A N/A Joe Whitt Jr. ** Passing Game Coordinator Mike Trgovac Defensive Line Coach Jerry Montgomery Defensive Line Coach N/A N/A Patrick Graham  Inside Linebackers/Run Game Coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. Secondary (Cornerbacks) Coach Jason Simmons Secondary Coach Darren Perry Secondary (Safeties) Coach N/A N/A Scott McCurley Linebackers Assistant Coach N/A N/A N/A N/A Scott McCurley  Defensive Assistant Jerry Montgomery Defensive Front Assistant N/A N/A Tim McGarigle  Defensive Quality Control Ryan Downard Defensive Quality Control Special Teams 2017 Staff Title 2018 Staff Title Ron Zook Special Teams Coordinator Ron Zook Special Teams Coordinator Jason Simmons Special Teams Assistant Maurice Drayton Special Teams Assistant The Great Defensive Coordinator Switcheroo

As you maybe noticed, it's been an eventful offseason! To start with, DC Dom Capers was fired, validating seven years of /r/GreenBayPackers’ collective hopes and dreams (if not the dreams of the entire Packers fanbase). Capers worked miracles in his first two years; in 2009, the defense ranked #2 overall and #1 in rushing, although it was shredded by the Cardinals in the wild-card round. In 2010, Capers’ unit ranked No. 5 and was indispensible in bringing home a Super Bowl trophy, closing out Green Bay’s last regular-season game and three of four playoff games.

Unfortunately, it was mostly downhill from there. Following a total collapse in 2011 (32nd in both total defense and pass defense), Capers’ defenses ranked, in order, 11th, 25th, 15th, 15th, 22nd and 22nd. He was never quite bad enough to get fired, but the defense was always at most a middling unit with an inconsistent pass-rush. They were actually pretty good against the pass from 2012-2015, but in 2012, 2013 and 2015 the defense crumbled at crucial times in the playoffs, earning Capers no gratitude. The gradual drain of talent from the secondary – FS Nick Collins’ career-ending neck injury (2011), CB/S Charles Woodson getting cut (2013), CB Tramon Williams leaving in free agency (2014) and Sam Shields’ apparently not-career-ending-if-you’re-the-Rams concussions (2016) also left the secondary without anyone who could reliably pick off the ball, which had been Capers’ trademark in his earlier years.

The 2017 defense was at most the third-worst of Capers’ tenure, but after the Packers’ first non-playoff season since 2008, someone had to go. Following Capers out the door were defensive line coach Mike Trgovac, safeties coach Darren Perry, and defensive quality control coach Tim McGarigle.

Replacing Capers is the stern-faced Mike Pettine, a longtime Ravens defensive assistant before Rex Ryan brought him to the Jets as the DC. Although Ryan is a great coach, Pettine surely played a part in his teams ranking 1st, 3rd, 5th and 8th in total defense from 2009-2012. He then supervised Buffalo’s transformation into the NFL’s 10th-ranked defense in 2013 (up from 22nd the year before) before being hired as the Cleveland Browns’ head coach, where he went 10-22 over two seasons before his firing (defenses: 23rd and 25th overall). He was out of football until the Packers brought him on this offseason.

After reading about a dozen articles, I still don’t have much of an idea how Pettine’s scheme is going to differ from Dom Capers’. All reports are that he runs an aggressive, blitz-heavy defense, has a complex scheme but also strives to keep it simple for his players, runs multiple fronts that can switch between a 3-4 and a 4-3, and puts a heavy emphasis on stopping the pass. Those were all Capers talking points, too. There are certainly some differences – this article does a great job of explaining Pettine’s various defensive fronts, and at least one coach loves his signature “odd” front with the defensive linemen heads-up over the tackles instead of shading to one side or the other, but judged purely on the offseason rhetoric he’s going for a lot of the same things. However, Pettine’s image so far includes a no-nonsense demeanor and a lot of energy, both things that the 67-year-old Capers didn’t really project to the public. (Who knows what it was like inside the building, but Pettine at least seems more intense.) We’ll have to wait for training camp for a better idea of Pettine’s new scheme, but he certainly has the benefit of the doubt.

Four Capers-era assistants remain on the defensive staff. Winston Moss remains associate head coach/linebackers, as he’s been since 2007. Joe Whitt Jr. was promoted from cornerbacks coach to the newly created position of ‘pass game coordinator’, while Jerry Montgomery moved up from ‘defensive front assistant’ to full D-line coach, and former linebackers coach Scott McCurley was fired and then rehired as a ‘defensive assistant’. Jason Simmons also moved over from his job as assistant special teams coach to become the new assistant linebackers coach (such glamour!). Weirdly enough, the only new names on the defensive staff – despite the previous defensive coordinator getting canned – are defensive quality control coach Ryan Downard and inside linebackers/run game coordinator Jason Simmons. Maurice Drayton is the new special teams assistant.

Meet the New Offense, Same as the Old Offense

Offense is slightly simpler. The big (ish) news was the firing of OC Edgar Bennett and the departure of QBs coach Alex Van Pelt. Head coach Mike McCarthy so completely dominates the offense that the position of OC really is more like just another assistant, at least in the public perception. However, it’s worth noting that since Bennett became offensive coordinator in 2015, the offense suffered from a year and a half of dysfunctional play, reverted to normal through the last half of 2016 and the first few games of 2017, and then crashed again after Aaron Rodgers went down with a basically season-ending broken collarbone. There were plenty of mitigating circumstances, but he definitely had a hand in that period.

Replacing Bennett is Joe Philbin, Green Bay’s offensive coordinator from 2007-2011, back after a terrible three-year head-coaching stint with Miami (he went 24-28 with one major bullying scandal) and a couple of years with the Indianapolis Colts. Philbin was present for one of Brett Favre’s greatest seasons as a Packer (2007), as well as Aaron Rodgers’s transition from a raw backup in 2007 to an MVP in 2011. Again, it’s hard to isolate the influence of any one offensive coach due to McCarthy’s extensive involvement on offense, but one can hope that he will help return Green Bay’s offense to its accustomed glory. Philbin is an experienced offensive line coach, but not exactly a charismatic guy.

Returning on offense are tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, offensive line coach James Campen (with the additional title of ‘run game coordinator’), and running backs coach Ben Sirmans. David Raih, formerly the OL assistant, will now coach WRs. Jeff Blasko is the new assistant line coach. Jim Hostler, an extremely well-traveled assistant (Chiefs, Saints, Jets, Niners, Ravens, Bills, Colts and two college teams), joins the staff as ‘passing game coordinator’. For the job of coaching two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers (and his understudies), the Packers plucked Frank Cignetti Jr., who has been a QB coach with Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the Saints, North Carolina, the Niners, Cal, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, the Rams, and the Giants. However, the only time he’s been an offensive coordinator at the pro level (Rams), he was fired after 12 games when the team was 32nd in passing yards per game. To be fair, that team was switching between Case Keenum and pre-God Mode Nick Foles.

Overall, I’m surprised at how little new blood there is on this coaching staff. Six new faces – Pettine, Hostler, Cignetti, Graham, Blasko, and Downard – balance out the one returnee (Philbin), four pro/demotions (Whitt, Montgomery, Simmons and McCurley) and eleven holdovers, led by McCarthy.

Front Office: Thompson’s Out (Sort Of), Gutekunst’s In 2017 Front Office Staff Title (abbr) 2018 Front Office Staff Title (abbr) Mark Murphy President/CEO Mark Murphy President/CEO Ted Thompson Senior VP/GM Brian Gutekunst General Manager Russ Ball VP of Football Admin/Player Finance Russ Ball Executive VP/Director of Football Operations Eliot Wolf Director of Football Operations (see Russ) N/A N/A Ted Thompson Senior Advisor to Football Operations Brian Gutekunst Director of Player Personnel Jon Wojciechowski & Jon-Eric Sullivan Co-Directors of Player Personnel Jon-Eric Sullivan Director of College Scouting Matt Malaspina Director of College Scouting Tim Terry Assistant Director of Pro Personnel N/A N/A Alonzo Highsmith Senior Personnel Executive N/A N/A N/A N/A Sam Seale National Scout

From 2005 through 2014, Thompson was one of the league’s best general managers. He eschewed free agency to a frustrating degree; he signed Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett in 2006, picked up Julius Peppers and Letroy Guion in 2014, and that was about it for consequential veteran players. His drafting, however, was exceptional. In the first five years alone, he brought in Aaron Rodgers, Nick Collins, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, Josh Sitton, Clay Matthews and T.J. Lang, as well as plenty of lesser lights. He kept the cupboard perpetually stocked with wide receivers, assembled what became a stout offensive line almost purely through mid-round draft picks, and kept finding capable cornerbacks on the UDFA scrap heap.

In the last few years, though, Thompson’s drafting got markedly worse. The 2015 draft was a total disaster; only one player, fourth-round ILB Jake Ryan, has even kind of stuck. 2016 yielded mixed results; NT Kenny Clark is a star and ILB Blake Martinez is a rising player, but the Packers also traded up to get OT Jason Spriggs in the second round, and he’s been a complete bust so far. And while RBs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams already look like players from the 2017 class, basically everyone else is in wait-and-see mode. This past year, Thompson also tried his hand at veteran free agency for the first time since 2014, but most of his signings failed.

On top of all that, Thompson was getting old. He turned 65 this year, and although he’s always been taciturn and colorless to the point of self-parody, it was kind of unsettling to see him blankly staring in the press box this year like nobody was home. It was apparently a mutual decision between Thompson and Murphy for Thompson to step down as GM and return to an advisory/scouting role, and it’s probably not a terrible thing to have your Super Bowl-winning GM as an advisor for new GM Brian Gutekunst.

Gutekunst was pretty aggressive in his first draft with the Packers, trading down in the first round to snag a first-round pick next year, promptly trading up again to get CB Jaire Alexander, and then trading up again in the third round for LB/S Oren Burks. He signed several free agents, no break-the-bank types but some guys expected to be starters, and he’s been more forthcoming in public than the Madame Tussaud version of Thompson the Packers trotted out the last few years. I think the Packers had gotten stale and overly conservative during Thompson’s tenure, and in much the same way as Pettine over Capers, it’s great to see a younger, more energetic guy in charge (Gutekunst is just 44).

At the same time, half of the Packers’ personnel department now lives in Cleveland. Top personnel man Elliot Wolf was in contention for the GM job before it went to Gutekunst, but left to join ex-Packer John Dorsey with the Browns afterwards. Alonzo Highsmith, another senior executive, also moved to Cleveland this offseason. In a long and provocative column, longtime Packers writer Bob McGinn wrote that the Packers could’ve hired Dorsey, a former GM with the Chiefs, and probably kept Wolf and Highsmith in the building as well. Instead, they elevated John Wojciechchchowski as co-director of player personnel, hired Matt Malaspina from the Niners as a college scout, and promoted Sam Seale to national scout. We have no idea how much, or indeed whether, the Packers will miss Wolf and Highsmith; training camp hasn’t even started yet, and we have no way to judge their replacements’ work yet. Still, I wish our first-year GM had been able to keep those guys in the building.

What Does it All Mean?

In a lot of ways, this offseason has felt weirdly self-contradictory for the Packers. It’s almost like they’re trying to simultaneously shake things up and keep them the same. On the one hand, they fired the OC and DC, the GM of 13 years stepped aside, and a lot of the front office left for Cleveland. On the other hand, Pettine runs a scheme that’s superficially similar to Capers, Philbin is back in his old job, there are way more holdover/promoted coaches (16 plus Philbin) than new faces (6), the new GM is an internal hire, the old GM is still around as an advisor, and the head coach is still Michael John McCarthy. Certainly this offseason has held the most changes in the front office and coaching staff since 2008, and maybe even since 2005-06, when former GM/HC Mike Sherman was stripped of his GM powers for Thompson and then fired as head coach a year later. And there are new things afoot: a revamped management structure that places McCarthy and Gutekunst on equal footing, both reporting to team president Mike Murphy, and some relatively splashy free-agent signings and trades, which Thompson almost never dabbled in over the past few years. But how different can things really be when the head coach is going into his 13th year and the old GM is still hanging around? The general tone in Green Bay seems to be “We understand last year was crappy and we shouldn’t have allowed it to happen, but it’s not like we were 1-15; we were 7-9 playing without our all-world quarterback, and nobody does well under those circumstances except Bill Belichick. We’ve done some housekeeping, which was probably overdue, but the basic structure of what we do is still solid and we expect to show you next year when Rodgers is back”.

Free Agency Players Acquired Notable Re-Signings Position Years Total / Guaranteed $ Davante Adams WR 4 $58M / $30M Corey Linsley C 3 $25.5M / $15.3M Davon House CB 1 $1.005M / $90K Geronimo Allison WR 1 $630K (RFA) Justin McCray G/T 1 $555K (ERFA) Lucas Patrick G 1 $555K (ERFA) Adam Pankey G 1 $555K (ERFA)

The two most important players on Green Bay’s free-agent list were re-signed before the end of last year. Davante Adams, a second-round WR from 2014, has yet to post a 1,000-yard season (he was three yards short in '16) but caught 22 touchdowns from 2016-17. Last year, he closed out two games by himself, catching an instant-legend pass from Rodgers in the waning seconds of the Cowboys game and racing 20 yards on a WR screen to keep the Browns winless in Week 14 (after catching the game-tying TD in regulation, too). He also made a jaw-dropping play to snuff out the Bears in Week 8, catching a 42-yard sideline bomb from Brett Hundley with one hand and putting Green Bay in position to ice the game. He was as clutch as a wideout could be in 2017.

Adams was going to get paid no matter what, but since Green Bay’s WR cupboard is extremely iffy after Adams and Cobb, the Packers basically had to keep Adams or else. Although Adams doesn’t have elite size or speed, he’s developed into a tremendous weapon, using his quick feet and hands to avoid jams at the line and shed cornerbacks downfield. He’s dropping a lot fewer passes than he used to, too. The only real knock on him moving forward is the two concussions he suffered in 2017.

Moving on: if it seems like the same undersized white guy wearing No. 63 has been the Packers’ starting center since 2006, there’s a reason for that. Scott Wells (6’2”, 302 lbs) held the job from 2004-2011, and Jeff Saturday (6’2”, 295 lbs) was the starter for most of 2012. While a #62, Evan Dietrich-Smith (6’2”, 308 pounds), manned the post in 2013, the Packers righted the ship in 2014 when they drafted Linsley, yet another smallish (6’3”, 301 lbs) white center who chose #63. I guess Ted Thompson really has a type.

After missing ten games in 2015-16, Linsley came back to play every snap in 2017, no mean feat when every other player on the line missed time or played out of position last year. Linsley is a little undersized but extremely strong, diagnoses blitzes well, and constantly looks for work; if he keeps up this level of play, there’s no reason to think he won’t earn a third extension at the age of twenty-nine. House I'll talk about a bit later.

McCray, Patrick and “Hanky” Pankey all figure to contend for the open spot at right guard. Of the three, McCray seems like the best candidate; a former undrafted free agent guard, he started five games at RT, two at LG and one at RG, although he only played one snap at RG before moving because someone else was injured. He even logged 32 snaps at left tackle. Although he’s far from a great player, McCray is smart, competitive and willing, and should get every chance to win the right guard position. Patrick also started two games last year, and as Bob McGinn wrote in his end-of-the-year grades, “Patrick basically tries to kill people”.

Allison, meanwhile, is the latest in a long line of tall UDFA possession receivers to flourish during the McCarthy era. Before the 6’2” Jarrett Boykin, who started eight games in 2013 (49-681-3, 13.9 YPC), there was the 6’4” Ruvell Martin, a dependable No. 4 receiver from 2006-2008. The 6’3” Allison came out of nowhere in the last two games of 2016 to catch eight passes for 157 yards and a touchdown, displaying an ability to get deep and use his length to high-point the ball along the sideline. His shining moment of 2017 was when he caught six passes for 122 yards against the Bengals in Week 3, including a 72-yard catch-and-run in overtime that set up the winning field goal. However, working mostly with Brett Hundley in 2017 as the No. 4 receiver, Allison was invisible for the rest of the season. With Nelson’s departure and no obvious heir apparent among the trio of rookies, the Packers will have Allison battle with fellow holdover Trevor Davis to start opposite Davante Adams.

Player Traded Position Player Received Position Team Damarious Randall CB DeShone Kizer QB Cleveland

The Packers and Browns basically swapped disappointing prospects here. A safety in college, Randall is a pure ball-hawk. The play of his Green Bay career was a ridiculous pick of Russell Wilson where he looked back, saw the throw, and ranged over from his deep third of the field to steal the ball and save a sure touchdown. But Randall also got beat in coverage far too often, couldn’t be bothered to do basic things like lining up the right way before the snap, was injured rather often, and was something of a drama queen, arguing with a coach and getting benched at halftime of Week 4 last year. The Browns hope to reclaim him for the bargain price of a second-year QB who led the league in interceptions as a rookie (22). What the Packers will get out of the slap-fight between Kizer and and the unflappable Hundley, who had his moments (see the bomb to Adams above) but also threw 12 picks of his own, remains to be seen.

New Free Agents Position Old Team Years Total / Guaranteed $ Jimmy Graham TE Seahawks 3 $30M / $11M Marcedes Lewis TE Jaguars 1 $2.1M / $500K Muhammad Wilkerson DE Jets 1 $5M / $1.5M Tramon Williams CB Cardinals 2 $10M / $4.75M Byron Bell OT Cowboys 1 $1.6M / $500K Joey Mbu DE/NT Colts 1 $630K / $0 Graham and Lewis

Jimmy Graham on the Packers is a fantasy come true. It’s basically between him and Darren Sproles for what would’ve been my dream free-agent signings over the past few years. Although Graham is 31, has presumably slowed down somewhat, and doesn’t block any better now than he did when he was young, he still scored ten touchdowns last year and remains a towering presence in the red zone. I was super excited about Martellus Bennett this time last year, so I’m not holding my breath for Graham to recapture his game-breaking New Orleans glory, but if nothing else he gives the Packers a terrific red-zone threat that should ease the pain of Jordy Nelson’s departure.

Lewis, meanwhile, is an old favorite of mine purely because I had him on my fantasy team that one year where he scored ten touchdowns out of nowhere. If you could graft Lewis’s blocking onto Graham’s speed and playmaking ability, you’d have Rob Gronkowski, except not perpetually broken. As it stands, Lewis is the first TE we’ve signed as basically a designated blocker since Matthew Mulligan had a cup of coffee with the Packers in 2013. I’ll be honest – I don’t know much about him and am going primarily off media reports, but watching all these clips of him blocking got me really hyped up, and apparently he’s no slouch as a receiver either. I’m excited to see what he and Graham can do together in 2018.

Wilkerson

Muhammad Wilkerson is the kind of free agent that Ted Thompson rarely signed, at least until the last few years of his GM career. I’ve long been a fan of signing veteran free agents to serve as depth or injury replacements, because often – especially on defense – the Packers have been burned in recent years when they’ve had to press undrafted free agents into service. Wilkerson is a different species of free agent: the extremely talented player who was a bona fide star before injuries and drama derailed his career. He had 28.5 sacks over the 2013-2015 period, making one Pro Bowl, and signed a giant contract before the 2016 season. But a broken leg in the last game of 2016 and a bunch of drama in 2017 precipitated his fall from grace, and two years after guaranteeing him $53 million (!!), the Jets cut him in February. Still just 28, Wilkerson will once again play under Pettine, his old defensive coordinator from New York. If Pettine can get him to play back to his former level, the Packers will have a dominant three-man defensive line. If not, well, he’s on a one-year contract for a lousy $5M, and the Packers can let him walk without further loss. The last time they gave a prove-it contract like that to a pass-rusher, it was Nick Perry in 2016, and all he did was have the best season of his career. Let’s hope Wilkerson can do the same.

Runners on the Corners

The old war-horses are back in the traces.

Tramon Williams has had one hell of a career. A nobody free agent from Louisiana, he became the one-in-a-hundred player who rose from special teams player to Pro Bowl cornerback. He was a gifted press cornerback, and his game went down the toilet when he suffered nerve damage in his shoulder on a friendly-fire hit by safety Nick Collins in 2011. The damage took two years to heal, but Williams gutted it out with shoulder braces, painkillers and plain old willpower. He left the Packers after 2014, spent two years with the Browns and a year with the Cardinals, and came home on a two-year deal to hopefully salvage one of the NFL’s crappiest secondaries. Even at 35, Williams is a ballhawk; he defensed 12 passes last year, the ninth time in 10 years he’s had 10 or better.

Davon House is in a similar spot. The one-time fourth-round pick spent four years here, two with Jacksonville on a fat free-agent contract, then came home in 2017 on a one-year deal and just re-upped for next year. He’s a big press corner without great speed who competed like a madman last year despite his body just falling apart; he had a quad injury early on, a shoulder injury late, and in between he literally broke his back (transverse process, but I’m not about to understate that shit) and still kept playing.

I’ll get into this in more detail in the section-by-section analysis, but the Packers’ cornerback position is ashes. All of our corners are young, two are raw rookies, and last year we were forced to give significant playing time to UDFAs Josh Hawkins and Lenzy Pipkins because there was nobody else. Nobody’s expecting Williams and House to be dominant, or even to be above-average, but the hope is that they can at least keep the lights on. I think mentoring is an overused term in the NFL, but our young cornerbacks could certainly benefit from having a couple of guys around who have been in Green Bay forever and who know how to play.

The Late Arrivals

I’m gonna be honest here: I don’t know Byron Bell or Joey Mbu from Adam. After looking at their respective Wikipedia pages, they’re essentially the same person football-wise: gigantic linemen (Bell is 6’5”, 340 lbs and Mbu is 6’3”, 323 lbs) who played on crap programs, entered the league as undrafted free agents, and have bounced around for several years as various teams went “Let’s see if we can squeeze any juice out of him” and then decided “Nah”. The biggest difference is that Bell’s started 74 games, mostly for the Panthers and Titans, and has been tried at right tackle, left tackle, and left guard at various times. Mbu, meanwhile, has yet to start a game and is still waiting for his shot.

The Packers have a starting right tackle, Bryan Bulaga, but he’s coming back from an ACL tear, may not be ready for the start of the season, and his body is basically made of paper-mache at this point anyway. They also don’t have a clear backup for Bulaga on the roster, which is where Bell may come in. He’s a gigantic presence, the type of tackle the Packers haven’t really started since I’ve been watching them – even Bulaga is relatively svelte at 314 pounds – so I’m interested to see if he can win the job until Bulaga’s ready. Meanwhile, Mbu should be the top candidate to back up Kenny Clark at nose tackle.

Players Lost/Cut Players Cut / Left in Free Agency Position New Team Jordy Nelson WR Raiders Morgan Burnett SS / ILB / CB Steelers Jahri Evans G Free agent Ahmad Brooks OLB Free agent Quinton Dial DE Free agent Ulrick John OT Patriots Jeff Janis WR Browns Richard Rodgers TE Eagles Joe Thomas ILB Cowboys Jacob Schum P Free agent Justin Vogel P Browns Brett Goode LS Free agent Taybor Pepper LS Free agent Noooooo Jordyyyyyyy

No Packers move this offseason – not Capers’ firing, Thompson’s semi-retirement, Gutekunst’s hiring or anything in the draft – brought out as much emotion as Jordy Nelson getting cut. It was the most obvious and necessary move of the offseason; cutting Nelson saved Green Bay around $10M against the cap, which would’ve been way too much for a 33-year-old receiver who managed just 53 receptions for 482 yards (9.1 YPC) and six TDs last year. Even accounting for Aaron Rodgers being gone for most of the year, Nelson’s 2017 was still far below his accustomed standards. The stat that tells me the most about Nelson has always been his YPC. He posted an amazing but unsustainable 18.6 YPC in 2011, his first year of major playing time. He managed still-elite YPCs of 15.2, 15.5 and 15.5 in 2012-14, dropped to 13.0 in 2016 as he returned from ACL surgery, and then had the bottom completely fall out in 2017.

Although Nelson’s deep speed was nowhere near what it had been in his prime, he famously retained his terrific chemistry with Aaron Rodgers in 2017, nowhere more than in the red zone. All of his six touchdowns in 2017 came with Rodgers at the controls, often on improvised routes or scramble plays. He’s always been an outstanding route-runner, eating up cornerbacks on comeback routes because of his knack for making every route look the same, and there were times in 2017 when he was able to shake off defenders on comebacks or use his body to get position on them. But the Packers had the NFL’s slowest WR corps in 2017 with Nelson starting 15 games, and he wasn’t going to get faster in 2018. The most he could’ve been was a big possession receiver and red-zone threat. While the Packers will have to replace that element of their offense, and it’s certainly sad to see him go – he’s a ten-year Packer and a real pillar-of-the-community type – losing Nelson for good this year isn’t anywhere near the catastrophic blow that his ACL tear was in 2015.

Other Starters

The one that hurts is Morgan Burnett. Although he’s missed ten games in the last three years due to various injuries, and probably is on the downside of his career at age 29, Burnett was the glue that held our defense together. Last year, he lined up at strong safety, free safety, linebacker, and even slot cornerback, unselfishly doing whatever crazy thing the coaches asked him to and always playing at a competitive level. He was equally comfortable banging helmets with people in the box and covering tight ends off the line. Moreover, he knows the Green Bay defense better than any other player, and served as the defensive signal-caller whenever he was on the field. Green Bay rarely handed out third contracts during the Thompson era, and it makes good business sense not to pay a player whose body is probably going to break down within a year or two, but the Packers are going to miss Burnett’s presence on and off the field.

Evans was a great guard in his prime but was only a stopgap for Green Bay. After idiotically cutting Josh Sitton in 2016 and letting T.J. Lang walk in free agency last year, the Packers found themselves thin at guard and ended up signing Evans right before the 2017 draft. Although Evans can’t move like he used to and made his share of mental errors, he was a serviceable guard who was able to use his sheer mass to get in the way of defensive linemen. It was a much better last hurrah than that of Jeff Saturday, the ex-Colts center who joined Green Bay for one bad year in 2012, but the Packers still had no reason to bring Evans back in 2018.

The Rest of the Pack

Most of Green Bay’s non-retained free agents were backups. Brooks, Dial and John were all brought on last year as veteran depth or stopgaps, as were fellow signees Ricky Jean-François and Martellus Bennett. Neither François nor Bennett made it through the year, and all three of their compatriots were released after the season. At the time, I applauded Thompson for stepping outside his own personal box and actually signing some veteran depth; most of his moves didn’t work out, but the intent was laudable. None of them figure to be missed much.

Janis, Thomas and Rodgers were also role players. Despite his immense physical gifts, ability as a gunner on special teams, and one heart-stopping playoff game, Janis never really caught on as a receiver. (Janis in that Cardinals game: seven catches, 145 yards, two TDs, 20.7 YPC. Janis in the rest of his career to date: 17 catches, 200 yards, one TD, 11.8 YPC.) Given how little he played from scrimmage, and the influx of big, speedy wide receivers we drafted this year, Janis most likely won’t be missed much in 2018.

Although he had very good hands, and like Janis etched his name in Packers lore with a 2015 miracle catch, Rodgers was slow and couldn’t block. He was so bad that the, again, tremendously free-agent-averse Ted Thompson signed three veteran free agents in two years to take his job. Rather than re-sign him, the Packers simply got two more free-agent tight ends this year, Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis. He will not be missed.

Thomas was a spot starter and role player for the Packers from 2015-17, usually serving as the sole LB in the dime defense due to his ranginess in coverage and small size (just 227 pounds). I studied him in detail when I was reviewing the 2016 playoff game against Dallas, and found myself really liking his field vision, ability to find his way through trash, and willingness to take on offensive linemen. However, Thomas never made it to full-time starting status, and he was mostly a backup in 2017. His departure doesn’t figure to affect the team that much.

I'm just about at the character limit, so look in the comments for the rest of this absurd post.

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[ROLEPLAY] The Doctor of Pain and Shame (Part 1)

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 22:09
Previously Darkplace Chapter 2 Episode 11

HMP Strangeways, Manchester

Over the years, HMP Strangeways, the infamous Manchester maximum-security prison, has counted among its inmates such figures as former Stone Roses singer Ian Brown, Moors murderer Ian Brady (fun fact: there was a disproportionate number of Ians at Strangeways, a fact which will soon become evident) before he was a Moors murderer, Bargain Hunt host David Dickinson, Christabel Pankhurst, the lesser-known daughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, and our very own Bruce “the Meanster” Hurley. As of two weeks ago, however, another name could be added to that esteemed list: Earl Winston. Following his anticlimactic showdown with Gordon Cole, Alberto Cintron, and Nathan Adler and subsequent arrest, Winston had been quickly tried for the murder of the late crimelord Tikhon Rusnak and a host of other crimes and sentenced to 35 years in prison without the chance of parole (In addition to his original 260+ year sentence) which was to be served at Strangeways.

Upon his arrival at the prison, Earl was first processed by the guards and given his yellow and green uniform, then sent to his cell where he was introduced to his cellmate, another famous Ian of Strangeways. This Ian was none other than former Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins, who is perhaps better known to the non-Lostprophets fan population as “that guy who raped babies and stuff.” Earl, who had never heard of Lostprophets or Watkins before (and even if he had, probably wouldn’t have passed too much judgement onto him), got on fairly well with his cellmate, aside from a minor dispute concerning pissing rights that was later smoothed over. As for the rest of the inmate population, he was smart enough to make a lasting first impression on them, something which he accomplished by getting up onto a table and demonstrating his magical abilities. This act earned Earl the immediate respect of many of the ethnically-segregated groups of inmates, including a gang of mostly Pakistani Muslims (this was because he offhandly referred to his magic as “Sufi mysticism,” perhaps a reflex from his many recent dealings with Middle Eastern folks) whose ranks he would soon be invited to join by their leader “Sultan” Faisal al-Salim, who looked exactly like Sharif Ali of Ardistan on account of being his long-lost identical twin brother, who had been separated from Ali at birth and shipped to England thanks to a particularly ingrained fear of twins, mirrors, and parallels in Ardistani folk-culture. Not everyone had taken so kindly to the Earl Winston Magical Mystery Tour, however. The prison’s token white supremacist gang, who were particularly disgusted by the display, went so far as to publicly make mean that Winston was a “no-good race traitor” and “wannabe rag-head.” At any rate, now that you’ve been brought up to speed on Earl Winston’s prison experience thus far and the general character of Strangeways, we take you now to the man himself, who was currently in the prison yard with some members of al-Salim’s gang.The perpetually jam-packed yard was a place to lift weights, socialise, and, on occasion, carry out stabbings with crude shanks. At the moment, Earl and the Arabs were doing the former, although Earl seemed to be lifting rather half-assedly.

ARAB #1: Bro man habibi, I am totally working up a sweat right now!

ARAB #2: Agreed, brother, this is like hauling several barrels of olive oil through the desert!

ARAB #3: Indeed, brother, I feel very much like the camel, burdened with such weight!

WINSTON: I couldn’t agree more, Islamic brothers. God, I’m really pushing my body to its limits right now.

He wasn’t.

ARAB #2: This is brotherhood, brothers!

ARAB #1: Yes, brother! By Allah, this is!

Suddenly, one of the Arabs, perhaps spurred on by his brother’s mention of Allah, remembered something, and soon relayed it to his brothers.

ARAB #4: Brothers, it is nearly time for our second prayer of the day!

It was, in fact, nearing the time for Zuhr, or the midday prayer in the Islamic tradition.

ARAB #1: He is right! We must make haste for the communal rug, brothers!

With that, the group of Arabs set their various weights down and quickly made their way for the prayer rug, which was somewhere inside the prison. Earl was now alone, and finding nothing better to do and surely feeling a bit tired from his strenuous workout, went to lay down on an unoccupied weight bench. This midday rest only lasted for a few minutes, however, as the long shadow of another person was soon cast over him. Winston opened his eyes to find a tall, muscle-bound figure looming over him. He immediately recognised the man, who was bald and covered like a mural in tattoos.

WINSTON: White Power Bill, I-

WHITE POWER BILL: Shut the fuck up, race-mixer, and listen to me.

Looking around, Earl saw that the arch-skinhead was surrounded by some of his fellow gang members.

WINSTON: Sure thing, old sport. I’d love nothing more.

WHITE POWER BILL: What the fuck was that? Was that fucking sarcasm, kike-boy?! Sarcasm is a Jewish tactic, god damnit!

WINSTON: Good lord, White Power Bill! How could you think I’d bring Jewry into your prison yard? I’m offended, you know.

WHITE POWER BILL: Eeerg….ugh…..that ain’t why I’m here anyway!

WINSTON: It ain’t?

WHITE POWER BILL: No, what the fuck did I just say?! I’m here because you’ve been hanging around with those goddamn Pakis.

WINSTON: Ah, quite. Salim and the boys are nice enough gents, if a tad fond of the word brother. What about them?

WHITE POWER BILL: Fucking cut it out, all of that shit! I don’t want a white man hangin’ around with sand niggers, period. You got that?

WINSTON: I think so, yes.

WHITE POWER BILL: You either do or you don’t, god damnit. Indecisiveness is a fucking Jewish tactic and I don’t want any of it here, you hear me, boy??!?

WINSTON: You do go on about the Jews, don’t you?

WHITE POWER BILL: If you were fucking redpilled on the JQ you’d go on about the Jews, too, bitch-boy!

SKINHEAD #1: Oi, that’s right, boss!

SKINHEAD #2: You’re roight on the mark, boss!

The other skinheads nodded.

WINSTON: I can’t say I feel similarly, White Power Bill.

SKINHEAD #1: Oi, boss, ‘e just fuckin’ openly disagreed with you!

WHITE POWER BILL: What the fuck? What kind of subhuman piece of shit disagrees with the basedboy philosophy espoused in White Power’s Bill’s Bill Kampf?! Boys, I need some help figuring out what this guy is!

SKINHEADS: Untermensch, untermensch!

WHITE POWER BILL: That’s right, boys! And what do we proud whites do to untermensches??

SKINHEADS: Kill ‘em!

White Power Bill let out a hearty, race-hating laugh and began to inch towards Earl.

WHITE POWER BILL: I’m gonna enjoy turnin’ you into a fucking kebab, you fucking kebab!

SKINHEAD #2: Oi, d’ya ‘ear that one mates?? The boss called him a fuckin’ kebab!

The neo-Nazis laughed, White Power Bill grinned, Earl stood firm.

WHITE POWER BILL: Now, let’s gut this son of a bitch!

Bill reached into the pocket of his jumpsuit, but, judging by his protracted fishing around in it and the look of confusion on his face, his shank seemed to be missing.

WHITE POWER BILL: God damnit, which one of you fucking nigger fucking fucking trash fucking god damn pieces of subhuman fucking kike faggots took my fucking blade?!?!

SKINHEAD #1: Not me, boss, I swear on me mum!

The other skinheads likewise shook their heads. After a brief period of silence, during which White Power Bill pondered what to do next, Earl Winston finally spoke up.

WINSTON: Check behind your ear.

WHITE POWER BILL: What the fuck did I tell you about that goddamn mouth of yours, kike??

WINSTON: Alright, it isn’t my fault if you never get your shiv back.

Despite his skepticism of the semitic ways of the decidedly non-semitic Earl, the Nazi ringleader nonetheless decided to check his ear. Much to his surprise, and that of his gang, the makeshift blade was, in fact, hiding behind it. Don’t ask us how that works.

WHITE POWER BILL: You.. you goddamn Jew, how the fuck… how did you do that?? This is too fucking weird for me! I’m outta here!

And he was, leaving Earl alone once more in the yard. About fifteen minutes of Earl sitting around absentmindedly (or at least outwardly so; in reality, there was scarce a time where his mind wasn’t at work on something) went by before a whistle was blown indicating that it was time for all inmates to leave the yard and go back to their cells. He filed into the set of large doors leading into the prison and followed a set of stairs up to his cell. Around halfway up, Earl heard what sounded like singing and, as he got closer to his cell, realised it was his cellmate doing the singing (something that should’ve been more obvious had he known about Watkin’s musical past). His presence in the cell caused Watkins, who had gone from being a an emo sadboy to a tatted up, goateed figure during his time on the inside, to mercifully stop singing and look up.

WINSTON: I had no idea you could sing, Ian, and in such generic voice to boot! That’s a talent.

WATKINS: It is.

WINSTON: Was that a cover you were just doing or an Ian Watkins original?

WATKINS: An original. I call it “Fuckathon Fridays,” cause that’s when I used to go to the kindergarten every week and fuck a whole bunch of them.

WINSTON: Gosh, I really like the sound of that one, Ian!

He didn’t.

WATKINS: Well, if you like that, just wait ‘til you hear the next one I’m planning: “Kindergarten Meltdown.”

WINSTON: I’m sure I will, old sport. Let me know when it’s done.

Watkins nodded and went back to writing his masterpiece, while Earl looked around for something to do in a room that had three walls, a set of bars, a toilet, and some beds. He wouldn’t have to think about this for very long, though, as a prison guard would soon walk up to their cell with some interesting news.

GUARD: Inmate #2035, you’ve got a visitor. Some yank, I think.

WINSTON: Excellent.

GUARD: Alright, I’m gonna lead you out of your cell now and to the visiting room. I don’t want no funny business, got it?

WINSTON: I get you, sir. I get you.

The guard muttered something under his breath before unlocking the cell door and leading a smiling Winston out onto the walkway. After passing through a number of different cell blocks and walking down several dim corridors, Earl and his handler finally arrived at the visitation room, which consisted of a series of glass booths with a chair and telephone on each side. The guard seated Earl down at one of the cubicles, where he was greeted by the sight of Nathan Adler on the other side of the glass pane. He reached for the phone, as did Adler.

WINSTON: Nathan, old chap, I was starting to wonder when you’d swing by.

ADLER: Yeah, yeah, well I’m here, ain’t I?

Earl couldn’t argue with that.

WINSTON: I suppose I can’t argue with that.

ADLER: I brought you what you asked for, anyway.

WINSTON: Splendid.

Adler produced a deck of cards from his coat pocket and slid it over to Winston through a small slit in the partition. Earl picked the deck up and quickly shuffled through them, counting under his breath.

WINSTON: That’s all 57 of them all right.

He set the cards down onto the table and folded his now empty hands across it, looking across at Adler.

ADLER: Now what I don’t get here is why y’felt the need to ask me to come here personally. Don’t ya have minions for that kinda thing, Earl?

WINSTON: Well Nathan, talented goons are in extremely short supply these days, so I’ve had to dispatch the three of them I have - Jackson, Hurley, and the other insignificant one, to Ardistan to help the Sharif prepare for my arrival.

You heard that right - Aquarius Jackson was alive. Although the titanic arctic monkey had been shot repeatedly by Alberto Cintron some weeks ago, it turned out that he was wearing a bulletproof vest during the shooting and had merely gone to sleep afterwards, instead of actually being dead. Perhaps Alberto shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions and instead verified the kill.

ADLER: Alrighty then, I see you ain’t all that interested in small talk, so I might as well tell ya that you’d better hurry up with getting Sessler.

You heard that right - Adler was referring to one Dr. Otto Sessler, the eccentric, ex-Nazi Egyptologist who had been involved with Adler and Winston on a particularly kooky adventure back in the 60s, alongside with Gordon Cole, John Wilson, the late Colonel McAdams, and a number of other zany personalities. Although he had been presumed dead thanks to a letter left by the dying John Wilson, and although he actually had been dead at the time, the strange events that took place in Jacksonville meant that his death didn’t quite take. Still, it might have been assumed that he’d died in the interim years, like most other leading Nazis. Well, he hadn’t, and was actually also being held in Strangeways for various crimes that were probably related to the Nuremberg Trials.

WINSTON: We’ll have him soon enough, Adler.

ADLER: If you say so, Earl. Well, I reckon I’ll leave ya to it, then.

Adler hung up the phone and walked away from the booth. Earl, too, got up after a few seconds of staring at the glass divider and was once again led by the guard back to his cell. It seemed that Watkins hadn’t moved an inch or a muscle since his cellmate had left, and was still scribbling song lyrics onto a pad of paper with a purple crayon. All child-like associations aside, all prisoners who wished to write or draw were given crayons due to the fact that pencils or pens might be used as a weapon.

WINSTON: Ian, old sport, you wouldn’t mind letting me borrow that crayon for a bit, would you?

Watkins looked up at Earl, who he had failed to notice come into the cell, probably because of how invested in writing such lyrics as “A is for anal penetration, B is for baby boys, C is for cumming in them” (We shudder at the thought of what “D” could be).

WATKINS: Uh, I guess I could, but what’s in it for me?

WINSTON: You see, that right there is what’s wrong with the current state of affairs - it’s all about “me, me, me.” Why can’t it ever just be, “Alright Earl, sure,” or “yeah, I’d be glad to help”? Why is it always, “what do I get out of doing this?” Well, if you must know, you could potentially get a one-way ticket out of this place.

WATKINS: Yeah right, what’s next, you’re gonna tell me you can smuggle in a nursery of babies for me to rape? I mean, if you can do that, then by all means, but the point is I don’t believe you.

WINSTON: That’s your own problem. Can I have your bloody crayon or not?

Watkins shrugged and reluctantly handed over the waxy drawing utensil over to his cellmate before settling back in the corner to read what progress he’d made on his song before a certain INCONSIDERATE PERSON took his crayon. Earl, meanwhile, had taken to scribbling on the cell wall. After around ten minutes of this, Watkins looked up from his paper to find that Winston had been hard at work on a detailed floor plan of the prison with what could only be an escape route and various notes off to the side.

WATKINS: What is all that?

WINSTON: You know what it is, Ian.

He did.

WINSTON: So, what do you say then, do you believe me now?

He did.

WATKINS: I believe alright. I believe I want to get out of this place and continue my reign of sexual terror. Which reminds me, I’ll be right back..

Watkins rose from the corner and walked up to the cell bars, motioning for the guard to escort him out. As the musician fucked off for whatever reason, Earl went back to work on his escape plan. Some minutes passed before he returned with another inmate, who was a dark-haired, moustachioed man with a most malign grin on his face. He continued to stare most malignly at Winston, hoping to elicit some kind of response from him, although this never happened. Finally, Earl was starting to wonder why this most malign man was staring at him and decided to speak up.

WINSTON: And who might your friend here be, Ian?

WATKINS: This is the man himself, Earl, this is Dr. Alfonso Gomez.

WINSTON: Who?

GOMEZ: Ever heard of the doctor of pain and shame, compadre?

He hadn’t.

WINSTON: Gosh, I can’t say I have.

WATKINS: He’s the real deal, Earl. In fact, he’s what first sparked my interest in the younger kind. I guess I owe it all to this big lug.

Watkins gave Gomez an affectionate pat on the shoulder, while Earl looked on with continued confusion.

GOMEZ: He’s right, you know. I am, in fact, “the real deal,” and frankly I’m a bit offended that you didn’t recognise me, Earl. After all, I’ve been waiting on you all this time.

WINSTON: Doctor, I don’t keep appointments I didn’t make. What do you want?

GOMEZ: Ian told me you were planning an escape and I want in. Gomie’s been cooped up in this place for far too long and it’s time to introduce a new generation of English children to the real meaning of “playing doctor.”

WINSTON: That’s correct. As much as I… well, I was going to say “as much as I relate to your plight,” but I actually don't.

GOMEZ: It’s alright. They’ll soon relate to my shite when I force them to perform a colonoscopy on me with their pubescent tongues. Ooh-ee!

Most malign stuff.

WINSTON: I’m not about to have you pair of pederasts torpedo my escape attempt.

WATKINS: Don’t worry, Earl, we can hold our own. Isn’t that right, Gomie?

GOMEZ: Oh, indeed...we’ve each had our fair share of run-ins with the authorities, as is often the case among our community.

WINSTON: OK.

A brief silence followed this comment, which wasn’t exactly conducive to further conversation, during which time Gomez scanned the cell.

GOMEZ: I must say, this is a rather impressive plan you’ve concocted.

WATKINS: Yeah, we really like it, Earl!

GOMEZ: Silence, worm.

WATKINS: Sorry, Gomie..

GOMEZ: Well, Earl, this has been a good chat. Ian and I will get out of your hair now for a bit, but we’ll back soon enough to set things in motion.

WINSTON: Don’t be too long, this train isn’t in the business of waiting at the platform for anyone.

Gomez nodded and began to slowly make his way towards the cell door, motioning for the guard to open it. He did, and the two partners in pederasty filed out of the cell.

Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool

Wikipedia says that the sport of goat racing originated in some place called Buccoo on the island of Tobago, but we can definitively tell you that this is false. For one, there is no Buccoo on the island of Tobago - the place simply doesn’t exist. Moreover, since when has Wikipedia been a reliable source? Try never. Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the internet knows that Wikipedia is a wild west of sorts, where disinformation and other tribal tactics run wild like the North American buffalo once did before whitey came over and ruined everything. So, you may now be wondering, where did the sport originate, if not among the noble savages of Tobago as Wikipedia would like to have you think? Well, it originated in England. In what would become Liverpool, to be precise. Yes, the land of the Beatles has produced more famous non-human creatures than just Ringo Starr. Take for example Arianrod, a goat that was the single most revered creature on the banks of the Mersey before William the Conqueror arrived on Britain’s shores in 1066. In the heady days before the goatrun society imposed heavy regulations on the entire goat racing industry, a goat such as Arianrod could command a price of over a hundred pelts for breeding. Goat racing, or “Goating” was it was sometimes known, eventually became so popular that it was considered as an international single of Englishism, and effected how many countries came to view the rainy north atlantic islands. For instance, the word for English in Greek, Angliká, roughly translates as “Men of the Goat”, despite its superficial similarity to the word “Angle”. All of this changed once the commonwealth rolled around, though. Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, was a noted hater of Christmas, but what’s worse than that is that he hated goats. This stemmed from an incident in Cromwell’s childhood where a randy goat tried to copulate with his horse, and it only managed to intensify over the years. Once Cromwell had secured absolute power in England, he banned celebrating Christmas, but what’s worse is that he banned goats. You heard that right. He just banned goats. Goats were suddenly illegal. Cromwell’s anti-goat death squads roamed the country, destroying any and all alt-sheep they could find, and burning the famed goat training grounds of Chester to the ground. What goats they couldn’t kill were rounded up and either forced into large enclosures - history’s first concentration camps - or sent on a forced march towards Scotland. Centuries of goat tradition and language were wiped out within a decade. Entire families lost forever. And does anyone acknowledge this genocide? Do you read about the goatacide next to the Armenian Genocide and Holocaust in the history books? Do you fuck! What do the elite have against goats, people? They even tell us about the Rwandan genocide, and that was basically just one of those kooky chimpanzee tribal wars you can watch on the Discovery channel.

Over the centuries, goat racing was supplanted by horse racing, and the world continued on, ever more ignorant of what had happened to our goatish friends. Just as an aside, have you ever wondered why jockeys are so small? They were bred to ride goats. Guess it goes to show that even when goats were marginalised, their presence was still felt, eh? We think so anyway. After a few more centuries of equine oppression, however, the pendulum would swing back in the goats’ favour, and when it swung back, it swung back hard, folks. This utter paradigm shift in the world of animal racing came sometime during the premiership of Tony Blair, when the PM was struck with a new calling: getting into the Guiness Book of World Records. After having his advisors compile a short-list of possible records he could break, Blair finally settled on writing the world’s biggest diary. No, not the longest, the biggest. It was certainly a challenge, but one that he felt he was up to. There was only problem, however: the man needed glue of some kind to bind the pages with. After having his advisors compile a short-list of possible types of livestock to get the glue from, Blair finally settled on the nation’s horses, his reasoning being that, unlike, say cows or pigs, horses couldn’t be used for their meat (unless, of course, you were Burger King), and were thus less useful. And so Blair had all the nation’s race horses slaughtered and turned into glue, and that was that. As for his diary, the project was abandoned only two years in after Blair started running out of things to write about. Bit ironic, no? We still aren’t entirely clear on what does and doesn’t count as irony, but this is probably somewhere in the ballpark at least. Anyway, with all of England’s horses now being used to bind books, the organisers of the Grand National - Britain’s premier horse-racing show and one of the largest televisual events of the year - were forced to scramble to come up with something to save their bacon. After trialing greyhound racing (Which didn’t work because it was too low-brow), cat racing (Which didn’t work as cats aren’t inclined to race), flea racing (Which didn’t work because the cameras required to see the fleas ended up burning them to death), down’s syndrome racing (Which didn’t work because it committed numerous violations of basic human decency) and toddler racing (Which didn’t work because two of the children were kidnapped by no less a pair of figures than the Moors Murderers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley), Geoff Roston, the chair of the British Horseracing Authority, stumbled upon a reference to “row upon row of waring and racing goate[sic] gallopers” in a mid-16th century copy of the Canterbury Tales. Roston soon organised the first English goat race in centuries to massive success, and the Goat Grand National has been on our screens ever since. Anyway, this isn’t Goatplace - but, we are actually in the Goatplace, so let’s figure out why.

The Goat Grand National, much like the regular Grand National before it, attracted many high-profile spectators each year, including the Overlord himself, who went out of his way not to miss a year. This year was no different, and Overlord Morrissey could currently be seen sitting in the so-called Overlord Box, which, like the Emperor’s box in the Roman Colosseum, was located close to the ground in what was sickerly the most optimal area of the stadium for watching the races. He was joined in the Overlord Box by a few assorted members of his cabinet, including Umworldly Ambighter Godfrey Bloom, who likewise never missed a goat-race if he could help it, Ambighter for Meanwealthdom and former Smiths guitarist and lyricist Johnny Marr, Health Ambighter Helen Flanagan, and Righthood Ambighter Julian Assange. Morrissey and the male members of his government present were all leaned forward in their seats, clutching stacks of pound notes in their hands (albeit in the least geldpusher-like way imaginable) and watching closely as a pack of goats trotted around the track, while Ms. Flanagan looked on with her trademark vacuous expression. Being that they were goats, we couldn’t quite say that they were running, but make no mistake, these goats were trotting with great speed.

MORRISSEY: Johnny, I make mean that Bryan Ferry is getting ready to overtake your churlish goat.

MARR: I wouldn’t count on it, Mozz, I paid good money for this one.

FLANAGAN: Wait, I’m confused, where are the horsies..?

ASSANGE: Oi, you blokes ‘ave any idea what the fuck this sheila’s on about?

They didn’t, and frankly neither did we.

MARR: It’s bloody ‘appenin’, Mozz, look at it.

Indeed, Marr’s goat appeared to be neck-and-neck with Bryan Ferry, who was thankfully a goat and not the actual former Roxy Music frontman and noted Nazi sympathiser after whom he was named. Assange and Bloom’s goats, meanwhile, lagged woefully behind.

ASSANGE: You fuckin’ cunts are going to drive me bankrupt after this one..

BLOOM: Goddamn eurocrats, they shoulda never let nigger-goats compete in this fuckin’ thing, I tell ya! This is a proud white man’s sport, for Christ’s sake! Hear that, Juncker?? The Saxon man’s had enough of your wish-wash, mish-mash, flim-flam, zip-zap, poopity-scoopity multi-culti poppycock!

Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Union commissioner who had defeated Theresa May and humbled the British nation over Brexit, and muled Donald Dump in the 2018 US-EU trade war, walked in through the door with a tray full of nuts. Juncker had been working as a confectionary salesman since his ouster over a series of damning tweets in support of the government of Aung San Suu Kyi and praising Shinzo Abe for his decisive action against Xi Jinping had been leaked by Nigel Farage, who had stolen Juncker’s phone after an address in Strasbourg. Juncker had been delivering nuts to spectators, but upon hearing Bloom’s invocation of his name, he felt that he had to act.

JUNCKER: Hey, hey, you!

BLOOM: What the fuck -

Juncker raised his metal nut tray up into the air and threw it right at the goataholic. The nuts and metal smacked right into Bloom’s face, and send him tipping over the back of his chair.

JUNCKER: Ugly man, you look like a mouse, and clearly you also have the mind of a mouse!

Juncker then realised that the rest of the Anglish cabinet were staring at him in shock.

JUNCKER: You stupid english have seen nothing! I’ll make you regret it if you say otherwise, understand? I have connections still!

Juncker walked back out the door, swearing in Luxemburger all the while. As he left, the Overlord called over one of the Anglish policemen that was supposed to be guarding the box.

MORRISSEY: Lawman, I bid you kindly nab that man!

POLICEMAN: Sickerly, m’lord!

The policeman, ignorant of any diplomatic immunity that Juncker might yet have, went off to do his master’s bidding. As he walked out the door, another man walked in - the American President. Vince McMahon had come to Angland on a state visit, after both the American and Anglish cabinets had decided that the only way for them to confront the Tribe would be to do so arm-in-arm. McMahon was clutching a bag of nuts in his large, manly hand, which he would surely eat in one go.

MCMAHON: Goddamn, you fellas sure know how to stage a...what do ya call it? A bloomin’ goat race! Think about the goddamn ratings this thing must get. You could syndicate this in America...the ye olde goat sprint, I’d call it. My goat’s going to win, though.

MARR: What goat’d that be, then?

MCMAHON: John Cena goat, goddammit! John Cena goat’s got the people behind him. He’s got the looks, and he’s got the body to win this entire entertainment event.

MORRISSEY: I gainspeak you, outlander. My Bryan Ferry is the overgoat.

MCMAHON: Goddamnit, I knew their accents were bad but I’m gonna need a goddamn translator here! Someone help me make sense of this guy.

There had actually been a translator present, however something most unfortunate had occured. The translator, a sufferer of the long thought extinct grinch gene, had been mistaken for a goat thanks to his thick green coat of hair, and forced to compete in the race. He was currently coming in a distant third behind Bryan Ferry goat and Marr’s pick, Modest Mouse goat.

MARR: We had one a bit ago, but I don’t know where he ran off to.

See above.

MCMAHON: You, I can understand you mostly. Alright, you’re gonna be the translator, pal. What’s your name?

MARR: Johnny M-

MCMAHON: OK, Johnny, I’m counting on you not to mess this up.

MORRISSEY: I’m glad that-

MCMAHON: Johnny, what the hell’s he saying now??

MARR: I think he was just getting to ready to say he’s glad you’re here, if I had to guess.

MCMAHON: Well, tell him I’m glad to be here too, pal.

MARR: The President is glad to be here, Mozz.

MORRISSEY: I make mean my wish to keep this talk short. Speak this unto him, Johnny.

MARR: President McMahon, the Overlord says he’d rather we keep this meeting brief, y’know, cut to the chase and all that.

MCMAHON: Sounds good to me, pal. I’ve never been a fan of this formality shit, anyway.

MARR: He say-

MORRISSEY: I can still understand the Monglish tung goodly, Johnny. Make mean to him that our two athel lands are bound together by a shared fiend. Name them how you wish, geldpusher, tribe, it is the same fiend at the end of the day.

MARR: He says that we’re united by a common, large nosed enemy.

MCMAHON: Oh, I know all about those guys, pal.

MORRISSEY: I find it therefore to be in our shared folkish wellbeing that we work together to fight off the inflood of the worldwide geldpusherdom and their wiles.

MARR: The Overlord thinks it’d be in our two countries’ best interests to work together to combat the tribe’s influence and their wiles, Mr. President.

MCMAHON: I guess we’re on the same page then, pal. What does he propose we do about these goddamn sons of bitches?

MORRISSEY: I wish to bode a gain-geldpusher gathertang between the Banded Folkdoms and Angland, then make a folkward with the onely job of taking out geldpusher leadership.

Big Roy quite agrees (=

MARR: Mozza says he wants to announce a formal anti-tribal alliance between the USA and Angland, and then create a task force with the sole purpose of taking out the Tribal leadership.

MCMAHON: It’s a ballsy move...we’ll do it. Put your goddamn wizard in charge of it, buddy, and the Tribe are going to be getting fucked up the ass in no time! Goddammit, this is action!

Morrissey rose from his seat as Bryan Ferry goat neared the finishing line, and stuck his hand out in front of Vince.

MORRISSEY: I hope the besunderly kinship grows stronger than ever, and that the Worldwide Geldpusherdom are besigged once and for all.

McMahon, perplexed, looked towards Marr.

MARR: He says hopes the special relationship becomes stronger than ever, and that the Tribe are defeated once and for all.

McMahon immediately took Morrissey’s hand, and began vigorously shaking it.

MCMAHON: Goddammit pal, why didn’t ya say so?

submitted by /u/ANazaryan to r/worldpowers
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from the loons thread: game day history

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 15:47

Boston COULD be the birthplace of organized soccer in the USA. The Oneida Football Club started playing games at Boston Common in 1862, but there is debate on whether the game they were playing was soccer (association football) or rugby football. The answer is probably a variation of both as neither sport had solidified standard rules at that time.

In the 1894 the American League of Professional Football was an attempt at a national league with the Boston Beaneaters as one of the six teams. There were many early regional leagues with Massachusetts-based teams including a Southern New England Football League from 1914 to 1920. In 1922 Holyoke Falcos and Fall River United were charter members of the first American Soccer League. And over the years, a few of the teams won the US Open Cup: Shawsheen Indians from Andover (1924), New Bedford Whalers (1932), Ponta Delgada SC from Fall River (1947) and the legendary Fall River Marksmen (1923, 1927, 1929, 1931).

Massachusetts had three teams in the NASL!

In 1967, the Boston Rovers were in the USA, and morphed into the Boston Beacons in the NASL a year later. They only lasted a year.

The second team was the Boston Minutemen, joining the NASL in 1974. They lasted three seasons and played there only game against Kicks at Sergeant Field in front of 1,600 fans in 1976. Boston won 5-2 with one of the goals coming from Ade Coker, who joined the Kicks the same year.

The third team was the New England Tea Men, joining the NASL in 1978. Former Kicks’ players David D’Errico and Trevor Franklin were part of the Tea Men roster. They lasted three seasons, then moved to Jacksonville. The Tea Men played and beat the Kicks twice. 29,131 watched the game at Met Stadium in Bloomington; 10,123 watched the game at Foxboro Stadium.

During the Thunder years, there were no Minnesota vs Massachusetts games, even though they were in the same league with the Boston Storm (1994-1995), the Cape Cod Crusaders (1994-1996), the Worcester Wildfire (1997-1998), and the Boston Bulldogs (1999-2000). All the teams were at or near the bottom of attendance with the Wildfire at a dismal 320 fans per game in 1998.

Now the Revolution are part of MLS, one of the original teams and US Open Cup winners in 2007.

They were the first team the MLS Loons ever played – a 1-1 pre-season friendly at Kino Stadium in Grande, Arizona. Kei Kamara scored for the Revs, and the very first Loon goal (this could be a trivia question) was scored by Yefgeni Starakov (who now plays with Indy Eleven).

As with the first regular season game the Kicks had with a Boston team, the Loons also lost their first regular season game to the Revs by the same score, 5-2, last year at Gillette Stadium.

Cody Cropper was a (junior) Thunder. Teal Bunbury was a (Rochester) Thunder. Brandon Bye was a (Minneapolis City) Crow. But Bobby Shuttleworth was a Rev (and Western Massachusetts Pioneer) and now he’s a Loon.

Overall, Minnesota is 0W-4L-1D against Massachusetts teams. Time to get a win. Go Loons!

It’s hard to imagine there being many stories to share with only a 5-game history, but if you got ‘em, share.

submitted by /u/nomadic-loon to r/newenglandrevolution
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game day history: minny vs massachutty

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 15:43

Boston COULD be the birthplace of organized soccer in the USA. The Oneida Football Club started playing games at Boston Common in 1862, but there is debate on whether the game they were playing was soccer (association football) or rugby football. The answer is probably a variation of both as neither sport had solidified standard rules at that time.

In the 1894 the American League of Professional Football was an attempt at a national league with the Boston Beaneaters as one of the six teams. There were many early regional leagues with Massachusetts-based teams including a Southern New England Football League from 1914 to 1920. In 1922 Holyoke Falcos and Fall River United were charter members of the first American Soccer League. And over the years, a few of the teams won the US Open Cup: Shawsheen Indians from Andover (1924), New Bedford Whalers (1932), Ponta Delgada SC from Fall River (1947) and the legendary Fall River Marksmen (1923, 1927, 1929, 1931).

Massachusetts had three teams in the NASL!

In 1967, the Boston Rovers were in the USA, and morphed into the Boston Beacons in the NASL a year later. They only lasted a year.

The second team was the Boston Minutemen, joining the NASL in 1974. They lasted three seasons and played there only game against Kicks at Sergeant Field in front of 1,600 fans in 1976. Boston won 5-2 with one of the goals coming from Ade Coker, who joined the Kicks the same year.

The third team was the New England Tea Men, joining the NASL in 1978. Former Kicks’ players David D’Errico and Trevor Franklin were part of the Tea Men roster. They lasted three seasons, then moved to Jacksonville. The Tea Men played and beat the Kicks twice. 29,131 watched the game at Met Stadium in Bloomington; 10,123 watched the game at Foxboro Stadium.

During the Thunder years, there were no Minnesota vs Massachusetts games, even though they were in the same league with the Boston Storm (1994-1995), the Cape Cod Crusaders (1994-1996), the Worcester Wildfire (1997-1998), and the Boston Bulldogs (1999-2000). All the teams were at or near the bottom of attendance with the Wildfire at a dismal 320 fans per game in 1998.

Now the Revolution are part of MLS, one of the original teams and US Open Cup winners in 2007.

They were the first team the MLS Loons ever played – a 1-1 pre-season friendly at Kino Stadium in Grande, Arizona. Kei Kamara scored for the Revs, and the very first Loon goal (this could be a trivia question) was scored by Yefgeni Starakov (who now plays with Indy Eleven).

As with the first regular season game the Kicks had with a Boston team, the Loons also lost their first regular season game to the Revs by the same score, 5-2, last year at Gillette Stadium.

Cody Cropper was a (junior) Thunder. Teal Bunbury was a (Rochester) Thunder. Brandon Bye was a (Minneapolis City) Crow. But Bobby Shuttleworth was a Rev (and Western Massachusetts Pioneer) and now he’s a Loon.

Overall, Minnesota is 0W-4L-1D against Massachusetts teams. Time to get a win. Go Loons!

It’s hard to imagine there being many stories to share with only a 5-game history, but if you got ‘em, share.

submitted by /u/nomadic-loon to r/minnesotaunited
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Offseason Review Day 13- Indianapolis Colts

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 06:04
Colts AFC South

4-12 (2-4)

Link to hub

The Colts are a team with more unknowns than probably anybody in the league right now. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a series of posts over on the Colts sub about what I think will be happening with the 53-man roster, and the more I break down, the more I realize the Colts just have so many unknown quantities. Even judging based on last year is flawed, given the literally record-breakingly bad coaching and the 32 players that were on IR during the season. Rookies, free agents, new coaches, new schemes, players coming back from injuries… On defense, only two players in the front 7 were on the team in 2016. In the entire defense, there were 6 people on the 90-man roster in 2016. The 90-man roster has 22 rookies. 2/3 of the 90 man roster was not on the team last season. This roster has seen a lot of turnover. I don’t feel confident really predicting anything this season. A lot of this is going to be talking about battles or a couple of different outcomes. This team is also not a complete team. There were just too many holes after last season to fill them all in one offseason. Ballard, the GM, has said the Colts are in year 1 of a 3 year rebuild process (last year was year 0), although Frank Reich, the HC, thinks this team can perform today. Either way, the front office isn’t going to explode if this team doesn’t perform. It’s not going to fail to meet expectations, because there really aren’t any yet. The expectations are “don’t blow games and don’t make stupid mistakes.” I can’t overstate that enough. This team has the biggest gap between floor and ceiling of any team in the NFL. If the new scheme works, everyone gels, and Luck is firing on all cylinders, this team is a playoff contender. If the new scheme doesn’t work, if the new players don’t fit in, or if Luck isn’t back to his old self pretty quickly, this team could easily be picking in the first 3 picks again in the next draft. It really is that drastic and we really have seen the potential from most of these position groups for both sides top happen. But the most realistic scenario is somewhere in the middle. I just want to make sure it is absolutely clear that this team isn't automatically bad, it's just an entirely new team that's entirely unpredictable.

Coaching changes

Pagano is out. The Fourth Reich has begun (couldn’t resist making one pun). The coaching decisions last year were… Questionable at best. The Colts literally set a new NFL record for blown 4th quarter leads with 7 out of the 9 games they had one in. That’s 7 losses that are very directly influenced by coaching and conditioning. It was… staggering, and here is an article looking more directly at the just unbelievablely boneheaded decisions the coaching staff made, such as the ridiculously high rate of run plays they ran (almost 100% if there were fewer than 3 WRs on the field). I’ve never seen anything like it before. Predictable is an understatement here. I don’t think I can make that clear enough. The coaching last year was unbelievably predictable. Everyone has made comments about their coach’s “run-run-pass-punt” playcalling. With the Colts… It was not much of an exaggeration. Check out the article, it’s a fascinating read. It doesn’t talk about the defense, but there were a fair number of games where instead of continuing with the scheming that had been working all game, they would switch off a press-man coverage in the secondary to a soft zone that allowed for those quick little dink-and-dunk plays that get first downs and easy yardage. It was just painful all around. After a very disappointing 6 years, Chuck Pagano was released in what seemed to be a pretty mutual decision. The dude beat cancer and inspired an entire city, but his coaching was lackluster. The general consensus is that Chuck Pagano is a wonderful human being that everyone would love to run into at a barbecue, but nobody wants him as the head coach. It was time. I’m going to give the firing a grade of A. It was a much needed change and the only thing anyone can really say about it is that it came too late. With Pagano went pretty much the entire coaching staff.

So, we have the new guy! Josh McDan… Nevermind, he backed out at the last second, after some of the assistants he had chosen had already been hired and moved. I'll talk about that more in the news section. So we went with Frank Reich, former Offensive Coordinator of the Super Bowl winning Philadelphia Eagles. A lot of people are questioning the “2nd pick”, but honestly, these guys are being chosen to be the head coach of a multi-million dollar franchise. Homework gets done and these guys get checked thoroughly. Anyway, Reich brings on to the staff an offensive mindset and just came off the Super Bowl. He was in Indianapolis back when Tony Dungy was coaching as Peyton’s QB coach for two years in 2009 and 2010. The Chargers made him an OC in 2014 and Philip Rivers had a “second breakout” when that happened. This guys is the one who backed up Jim Kelly and gave him advice, coached Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers, and somehow turned mediocre to average Nick Foles into a Super Bowl MVP. This guy is the one who managed to impress Peyton Manning with his football knowledge. He was able to handle Jim Kelly. Everyone who has ever talked to him knows that he has some insane football IQ. When he was playing at Buffalo as a backup, he was basically an extra offensive coordinator, complete with calling plays. This guy definitely deserves it.

He’s bringing with him a new staff. The offensive coordinator, Nick Sirianni, has been drilling the new offensive scheme into players, complete with actual exams. Reich will retain playcalling duties, though. Matt Eberflus is the new defensive coordinator, formerly the LB coach for the Cowboys. He was one of the higher-regarded coordinator recruits among the league and he’s got a reputation for developing linebackers, something the Colts are in dire need of.

Other major changes include Rusty Jones, the new strength and conditioning coach. Somehow, Reich convinced him to come out of retirement. Given the fact that the whole AFCS got slaughtered by the injury bug last season, a guy who has a reputation for keeping players healthy is much needed. But really, the entire coaching staff got an overhaul. Two members of the staff have the same title as they did last season, and only three were even with the team last year. Richard Howell got promoted to head of S&C after several years of being an assistant, Ryan Podell got his second season in the Sports Science department, and Robert Mathis was allowed back. Everyone else is new. There seems to be a fair amount of experience on this staff. Alan Williams is back in Indianapolis after being the secondary coach in 2002-2011, in an almost identical scheme. Tom Rathman has been hired to make the RBs tougher. Dave DeGuglielmo was one of the McDaniels hires and is just straight up bad for the team based on his New England history and the fact that he lasted a single season in Miami. Right now, I’m going to give it a tentative B, because I really like most of the staff changes, but there are a lot of young guys on this staff, it’s too soon to try to give it a definitive grade. Here’s the list of all the changes:

Coach Role Grade Frank Reich Head Coach B+ Nick Sirianni Offensive Coordinator B+ Matt Eberflus Defensive Coordinator A+ Bubba Vetrone Special Teams Coordinator B Tom Rathman Running Backs Coach A- Alan Williams Secondary Coach A Dave Borgonzi Linebackers Coach B Dave DeGuglielmo Offensive Line Coach D- Bobby Johnson Assistant Offensive Line Coach B Jonathan Gannon Defensive Backs/Cornerbacks Coach A- Tom Manning Tight Ends Coach B Dave Overstreet II Defensive Quality Control C Gunnard Twynner Offensive Quality Control B Kevin Patullo Wide Receivers Coach C Mike Phair Defensive Line Coach B+ Frank Ross Assistant Special Teams Coach B Marcus Brady Assistant QB Coach B Richard Howell Head of Strength and Conditioning A Rusty Jones Director of Sports Performance A+ Doug McKenney Assistant Strength and Conditioning B+ Ryan Podell Sports Science/Conditioning Coach B Robert Mathis Pass Rush Consultant A Reggie Wayne Wide Receivers Consultant A- Cato June Linebackers Assistant B+ Free Agency Lost Name Position New Team Rashaan Melvin CB Raiders Donte Moncrief WR Jaguars Jonathan Hankins DT Free Agent Frank Gore RB Dolphins Darius Butler CB/S Free Agent Kamar Aiken WR Free Agent Barkevious Mingo EDGE Seahawks Scott Tolzien QB Free Agent Jon Bostic LB Steelers Brandon Williams TE Free Agent

There are really only a couple of guys that we lost in free agency that really have an impact. The first one, and easily the biggest, is probably going to be Rashaan Melvin. He had a breakout season last year for the Colts, winding up as one of the best CBs in the league. He requested to shadow Antonio Brown in the Steelers game and… pretty much shut him down. We didn’t re-sign him because he was apparently asking too much money, then went to Oakland instead. It wasn’t just letting him go, he actively took less to go somewhere else. This is one of the losses the Colts are probably going to feel this year.

Donte Moncrief went off to division rival Jacksonville this offseason. Moncrief was looking good as a developing WR in his first couple of seasons, but never managed to have that breakout season the Colts had been waiting for. I know Jags fans are excited getting Moncrief and think that he’s a great option as WR2, but I just want to warn you guys that he’ll have days where he looks fantastic and can absolutely be that second WR that can be a huge threat, but he’ll also disappear for games at a time. Still, it was a loss the Colts are going to need to fix.

Jonathan Hankins is probably the most puzzling of the losses. He was a monster run-stuffer last season and did a great job eating up the internal OLs of a lot of different teams. He was huge for the Colts last season once he got a chance to play in his natural position as a true NT. Apparently, the reasoning was that Hankins is no longer a scheme fit for this team, and I’ll go into that more a little later on. Another loss that’s going to hurt, but unlike those other two, the Colts have a little bit of a continuity plan on the DL. An interesting little twist, though, is that Hankins is still a free agent, oddly enough. That alone is making this look less questionable, though there are a lot of free agents still available who probably shouldn’t be.

Frank Gore is immortal and still running. Unfortunately, he’s running all the way down to Miami. Honestly, it was a parting of ways that made sense. Gore is the wrong side of 30, this team really isn’t that great yet, and he has a chance to get some real good usage somewhere else. Wish the best for the guy, but really, it’s not much of a surprise. Filling the role of RB1 isn’t going to be easy, but it’s something that needs to happen.

I’m going to give Jon Bostic a shoutout for how atrocious he was in parts of last season. You’ll be seeing this stat a lot, but he and Antonio Morrison combined to allow 38/41 completions when they were in coverage. Through SIX games. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how mind-bogglingly bad that is, and yet Pagano allowed the two of them to continue starting. It ended up working out for Bostic, he hit a career high tackle number. Steelers fans, just be very cautious about the guy. He’s nothing but a liability in pass coverage, but is absolutely useful when it comes to run stopping.

Gained: Name Position Old Team Matt Slauson C/G Chargers Austin Howard OT Raiders Jack Mewhort G Colts Denico Autry DL Raiders Eric Ebron TE Lions Ryan Grant WR Redskins Adam Vinatieri K Colts Pierre Desir CB Colts Najee Goode LB Eagles Chris McCain DE Chargers

The Colts were, once again, playing a pretty small game in free agency. There were only a handful of pickups, but they’re all (hopefully) going to be fighting for starting roles or at least major playing time. The first one to take a look at is Matt Slauson, who got picked up from the Chargers most recently. Last season, he was 4th in the league for sacks allowed per snap, although fans of the team might not think the most highly of the guy. He’ll be playing as a guard for the Colts, which is more of his natural position. In OTAs, he’s already gotten himself into the RG position, which is a pretty big deal, for reasons I’ll go into later.

Austin Howard, the RT from Oakland, got picked up to shore up the right tackle position, by far the weakest position on the Colts offensive line. He may not be the best right tackle in the league, or even the division (thanks Jack Conklin), but it’s an important step up at the weakest spot on the line. He pretty much won the starting spot by default.

Jack Mewhort also got resigned for the Guard position, but he got a small, 1-year contract, probably as a product of his stellar, but injury riddled, time with the team. It’s a solid pick-up and taking a chance for a guy who has shown great quality when he’s available. Last year, he allowed the second most sacks per snap, behind Yanda. He’s been a model of consistent quality, but multiple knee injuries are little red flags about how much longer he has left.

Denico Autry is coming from an Oakland defensive line that included Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. Coming off the line as a part of the rotation, he still put up a strong campaign. He’s coming to the Colts to play a rotational role as a “tweener” DL. He’s listed on the roster as a DT/DE. He’s expected to be playing a 3rd down type of role, but the defense is switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and it’s really hard to predict exactly what’s going to be going on with it without actually seeing it in action.

Eric Ebron was the 10th overall pick for the Detroit Lions in 2014, but Lions fans disavowed him pretty quickly. He had some unfortunate drops at some very key moments with the Lions, including some huge near-scores and big plays. He’s been super excited about the move to Indianapolis though. His social media activity has made it clear that he’s happy for the change of scenery. Coming to Indianapolis and playing behind Jack Doyle means that Ebron will absolutely not be allowed to simply coast by on the talent that got him drafted in the first round. He’s going to have to work for his playing time, and apparently, in the OTAs, he’s been getting quite a lot of usage in 2 TE sets, fighting for that first spot.

Ryan Grant is coming from the Redskins after his rookie contract. He never put up superstar numbers in Washington, but he made some pretty great highlight-reel-worthy catches. The Colts are desperate for WR help right now and Grant will, at a minimum, be competing for playing time off the bench. With such a weak WR room, though, he’s fighting to be in that WR2 spot.

Adam Vinatieri continues to be the ageless wonder and is on track to break the all-time scoring record this season, probably around Week 9. It’s a 1-year deal, though, and he might hang it up when it’s over.

Chris McCain hasn’t actually been to any practices since he got into some legal trouble for an assault accusation. We’ll see what happens with him. Potentially productive help for the defensive line, if everything gets cleared up.

Najee Goode is a rotational LB from the Super Bowl winners. Goode started a handful of games, including the NFC championship, but most of his production was as part of the rotation at LB and playing special teams. He brings experience and leadership to the team, which are very much needed right now for such a young squad.

Pierre Desir is the last free agent the Colts signed. He was a huge part of the secondary last year and was able to hold it together when people got hurt solidly. At worst, he’s pretty average and needed for a team with very little to no secondary depth. He’s the kind of guy you don’t want for your starting CB1, but if he has to come in to spell some guys, that’s absolutely alright.

Draft Round Pick Name Position 1 6 Quenton Nelson G 2 36 Darius Leonard LB 2 37 Braden Smith G 2 52 Kemoko Turay DE 2 64 Tyquan Lewis DL 4 104 Nyheim Hines RB 5 159 Daurice Fountain WR 5 169 Jordan Wilkins RB 6 185 Deon Cain WR 7 221 Matthew Adams LB 7 235 Zaire Franklin LB

As far as sheer quantity of picks go, it really seems like the Colts won that part of the draft. Somehow, they wound up with a whopping 11 draft picks, including 5 in the first 2 rounds. That’s more than some teams took in their whole draft. But what did they do with those picks? Special shoutout to /u/jaiox for creating the gif breakdown of most of the Colts draft picks. That's what those links are.

In the first round, with the 6th overall pick, the Indianapolis Colts selected Quenton Nelson, a Guard from Notre Dame. Nelson is an actual generational talent. Before the draft, it was widely said that multiple scouts had seen him as one of, if not the absolute best offensive line prospects they’ve ever scouted. The man is a brick freaking wall. Expectations are sky-high for this dude. He’s expected to be an anchor for the offensive line for hopefully a decade or more. The dude should be an all-pro. We also have no indication he will be anything less than one of the best guards in the league next year. His biggest red flag is that he’s not the fastest guard in the league and… that’s about it. Not even that he’s slow, just that he’s not that fast. He’s aggressive, he’s fierce on the field, and he absolutely wants to get his guy onto the ground. Andy Benoit over at Sports Illustrated gave this pick a D+. I don’t know why. This is an A+++ pick in my book. The Colts offensive line has been sad and weak for far too long at this point. They play in the AFC South, which means they go up against JJ Watt, Jadaveon Clowney, Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Abry Jones, Malik Jackson, Michael Bennett, and many more. Plus, this year, they have the Eagles and Raiders with their strong DLs. His first four games this year include: Geno Atkins, Jonathan Allen, Da'Ron Payne, Fletcher Cox, Michael Bennett, and JJ Watt. A strong OL is absolutely necessary in this division. Nelson is now on a starting OL that includes 3 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick. That is protecting your QB. This guy allowed a grand total of 5 pressures in 411 pass blocking snaps last season in college. He's just amazing and is a day one starter, with the legitimate potential to get a Pro Bowl invite this year.

The Colts wound up with 4 2nd round picks after doing a couple of deals. Darius Leonard was the first pickup that’s going to help with the LB position, the biggest weak spot of the Colts coming into this offseason. Leonard is one of those “Iffy” picks, but really, it actually kind of makes sense. He didn’t put up the best numbers at the combine and that led a lot of pundits to think the Colts took him too high. That may be true. Leonard is a very instinctive player more than anything and is apparently exactly what the Colts were looking for in a LB. For what it’s worth, Cato June and Robert Mathis, both former Colts, absolutely loved this pick. Say what you will about picking him too early, LB was without question the biggest offseason need (more on that later) and this pick addressed it. As far as the quality of the pick itself goes, I’m going to grade this one out with a B+. Leonard should be a good player and absolutely fills a need, but with the 36th overall pick, there’s still some top-end talent left. Granted, I'm not going to complain about taking a fantastic linebacker who actually has coverage abilities. He could end up changing my mind on this.

The second of their back-to-back picks in the 2nd round was Braden Smith, another Guard. Odd, the Colts took two guards for their first two picks. Ballard said that Smith was "the last guard [he] thought was a starting-level guard." Braden Smith was the only person in the combine who could match Nelson’s 35 reps on the bench press. Playing at Auburn, he went up against some of the best defenses in college football and stood pretty steady. Remember how Nelson allowed a measly 5 pressures in 411 snaps? Well... Smith allowed a total of 6 in 445 pass blocking snaps. Right now, Slauson been playing with the 1s in OTAs, but Smith didn't sign his rookie deal until mid-June. He could push Slauson out of that starting RG spot. I’m going to give this pick an A-. Smith is definitely looking like a RG of the future, and one of the best OL players available, but there were a handful of other players that could help in bigger ways still on the big board. Still, RG was going to be another really weak spot on the OL and the need has been filled, and filled for next year when Slauson or Mewhort is gone. I'm definitely very excited that the two OL taken by the Colts in this draft allowed a total of 11 pressures in 856 passing snaps combined.

Kemoko Turay was drafted not because of the actual numbers he put up in college, but because of his efficiency at doing so. This was something I only learned after the draft, but Turay was able to put hit and pressure numbers up that are quite comparable to Landry, Chubb, and Davenport, in half the snaps. This was an under-the-radar pick at the time, and I think it got pretty underrated. I’m going to give it a B+, but if the scheme works out, this will be an A pick. Turay does his best work when he gets a chance to come off and on the field and he has the chance to be a nightmare in the future. This is a second round pick that will absolutely be playing a role from day 1, which is about what you’d expect from them. Day 1 starter is a hope, but day 1 contributor is still just as important. He has some of the highest potential of anyone on this team.

Tyquan Lewis is the first really questionable pick of the draft. So far to this point, the picks may have been a little questionable as far as the particular positions go, but the players are pretty reliably good to great quality. Lewis is the first head-scratcher. He had some disruptive plays with Ohio State and in his last 3 years he had at least 7 sacks per year. He’s a little bit big to play a pure edge role, but he’s listed on the roster as DT/DE like Autry. He has the size to play the 3-tech and will hopefully do alright getting to the QB on 3rd and long. I want to be very clear when I say he’s not a bad player. The questionable part is not picking him, it’s trading back up into the 2nd round to pick him. The pick in a vacuum gets a B- from me. He’s just not terribly impressive, but he should be able to play a role. The problem is just the value. But factoring in the trade, this particular pick drops to a C from me. It just doesn’t seem worth giving up the capital to move up 3 spots, especially considering he would probably have been there for the original pick. It’s just an odd choice. Lewis's weak spot is going to be his ability to keep going snap-to-snap. It was a big weakness in college, but hopefully being part of a constantly-rotating front will help.

Nyheim Hines has been by far the flashiest of the rookies for the Colts so far this offseason. After blowing up with the fastest 40 time in the combine, Hines has been lining up in pretty much every single skill position on the offense during OTAs. He’s lined up out wide, in the slot, in the backfield… He’s really doing it all. It’s been earning him a lot of comparisons to Darren Sproles. Dude has speed out the wazoo. He’s fighting his way up the depth chart and is, at a minimum, a true scat back for the team. At the time, I probably would have given this a B or B-, but now that we’ve heard a little bit about what’s been going on in camp, I’m going to give this a B+/A-. It’s right on the borderline of the two because there were bigger needs still on the board, but RB was definitely a need and Hines is certainly filling the role well so far.

Daurice Fountain has been pretty quiet around training camp. His name hasn’t really come up a whole lot the way Cain and Hines have been, but that’s also not a bad thing. It means he hasn’t been flashing, but he also hasn’t been disappointing, which is about perfect for someone picked up in the 5th round. Unfortunately, the Colts need help at WR now, but fortunately for Fountain, there’s really nothing standing between him and a roster spot right now. I’m going to give this a B rating with the future picks in mind, but a B- in a vacuum. WR was a huge need and Fountain should make the roster, but for the first one we took in the draft hasn’t really been making much of an impression. Physically, though, Fountain is exactly what the Colts don't have in the WR room, a tall, powerful, athletic WR who can get those contested balls. He wasn't invited to the combine, but his pro day vertical was a full inch higher than anyone at the combine. This dude is another one with potential.

Jordan Wilkins is a very patient running back. In his time at Ole Miss, he had a huge number of highlights that showed off his patience and ability to slip through the tiniest hole and break free. If Hines is Darren Sproles 2.0, then Wilkins is Arian Foster 2.0. Wilkins hasn’t been quite as flashy as Hines so far, but he has potential. This one gets a B. Between Hines, Mack, and Turbin, there was a decent committee going, but Wilkins adds a 4th body to the rotation. That said, there were still huge defensive needs that hadn’t been addressed yet. I’m not complaining about the pick, but I might have preferred a few other choices. That said, watching Wilkins' tape is something much more exciting than just looking at his stats (although a 6.5 ypc is pretty exciting). He's always good for a handful of highlights.

Deon Cain has been the most impressive rookie in training camp so far. He’s been making some huge toe-tapping catches and other flashy plays without the pads on, which has him shooting up the (admittedly very weak) WR depth chart. He’s been impressing everyone with his flashiness and should be fighting for a starting spot. At the time, I would have given this a C-, because there was already a WR picked up, plus three other good ones on the roster, and still had only put in a few picks on our biggest needs on defense. However, now that OTAs have happened and he’s blowing everything out of the water, this one gets an A+ from me. From what we’ve seen, Cain is a playmaking WR picked up in the 6th round. Remind you of anyone else? I’m not honestly expecting him to play up to Antonio Brown’s standards, but when you’re this late in the draft, you’re worried about a guy making the roster for his entire rookie contract. He’s shaping up to be a potential day 1 starter. That’s so much better than what you’d expect. To be fair, though, he was projected as a 2nd round talent with some red flags, so the Colts FO didn't want to take him within the first 5 rounds. It worked out.

Matthew Adams was the Colts 7th round pick. He’s not really much of a standout in any respect, but the Colts were desperate for LB help (again, getting to that later), and Adams showed himself a sure tackler in his time at Houston. He’ll probably be a special teams player for most of this season if he makes the roster. I’ll give the pick a C because Adams really hasn’t done a whole lot to set himself apart from anyone so far, but it was also the 7th round and this was a position of serious need.

Zaire Franklin is a crazy athletic high-upside pickup for the Colts. Remember how Hines had the fastest 40 at the combine? Franklin, who wasn’t invited to the combine, chased Hines down in a game. He was also the first three-year captain at Syracuse for over a century, which means he has leadership skills and work ethic that are up there with the best of them. He racked up 266 combined tackles in 3 seasons, 156 of which were solo. He’s another raw, athletic, high-upside guy the Colts took and will probably make the roster on his leadership alone. Franklin gets a B from me because of the high-upside promise of a late 7th round pick, but factoring in the trade of Anderson, I kinda want to downgrade this to a C+. Doesn’t really seem worth what was given up, but I could be proven wrong.

On the whole, I’ll give this draft class a grand score of a B+. Ballard definitely showed his particular care when it came to drafting players here. Some of them were drafted higher than expected and he spent a lot of capital trying to get more picks earlier in the draft. 10/11 players I fully expect to contribute in some way this season, and the 11th could contribute. The Colts were one of the winners of the first round, though the second round was a little bit more of a head-scratcher. All in all, though, a lot of super athletic high-upside guys who figure to play big roles in the years to come with this team. The potential in this group is absolutely unreal.

I'm also going to give a special mention to Skai Moore, the UDFA LB from South Carolina. He had been projected as a 5th or 6th round pick, but fell. In his last two seasons, he allowed 0 touchdowns and made 7 interceptions. He's been impressing in camp so far with his coverage ability as a LB, but had an injury history and is a little small, which is probably why he fell out of the draft. But he's another one with insane potential.

News Coaching hunt

This was a pretty small story in the grand scheme of things and fell out of the news cycle pretty quickly, but it was still pretty noteworthy. Short version: Colts had Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels all set up to be hired as the new head coach. They had already hired a couple of coaches McDaniels had picked as assistants, including defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. The Colts announced McDaniels as the new hire and were waiting with the contract that hadn’t been signed yet. The night before he was supposed to sign, McDaniels met with Kraft and Belichick and had a conversation. Nobody knows what was said, but McDaniels backed out of the contract. There's speculation that McDaniels was offered the position as Belichik's successor in New England. It could have been too many questions about Luck's shoulder. We really don't know what happened. It wasn't illegal, but pretty scummy, especially with some of his assistants already being hired and moved. The Colts recovered and instead hired Frank Reich, while keeping the assistants they had already hired.

Luck

I did a pretty big writeup of this earlier in the offseason and posted it on r/nfl trying to clear the air on what had been going on. The Luck saga is really a non-story that the talking heads keep bringing up because they don’t know anything else about the Colts. Summary version: Luck got hurt in 2015, played hurt in 2016, had surgery in January 2017 and was scheduled to be back sometime in July-September. He was practicing again in October, complete with throwing, had a setback, went abroad for another treatment and restarted a rehab timeline, which had him back by training camp. He returned during OTAs (a little ahead of schedule, actually) and threw a regulation football on the last day of minicamp. It’s been compounded by Irsay being a loudmouthed idiot and the talking heads not having anything to talk about. At this point, there are only two questions left to be answered: Will he be playing the full game week 1? and Will he return to his full form? He is absolutely the first QB on the depth chart and he is, as of now, ready to play at least partially for week 1. Don’t let people try to turn this into more than it is. Luck has thrown a regulation football in public within the last month. He was even working with his WRs last week.

Starting Lineup

QB Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett

RB Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Robert Turbin

TE Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Erik Swoope

WR TY Hilton, Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers, Deon Cain, Steve Ishmael, Daurice Fountain

LT Anthony Castonzo, Denzelle Good

LG Quenton Nelson, Jack Mewhort

C Ryan Kelly, Joe Haeg

RG Matt Slauson, Braden Smith

RT Austin Howard, Le’Raven Clark

DT Margus Hunt, Al Woods, Grover Stewart, Denico Autry, Tyquan Lewis, Hassan Ridgeway

DE Jabaal Sheard, Tarell Basham, Kemoko Turay, Denico Autry, Tyquan Lewis

LB Anthony Walker Jr., Darius Leonard, Najee Goode, Skai Moore, Tyrell Adams, Zaire Franklin

CB Quincy Wilson, Kenny Moore II, Nate Hairston, Pierre Desir, DJ White

S Clayton Geathers, Malik Hooker, Matthias Farley, George Odum

K Adam Vinatieri

P Rigoberto Sanchez

KR Chester Rogers

PR Nyheim Hines

Players

For some odd reason, being out of play for a single season has people forgetting just how good Andrew Luck is. I’m not saying he’s on that Brady/Brees/Rodgers level, but he’s pretty dang good. The problem is that he’s been on a lot of teams that really don’t give him a whole lot of help. For example, in 2016, he was surrounded by a supporting cast that struggled to hold off opposing offenses and actually catch the ball. I want to make it clear, I’m not trying to say Luck is the best QB in the league. But he has a pretty strong argument for being the best in the AFCS, considering we haven’t seen a full season from Watson yet. Luck is Indy’s QB, and there’s no question about it.

Anthony Castonzo is the LT and anchor of the OL, as well as someone who gets forgotten just a little too easily. Castonzo may be part of the most-maligned OL group in the league, but he’s been quietly pretty good for his whole career. He’s done a pretty good job of being an iron man, never really going down for extended periods of time. By December 13 last season, he had allowed only three QB hits and only 28 total pressures. And pass blocking is his weakness. The guy is good and people write him off just for being a part of the Colts OL.

Ryan Kelly had a rookie season for the books after not allowing a single sack in 626 snaps. His sophomore season, he had a bit of a slump, especially because he played most of it injured and between two of the worst Gs in professional football. Having Nelson and Slauson next to him should make life easier for Kelly next year and we’re expecting a return to form.

I personally am of the belief that Jack Doyle is a top 10 TE, but I know others will disagree with me on that. He’s just incredibly consistent with his blocking (mostly) and has become such a solid, steady receiving threat. 80 catches is more than some TEs get for targets, and with an average of 8.6 ypc last season, he’s a consistent production option. Being borderline top 10 and forgotten is a pretty consistent theme with this Colts team…

Wouldn’t you know it, after Castonzo and Doyle, we also have TY Hilton, the 2016 receiving yards leader. Last season, if TY had 150 yards, the Colts won. If he didn’t, they lost. Part of the problem, though, was that he had the fewest targets he’s had in his career since his rookie season, when he played 15 games with 1 start. That includes his sophomore season, where he started only 10 games. He had only one game with more than 9 targets and four games with only 4 or 5 targets. But his ypc was also the highest it’s been since his rookie season, with 16.9. The guy has the potential to be unbelievably good, but he has to make his catches and get his opportunities. Not to mention, the guy had 966 yards and this was considered a “disappointing” season. A sub-1000 yard disappointing season means that a WR is pretty dang good.

Nate Hairston is a guy that gets underrated because of what his particular role is. Hairston is at his best in the slot. By at his best, I mean he hit Tyrien Matthieu’s mark of 214 coverage snaps in the slot without allowing a touchdown. He was the league’s most successful blitzing CB and managed to sack Russell Wilson twice, including once for a safety. The problem he was running into was absolutely awful coaching by Chuck Pagano, which included not using him to blitz very frequently after he sacked Wilson. Hairston is a slot CB and really isn’t very good on the outside. PFF doesn’t really differentiate a whole lot, though, so his score looks pretty bad. Point is, Hairston is really good in the slot and the starter there next year.

Malik Hooker was last year’s first round pick. In the first half of the season, he was looking like a legitimate contender for DROY after 3 interceptions and 22 tackles. And then he tore his ACL trying to clean up someone else’s missed tackle (I think it was Antonio Morrison, actually). He’s back on the field in cleats as of May, but he may still miss the beginning of the season. No matter what, though, Hooker is going to be an important part of that secondary. The Ed Reed comparisons turned out to not be very far off so far, at least from what we've seen.

Edit: More details can be found in my comment below. Mods, can we get a sticky?

submitted by /u/Ozurip to r/nfl
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"The football team from the Swamp": A look into the past of Florida coaches

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 16:25

Hey everyone!

My last two big posts about Ohio State and Michigan coaching histories generated some buzz, fun discussion, and I learned a lot. I wanted to do something similar again, and Florida ended up winning the CFB Risk game so I ended up deciding on them. So, here's a table of Florida coaches starting at Dan Mullen going back as far as I can find reliable information about how they left the employ of the University of Florida. To keep with the theme of the last two...how does Dan Mullen leave?

Name Tenure Record at UF How he left Dan Mullen 2018 0-0-0 N/A Randy Shannon 2017 1-3-0 Started the season as the full-time defensive coordinator, but was appointed to the interim head coaching position after the firing of Jim McElwain, coaching the team to one win and three losses to close out the season. He was not promoted to head coach or retained by newly hired head coach Dan Mullen. He is now the defensive coordinator for the University of Central Florida UCF. Jim McElwain 2015-2017 22-12-0 Following remarks during an October 23rd, 2017 press conference about death threats allegedly received against himself, his family, and his players, University of Florida officials began to consider firing McElwain for cause (avoiding a contract buyout) due to no additional details being brought to their attention. Following a blowout 42-7 loss to Georgia Georgia, McElwain met with Athletic Director Scott Stricklin and other school officials where they informed the coach that they had decided to move forward with firing him for cause. Following the meeting, the University and McElwain mutually decided to part ways. Supposedly, McElwain and the University of Florida administrators had not gotten along well during his tenure and the press conference that mentioned the alleged death threats was just a capstone to those building tensions. McElwain was hired by the University of Michigan Michigan as a wide receivers coach in February 2018. He won two SEC Eastern Division titles, as well as the 2015 SEC Coach of the Year award. D. J. Durkin 2014 1-0-0 Was named interim head coach for the Birmingham Bowl Birmingham Bowl after the departure of Will Muschamp. He left the program following the bowl victory to become the defensive coordinator at Michigan Michigan, and now is the head coach at Maryland Maryland. Will Muschamp 2011-2014 28-21-0 Was fired midway through the season, but finished out the season save for the Birmingham Bowl Birmingham Bowl going 6-5 (4-4 SEC) in 2014. He earned an eastern division title and ranked finish only once, finishing 11-2 (7-1 SEC) in 2012, but fell to Louisville Louisville of the Big East Big East in the Sugar Bowl Sugar Bowl. Unfortunately for Muschamp, he also coached the Gators to their first losing season since 1979, ending at 4-8 (3-5 SEC) in 2013. Following his firing, Muschamp remarked, "I was given every opportunity to get it done here and I simply didn't win enough games—that is the bottom line. I'm disappointed that I didn't get it done and it is my responsibility to get it done." He was hired as a defensive coordinator for Auburn Auburn, and is now the head coach of South Carolina South Carolina. Urban Meyer 2005-2010 65-15-0 Resigned for the second time as head coach of the Gators prior to his final game, a 37-24 win in the Outback Bowl Outback Bowl versus Penn State Penn State. After his resignation from Florida, Meyer became a college football commentator/analyist for ESPN ESPN, before accepting the position of head coach at Ohio State Ohio State starting with the 2012 season. His first resignation (following admittance to a Gainesville hospital for chest pains and dehydration) ended up only being a leave of absence during the offseason, as he returned to coach the 2010 season starting with spring practice. His health scare was later determined to be related to GERD and an arachnoid cyst caused by stress. These events are considered controversial, and bring out a lot of emotionally charged dialog, with some critics believing the health problems cited by Meyer were a "way out" in the wake of having 31 players arrested over his 6 years coaching at Florida. In 2016, Brandon Sneed of Bleacher Report wrote a long-form article titled "I'm Not The Lone Wolf" about Meyer's struggles with mental health, stress, and how he has reformed himself and the way he goes about coaching and life. Meyer accumulated several honors in his 6 years as the head coach at Florida: 3 SEC Eastern Division titles, 2 SEC Conference titles, 2 National Championships, a 5-1 record in bowls, and The Sporting News & Sports Illustrated Sports Illustrated Coach of the Decade awards. Charlie Strong 2004 0-1-0 Coached in an interim capacity for the 2004 Peach Bowl Peach Bowl after the firing of Ron Zook and prior to the hiring of Urban Meyer. The Gators were bested by Miami Miami by a score of 27-10 in that game. Strong was the only assistant under Zook to be retained by Urban Meyer. Strong left his assistant position at Florida to become the head coach of Louisville Louisville after the 2009 season. He was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2009. Ron Zook 2002-2004 23-14-0 Fired during the 2004 season following a road loss to Mississippi State Mississippi State, but continued coaching the rest of the season besides the 2004 Peach Bowl Peach Bowl. Many fans saw Zook as the "back up" choice due to the athletic department failing to woo both Mike Shanahan and Bob Stoops, and following Florida legend Steve Spurrier didn't help that sentiment. He compiled two 8-5 seasons in 2002 and 2003, and finished at 7-5 in 2004. In his three seasons he saw sporadic success, winning an SEC Eastern Division title in 2003 and dealing Georgia and LSU their only losses in 2002 and 2003, respectively. However, he didn't do enough, losing 6 home games in 3 seasons (by comparison, Spurrier had only lost 5 home games in 12 seasons). He was hired as the head coach of Illinois Illinois in 2005, but was fired in 2011, becoming an analyst for CBS CBS. He is now a special teams coach for the NFL's Green Bay Packers. Steve SpurrierHOF 1990-2001 122-27-1 Resigned in January 2002 after twelve seasons and numerous accolades in order to pursue coaching in the NFL, accepting the head coaching role at the Washington Redskins franchise. During his tenure at Florida, the "Head Ball Coach" won 7 divisional titles, 6 SEC Championships, and a National Championship while compiling a bowl record of 6-5. Additionally, Spurrier was named SEC Coach of the Year 5 times, averaged more than 10 wins per season, was ranked in the top 15 at the end of every season, and was the first Heisman Trophy Heisman Trophy winner to coach a Heisman Trophy Heisman Trophy winner. The Gators would have finished first in the SEC in 1990 (Spurrier's first season), but were ineligible for an SEC title and postseason play giving rival Tennessee Tennessee the title. He is credited with giving the Gator's home field it's nickname, "The Swamp", and was known for his trash talk, nicknaming rival Florida State Florida State "Free Shoes University". Spurrier was named to the Gators' inaugural Ring of Honor class in 2006. Gary Darnell 1989 3-4-0 Accepted the defensive coordinator job at Notre Dame Notre Dame after his stint as interim head coach following the firing of Galen Hall. The team finished tied for 4th in the SEC, and lost the 1989 Freedom Bowl Freedom Bowl to Washington Washington by a score of 34-7. Galen Hall 1984-1989 40-18-1 Forced to resign following more possible NCAA NCAA violations including paying assistants out of pocket, and paying the legal expenses related to a player's child-support payments. Hall continues to deny that these violations took place. The Gators were ruled ineligible for bowl consideration in 1990 as a result, were placed on probation for two years, and would have been stripped from broadcasting live games during the 1990 season had Hall not been forced to resign. Hall would go on to never be hired as a college head coach again, but instead became the head coach of the World League of American Football's Orlando Thunder in 1992, the Arena Football League's Charlotte Rage in 1994, NFL Europe's Rhein Fire in 1995 until 2000, and the XFL's Orlando Rage in 2001. He became an assistant on Joe Paterno's staff in 2004, and finally retired after not being retained by Bill O'Brien following the Sandusky Scandal. It should be noted, Galen Hall did not have anything to do with the Penn State Penn State scandal. Charley Pell 1979-1984 33-26-3 Fired after the third game of the 1984 season after an NCAA NCAA investigation that started in 1982 found a possible 107 violations (of which 59 were leveled) that included: spying on other teams' practices, payments/gifts to players, misuse of complimentary tickets, illegal scouting, illegal tryouts, allowing walk-ons to stay in the athletic dorm, and lack of institutional control. The NCAA NCAA leveled a number of punishments on the University of Florida, including a two year postseason and television ban, disqualification of its 1984 SEC title, and a reduction in scholarships. Despite being the root of the difficulties in the decade that followed, he is credited with pulling Florida's athletic department into the modern era, leading fund-raising for and spearheading the south endzone expansion and skyboxes as well as the construction of the Ben Hill Griffin, Jr. Athletic Training Center. After his firing, he was unable to find another coaching job and spiralled into a cycle of depression and alcohol abuse, despite finding some success in real estate and insurance. Following other life stressors, including the losses of his father and a close friend, Pell decided to commit suicide by asphyxiation in his new Buick after dropping off a farewell box (including notes to his wife, children, and friends) at a golf course his friend, Malcom Jowers, frequented. Pell was found staggering beside his car in the middle of the woods after consuming sleeping pills, vodka, and attempting to asphyxiate himself with the car's exhaust. He was rushed to the hospital, and was moved to a depression clinic where he was diagnosed with clinical depression with which he had been fighting his entire life. He found a new purpose in lfe, becoming a public speaker and a face of depression giving talks, appearing on Oprah and Dateline NBC, even going so far to give out his personal phone number as a lifeline to those struggling with depression. From 78mag: "Pell’s greatest adversary was not on the football field; it was within. By conquering himself and spreading his message to millions, there is no telling how many lives were impacted by Pell’s courage." Charley Pell passed away in 2001 after a short battle with lung cancer, he was 60 years old. Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Doug DickeyHOF 1970-1978 58-43-2 Fired after the 1978 season because of his lack of success. In his 9 seasons at the helm of the Gators, he did not finish better than a tie for 2nd in the SEC, losing all four bowl games his teams were invited to. Interestingly, prior to his Florida appointment, he coached the University of Tennessee Tennessee for six seasons, winning 2 SEC championships and instituting the famous endzone checkerboard pattern and Power T on the helmets. His most famous moment as the Gators' head coach, however, may be the "Gator Flop" where the Florida defense allowed rival Miami Miami to score in order to get the ball back with time for QB John Reaves to break Jim Plunkett's NCAA All-Time Passing record. Reaves broke the record, and Florida beat Miami Miami with a score of 45-16. Florida players celebrated after the game by jumping into the fountain tank that was previously used to hold the Miami Dolphin's live mascot. Following his career at Florida, Dickey became the athletic director at the University of Tennessee Tennessee where he saw a successful career serving until 2002. Ray GravesHOF 1960-1969 70-31-4 Stepped down to allow for Florida alumnus Doug Dickey to take the reigns, remaining as athletic director until 1979 as he was serving as both head coach and athletic director. Graves was the winningest coach at Florida until Steve Spurrier, whom Graves coached as quarterback, surpassed him. Interestingly, none of Graves' teams managed to win an SEC or National championship, but did post a 4-1 bowl record over his 10 seasons, finishing ranked by the AP AP twice and by the Coaches poll four times. He signed the university's first two black players Willie Jackson Sr. and Leonard George, but due to NCAA rules at the time not allowing freshmen to play for varisty squads he did not coach an integrated team, as it was his final coaching season. Graves also oversaw the development of the now famous "Gatorade" (originally "Gator-Aid") sports drink by allowing Dr. Robert Cade to follow the football team to conduct "dehydration analysis and rehydration experiments" in 1965. Legend has it that the drink helped the Gators to a come from behind victory over LSU LSU in a sweltering 102-degree game that year. Graves later worked for Steinbrenner Enterprises and served as an advisor to the United States Football League's Jacksonville Bulls, retiring in 1989. Graves passed away at the age of 96 in April 2015. Bob Woodruff 1950-1959 53-42-6 Was pressured to resign by university president J. Wayne Reitz. He returned to his alma mater, Tennessee Tennessee a few years later to serve as athletic director. Woodruff didn't post any titles as the head coach of the Gators, with his highest finishes being 3rd place in the SEC. He posted a 1-1 bowl record (Florida's first two bowl invitations in school history), and 4 AP AP ranked finishes and one Coaches poll ranked finish. While head coach of Florida, he also served as the athletic director. Woodruff died at the age of 85 in November 2001. Raymond Wolf 1946-1949 13-24-2 Was fired after the 1949 season after inexplicably receiving an extension after his original three year contract expired in 1948. He was offered the extension only after public demostrations of support by the football team and University of Florida students 1948. He finished his head coaching and athletic director role at Florida in 1949, never finishing better than 10th in the SEC after winning only 2 SEC games in four years. The lone bright spot of his Florida career was a 28-7 upset of rival Georgia Georgia. He was hired as an assistant coach at Tulane Tulane and eventually took over the head coaching position there for 1952 and 1953, retiring afterward. Wolf died in 1979 at the age of 75. Tom Lieb 1940-42, 1944-1945 20-26-1 His contract was not renewed after the 1945 season, after failing to reach the heights he had at Rockne's Notre Dame Notre Dame where he led the team while Rockne spent the national championship season recovering from a crippling leg infection, and at Loyola Loyola Marymount where he won a number of Pacific Coast Intercollegiate League titles. Under Leib, Florida suffered it's largest ever loss to rival Georgia Georgia in 1942, losing 75-0. The university (as well as 6 other SEC schools) did not field a team in 1943 due to a lack of players and World War II. After Florida, he served as an assistant football coach and head track & field coach at Alabama Alabama, retiring in 1951. He died of a heart attack at the age of 62 in 1962. Josh Cody 1936-1939 17-24-2 Left his position as head coach and athletic director to become an assistant coach at Temple University Temple. He would go on to become the coach of the Temple Temple basketball team as well as the school's athletic director. After a sudden resignation of their head coach, he stepped in to coach the football team for a single season in 1955. While at Florida, his best finish in the SEC was 7th, never compiling a winning record. Interestingly, he was on the opposite sideline of legendary coach Pop Warner's last game, losing 20-12 to Warner's Temple Temple team. Dennis K. Stanley 1933-1935 14-13-2 Submitted his resignation following the 1935 season, citing alumni discontent. He remained a part of the Florida football staff under Josh Cody. While at Florida, he also served as the head coach of the track & field team, as well as the men's tennis team where he still holds the record as winningest coach in program history. He recorded two winning seasons as head coach of the Gators (their last until 1952), his highest finish being 7th in the SEC. Stanley went on to serve as an assistant coach at Duke Duke. He eventually returned to Florida and was instrumental in preparing a new plan for the athletic program and developing the new college of physical education (the nation's first of its kind) where he was named dean and served until 1970. Stanley retired from teaching in 1976, leaving a lasting legacy on the field of physical and health education. In addition to his school involvement and career, he served on the Gator Bowl Gator Bowl organizing committee for a total of 28 years. Stanley passed away in 1983 at the age of 77. Charlie BachmanHOF 1928-1932 27-18-3 Left Florida to become the head coach of Michigan State College Michigan State, where he served a successful and interesting stint that saw the Spartans wear gold and black uniforms rather than their official green and white. While at Florida, he posted their most successful season record up until that point going 8-1 in his first season losing only at Robert Neyland's Tennessee Tennessee. He also coached the Gators in many milestone games including their first game at Florida Field (a loss to eventual champion Alabama Alabama), and intersectional victories over Amos Stagg's Chicago Chicago, the Oregon Webfoots Oregon, and UCLA Bruins UCLA. For you fellow software nerds out there, he is the father of software engineer and researcher Charles W. Bachman. Bachman died at the age of 93 in 1985. Harold Sebring 1925-1927 17-11-2 Graduated with his law degree in 1928 and began practicing law in Miami and Jacksonville. He was appointed to the Eighth Judicial Circuit and served there from 1933 to 1943, at which point he was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court where he served until 1955. He was appointed by President Truman (along with 3 other justices) to preside over the Nuremberg Nazi War Crime Trials, and was granted a leave of abscence from the Florida Supreme Court. He was elected chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court in 1951 and served in that capacity until 1953. After leaving the court, he served as dean of the Stetson University College of Law. He planned to retire on September 1st, 1968, but died five weeks earlier at the age of 70. James Van Fleet 1923-1924 12-3-4 Transferred to another military assignment, as he was a Major and on assignment as the commandant of the ROTC program at the university. The capstone victory of his two teams was a 1923 victory over the undefeated and Rose Bowl Rose Bowl bound Alabama Alabama by a score of 16-6. Van Fleet's military career is long and storied, having served in WWI, WWII, Post-WWII Occupation, and Korea ending his career as a 4-Star General. President Truman said of Van Fleet, "General Van Fleet is the greatest general we have ever had...I sent him to Greece and he won the war. I sent him to Korea and he won the war." He established the Korea Society, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Florida. The military sciences building at the university is named Van Fleet hall in his honor. General Van Fleet died in his sleep in 1992, at the age of 100 and is buried in Alrington National Cemetery. Personal Note: Please go read about this man, he is absolutely nothing short of amazing. William G. Kline 1920-1922 19-8-2 Left Florida in 1923 to return to the University of Nebraska Nebraska where he coached their baseball team. While serving as a law professor and head coach at Florida, he finished 14th (1920) and 6th (1921) in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association and 5th in the Southern Conference (1922). He coached the Gators' basketball team from 1920 to 1922, and the baseball team in 1921. He is the author of several athletics books about football and basketball coaching. It is unknown as to how or when he died, just that he died after 1942, if anyone has any information pertaining to this please let me know! Alfred L. Buser 1917-1919 7-8-0 Stepped down following the 1919 season that saw a loss to Florida Southern Florida Southern, which was considered unacceptable. It was Florida's first loss to an in-state team in ten years. Buser oversaw three seasons, one being the 1918 season that was shortened to a single game due to the Spanish Flu Pandemic and World War I. Their 1918 game was a 14-2 loss was to a team from US Army Camp Johnston in Jacksonville. Buser later served as the athletic director for Hamline University Hamline, as the president of the W Club at Wisconsin Wisconsin, and as a member of the board of directors for the Wisconsin Alumni Association. He died at the age of 68 in 1956. C. J. McCoy 1914-1916 9-10-0 Replaced by Alfred Buser following a winless 0-5 1916 season where they were scoreless in all but their last game, a 14-3 loss to Indiana Indiana. He went on to coach Ohio Wesleyan Univerisity Ohio Wesleyan in 1917. While at Florida, McCoy coached basketball during the 1915-16 season, and if judged purely by his .833 (5-1) winning percentage, is the winningest basketball coach at the Univeristy of Florida. Additionally, he coached Florida's first ever scholarship athlete, Rammy Ramsdell. I could not find birth or death records for McCoy, and if anyone is able to, please let me know. The most I could find is he attended school in Winchester, TN. George E. Pyle 1909-1913 26-7-3 Left the after the 1913 season to become the athletic director of West Virginia University West Viginia. Pyle's teams finished above .500 in all five seasons he coached, going an undefeated 5-0-1 in 1911, the first season where they were called the "Gators". In 1912, Pyle coached in the infamous Bacardi Bowl. The bowl was a two game series against different clubs in Cuba. Florida beat Vedado Tennis Club 28-0 in the first leg under the pre-1906 American football rule changes. The second leg is where the contorversy starts, as Florida played the Cuban Athletic Club of Havana under the post-1906 rules. Officiating was said to be blatantly in the Cuban club's favor. After two Florida touchdowns were nullified, Pyle began protesting a 15-yard penalty. In response to Pyle, the referee offered to call a 5-yard penalty instead. Pyle and the Gators left the game in protest. Pyle was arrested by Cuban authorities citing a law that prohibited games from being suspended after money had been collected/tickets sold. Following a delay in his trial, Pyle and the Florida team left Cuba. Following his stint at West Virginia West Virginia, Pyle became an insurance agent. He died in 1949 at the age of 63. Jack "Pee Wee" Forsythe 1906-1908 14-6-2 It seems to be unknown as to why Forsythe stepped away from the Florida football team. Forsythe became the first coach of the new University of Florida after the state's higher education institutions were reorganized by the state legislature. Florida State College (later Florida State University) Florida State, where he originally coached, was reorganized as a women's college. Forsythe led the newly formed university to 3 winning seasons. In addition to coaching the team and working as athletic director, Forsythe played fullback, and was paid an additional $500 on top of his $500 coaching wage. Forsythe died in 1957 at the age of 74.

Here is a list of the various sources (that are not already linked above) I used to compile this table:

Of course as always, I'm an amateur, and may have missed things. Please post any corrections or additional information you know of or can find. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it up!

Thanks for reading, and Go Buckeyes! Ohio State

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Paint filled and re-gripped some wedges for wedding party

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 07:47

Had to come up with something unique for my groomsmen (yes I know there are a ton, wasn't my idea). Decided to get some sm6 vokeys and paintfill them based on the color of their favorite sports team.

Here is the finished product:

https://imgur.com/a/qqr4PsR

The process was pretty easy I used this tool to get the grips off:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KRDDYXU/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Worked like a charm and once you get used to it, you can take off grips in under a minute. I was able to save all of the grips except for 1.

I got this set of paint:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005C2KF/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Just paint fill over the top and use the included paint thinner to wipe off the excess. It did get tricky around some of the tight areas such as where the "BV" and the wings are. Took some trial and error. Also had to opt for nail polish for some colors such as that jacksonville teal and lakers purple (mixing colors to get the desired result is not as easy as it seems). Also had to buy an additional bottle of the thinner.

Was a fun project overall, i used my personal Vokeys as test cases so they are all sorts of colors now. Also tried stamping but that's not as easy to get right so decided to pass on that.

I'll add this was all done in a small NYC apartment, no need for a garage or anything like that.

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Projecting Receptions by Position Group: Colts

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 09:55

Welcome back to the penultimate entry in this gut-checking series, entry 31 of 32. As always, if you need a refresher on the purpose of this series or if you missed any one of the previous entries, they can all be found at Pro Sports Fandom.

For our penultimate entry, we'll be taking a look at last year's 3rd place finishers in the AFC South, the Indianapolis Colts.

2017 Totals

Jacoby Brissett: 276 completions on 469 attempts

WR Group: 121 Receptions

RB Group: 59 Receptions

TE Group: 96 Receptions

2018 Projections

Andrew Luck: 365 completions on 600 attempts

WR Group: 175 Receptions

RB Group: 70 Receptions

TE Group: 120 Receptions

A lot of changes in Indianapolis this year, chief among them the looming return of Andrew Luck. For real this time. Alright, it’s still too early to say for sure, but the actions of the Colts front office sure seem to indicate confidence that he’ll be ready. You don’t skip out on QB in a QB-heavy draft if you’re worried you might need one. The big question now is whether Luck can stay healthy once he returns. Rookie guard Quenton Nelson will provide a much needed boost, but the entire offensive line has to do a better job of keeping Luck upright this time. Also of interest, new head coach Frank Reich. He’s stated that he’s aiming to bring the aggressive Eagles offense to Indy this year, a big departure from the previous scheme but something that should theoretically fit well with Luck’s play style given Luck’s proclivity with the no-huddle. Unfortunately, the Colts don’t have nearly the same talent on defense or in the running game as the Eagles did, so Luck is likely to come out firing after his prolonged absence. Assuming he is ready when the season starts and that he actually stays healthy, Luck will likely get up to around 600 attempts. Given the aggressive style of offense and Luck’s own rust, his accuracy will probably be a bit on the low side, resulting in around 365 completions.

Further mucking up the waters is the fact that Luck will have a lot of new faces to get used to in his new scheme. T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle are still around, but that’s about it. Donte Moncrief left for Jacksonville, with Ryan Grant now taking his place. Chester Rogers was there when Luck last played in 2016, but he didn’t do much then and hasn’t done much since. The immortal Frank Gore is gone, leaving behind a mess of a RBBC “headlined” by Marlon Mack. The only position that has substantially improved is the TE room, where Jack Doyle is now joined by Eric Ebron. I know, not exactly elite, but putting extra name-brand TEs on the field can only help Luck’s chances to survive this season, both in terms of blocking and providing a safety valve. In fact, the double safety valve will be especially important as Luck works his way back. I would not be surprised to see both TEs worthy of fantasy rosters this year, along with a T.Y. Hilton resurgence.

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Projecting Receptions by Position Group: Colts

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 09:54

Welcome back to the penultimate entry in this gut-checking series, entry 31 of 32. As always, if you need a refresher on the purpose of this series or if you missed any one of the previous entries, they can all be found at Pro Sports Fandom.

For our penultimate entry, we'll be taking a look at last year's 3rd place finishers in the AFC South, the Indianapolis Colts.

2017 Totals

Jacoby Brissett: 276 completions on 469 attempts

WR Group: 121 Receptions

RB Group: 59 Receptions

TE Group: 96 Receptions

2018 Projections

Andrew Luck: 365 completions on 600 attempts

WR Group: 175 Receptions

RB Group: 70 Receptions

TE Group: 120 Receptions

A lot of changes in Indianapolis this year, chief among them the looming return of Andrew Luck. For real this time. Alright, it’s still too early to say for sure, but the actions of the Colts front office sure seem to indicate confidence that he’ll be ready. You don’t skip out on QB in a QB-heavy draft if you’re worried you might need one. The big question now is whether Luck can stay healthy once he returns. Rookie guard Quenton Nelson will provide a much needed boost, but the entire offensive line has to do a better job of keeping Luck upright this time. Also of interest, new head coach Frank Reich. He’s stated that he’s aiming to bring the aggressive Eagles offense to Indy this year, a big departure from the previous scheme but something that should theoretically fit well with Luck’s play style given Luck’s proclivity with the no-huddle. Unfortunately, the Colts don’t have nearly the same talent on defense or in the running game as the Eagles did, so Luck is likely to come out firing after his prolonged absence. Assuming he is ready when the season starts and that he actually stays healthy, Luck will likely get up to around 600 attempts. Given the aggressive style of offense and Luck’s own rust, his accuracy will probably be a bit on the low side, resulting in around 365 completions.

Further mucking up the waters is the fact that Luck will have a lot of new faces to get used to in his new scheme. T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle are still around, but that’s about it. Donte Moncrief left for Jacksonville, with Ryan Grant now taking his place. Chester Rogers was there when Luck last played in 2016, but he didn’t do much then and hasn’t done much since. The immortal Frank Gore is gone, leaving behind a mess of a RBBC “headlined” by Marlon Mack. The only position that has substantially improved is the TE room, where Jack Doyle is now joined by Eric Ebron. I know, not exactly elite, but putting extra name-brand TEs on the field can only help Luck’s chances to survive this season, both in terms of blocking and providing a safety valve. In fact, the double safety valve will be especially important as Luck works his way back. I would not be surprised to see both TEs worthy of fantasy rosters this year, along with a T.Y. Hilton resurgence.

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2018 Offseason Review

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 17:43

I was tasked with writing the 2018 Colts Offseason Review, so I figured I'd throw it up here and see if you guys have anything you think I should add or take out. I already know my schedule prediction is going to be controversial. I was trying to be conservative on that and basically assume the worst.

Colts AFC South

4-12 (2-4)

The Colts are a team with more unknowns than probably anybody in the league right now. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a series of posts over on the Colts sub about what I think will be happening with the 53-man roster, and the more I break down, the more I realize the Colts just have so many unknown quantities. Even judging based on last year is flawed, given the literally record-breakingly bad coaching and the 32 players that were on IR during the season. Rookies, free agents, new coaches, new schemes, players coming back from injuries… On defense, only two players in the front 7 were on the team in 2016. The 90-man roster has 22 rookies. 2/3 of the 90 man roster was not on the team last season. This roster has seen a lot of turnover. I don’t feel confident really predicting anything this season. A lot of this is going to be talking about battles or a couple of different outcomes. This team is also not a complete team. There were just too many holes after last season to fill them all in one offseason. Ballard, the GM, has said the Colts are in year 1 of a 3 year rebuild process (last year was year 0), although Frank Reich, the HC, thinks this team can perform today. Either way, the front office isn’t going to explode if this team doesn’t perform. It’s not going to fail to meet expectations, because there really aren’t any yet. The expectations are “don’t blow games and don’t make stupid mistakes.” I can’t overstate that enough. This team has the biggest gap between floor and ceiling of any team in the NFL. If the new scheme works, everyone gels, and Luck is firing on all cylinders, this team is a playoff contender. If the new scheme doesn’t work, if the new players don’t fit in, or if Luck isn’t back to his old self pretty quickly, this team could easily be picking in the first 3 picks again in the next draft. It really is that drastic and we really have seen the potential from most of these position groups for both sides top happen. But the most realistic scenario is somewhere in the middle.

Coaching changes

Pagano is out. The Fourth Reich has begun (couldn’t resist making one pun). The coaching decisions last year were… Questionable at best. The Colts literally set a new NFL record for blown 4th quarter leads with 7 out of the 9 games they had one in. That’s 7 losses that are very directly influenced by coaching and conditioning. It was… staggering, and here is an article looking more directly at the just unbelievablely boneheaded decisions the coaching staff made, such as the ridiculously high rate of run plays they ran (almost 100% if there were fewer than 3 WRs on the field). I’ve never seen anything like it before. Predictable is an understatement here. I don’t think I can make that clear enough. The coaching last year was unbelievably predictable. Everyone has made comments about their coach’s “run-run-pass-punt” playcalling. With the Colts… It was not much of an exaggeration. Check out the article, it’s a fascinating read. It doesn’t talk about the defense, but there were a fair number of games where instead of continuing with the scheming that had been working all game, they would switch off a press-man coverage in the secondary to a soft zone that allowed for those quick little dink-and-dunk plays that get first downs and easy yardage. It was just painful all around. After a very disappointing 6 years, Chuck Pagano was released in what seemed to be a pretty mutual decision. The dude beat cancer and inspired an entire city, but his coaching was lackluster. The general consensus is that Chuck Pagano is a wonderful human being that everyone would love to run into at a barbecue, but nobody wants him as the head coach. It was time. I’m going to give the firing a grade of A. It was a much needed change and the only thing anyone can really say about it is that it came too late. With Pagano went pretty much the entire coaching staff.

So, we have the new guy! Josh McDan… Nevermind, he backed out at the last second, after some of the assistants he had chosen had already been hired and moved. I'll talk about that more in the news section. So we went with Frank Reich, former Offensive Coordinator of the Super Bowl winning Philadelphia Eagles. A lot of people are questioning the “2nd pick”, but honestly, these guys are being chosen to be the head coach of a multi-million dollar franchise. Homework gets done and these guys get checked thoroughly. Anyway, Reich brings on to the staff an offensive mindset and just came off the Super Bowl. He was in Indianapolis back when Tony Dungy was coaching as Peyton’s QB coach for two years in 2009 and 2010. The Chargers made him an OC in 2014 and Philip Rivers had a “second breakout” when that happened. He’s bringing with him a new staff. The offensive coordinator, Nick Sirianni, has been drilling the new offensive scheme into players, complete with actual exams. Reich will retain playcalling duties, though. Matt Eberflus is the new defensive coordinator, formerly the LB coach for the Cowboys. He was one of the higher-regarded coordinator recruits among the league and he’s got a reputation for developing linebackers, something the Colts are in dire need of.

Other major changes include Rusty Jones, the new strength and conditioning coach. Somehow, Reich convinced him to come out of retirement. Given the fact that the whole AFCS got slaughtered by the injury bug last season, a guy who has a reputation for keeping players healthy is much needed. But really, the entire coaching staff got an overhaul. Two members of the staff have the same title as they did last season, and only three were even with the team last year. Richard Howell got promoted to head of S&C after several years of being an assistant, Ryan Podell got his second season in the Sports Science department, and Robert Mathis was allowed back. Everyone else is new. There seems to be a fair amount of experience on this staff. Alan Williams is back in Indianapolis after being the secondary coach in 2002-2011, in an almost identical scheme. Tom Rathman has been hired to make the RBs tougher. Dave DeGuglielmo was one of the McDaniels hires and is just straight up bad for the team based on his New England history and the fact that he lasted a single season in Miami. Right now, I’m going to give it a tentative B, because I really like most of the staff changes, but there are a lot of young guys on this staff, it’s too soon to try to give it a definitive grade. Here’s the list of all the changes:

Coach Role Grade Frank Reich Head Coach B+ Nick Sirianni Offensive Coordinator B+ Matt Eberflus Defensive Coordinator A+ Bubba Vetrone Special Teams Coordinator B Tom Rathman Running Backs Coach A- Alan Williams Secondary Coach A Dave Borgonzi Linebackers Coach B Dave DeGuglielmo Offensive Line Coach D- Bobby Johnson Assistant Offensive Line Coach B Jonathan Gannon Defensive Backs/Cornerbacks Coach A- Tom Manning Tight Ends Coach B Dave Overstreet II Defensive Quality Control C Gunnard Twynner Offensive Quality Control B Kevin Patullo Wide Receivers Coach C Mike Phair Defensive Line Coach B+ Frank Ross Assistant Special Teams Coach B Marcus Brady Assistant QB Coach B Richard Howell Head of Strength and Conditioning A Rusty Jones Director of Sports Performance A+ Doug McKenney Assistant Strength and Conditioning B+ Ryan Podell Sports Science/Conditioning Coach B Robert Mathis Pass Rush Consultant A Reggie Wayne Wide Receivers Consultant A- Cato June Linebackers Assistant B+ Free Agency Lost Name Position New Team Rashaan Melvin CB Raiders Donte Moncrief WR Jaguars Jonathan Hankins DT Free Agent Frank Gore RB Dolphins Darius Butler CB/S Free Agent Kamar Aiken WR Free Agent Barkevious Mingo EDGE Seahawks Scott Tolzien QB Free Agent Jon Bostic LB Steelers Brandon Williams TE Free Agent

There are really only a couple of guys that we lost in free agency that really have an impact. The first one, and easily the biggest, is probably going to be Rashaan Melvin. He had a breakout season last year for the Colts, winding up as one of the best CBs in the league. He requested to shadow Antonio Brown in the Steelers game and… pretty much shut him down. We didn’t re-sign him because he was apparently asking too much money, then went to Oakland instead. It wasn’t just letting him go, he actively took less to go somewhere else. This is one of the losses the Colts are probably going to feel this year.

Donte Moncrief went off to division rival Jacksonville this offseason. Moncrief was looking good as a developing WR in his first couple of seasons, but never managed to have that breakout season the Colts had been waiting for. I know Jags fans are excited getting Moncrief and think that he’s a great option as WR2, but I just want to warn you guys that he’ll have days where he looks fantastic and can absolutely be that second WR that can be a huge threat, but he’ll also disappear for games at a time. Still, it was a loss the Colts are going to need to fix.

Jonathan Hankins is probably the most puzzling of the losses. He was a monster run-stuffer last season and did a great job eating up the internal OLs of a lot of different teams. He was huge for the Colts last season once he got a chance to play in his natural position as a true NT. Apparently, the reasoning was that Hankins is no longer a scheme fit for this team, and I’ll go into that more a little later on. Another loss that’s going to hurt, but unlike those other two, the Colts have a little bit of a continuity plan on the DL. An interesting little twist, though, is that Hankins is still a free agent, oddly enough. That alone is making this look less questionable, though there are a lot of free agents still available who probably shouldn’t be.

Frank Gore is immortal and still running. Unfortunately, he’s running all the way down to Miami. Honestly, it was a parting of ways that made sense. Gore is the wrong side of 30, this team really isn’t that great yet, and he has a chance to get some real good usage somewhere else. Wish the best for the guy, but really, it’s not much of a surprise. Filling the role of RB1 isn’t going to be easy, but it’s something that needs to happen.

I’m going to give Jon Bostic a shoutout for how atrocious he was in parts of last season. You’ll be seeing this stat a lot, but he and Antonio Morrison combined to allow 38/41 completions when they were in coverage. Through SIX games. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how mind-bogglingly bad that is, and yet Pagano allowed the two of them to continue starting. It ended up working out for Bostic, he hit a career high tackle number. Steelers fans, just be very cautious about the guy. He’s nothing but a liability in pass coverage, but is absolutely useful when it comes to run stopping.

Gained: Name Position Old Team Matt Slauson C/G Chargers Austin Howard OT Raiders Jack Mewhort G Colts Denico Autry DL Raiders Eric Ebron TE Lions Ryan Grant WR Redskins Adam Vinatieri K Colts Pierre Desir CB Colts Najee Goode LB Eagles Chris McCain DE Chargers

The Colts were, once again, playing a pretty small game in free agency. There were only a handful of pickups, but they’re all (hopefully) going to be fighting for starting roles or at least major playing time. The first one to take a look at is Matt Slauson, who got picked up from the Chargers most recently. Last season, he was 4th in the league for sacks allowed per snap, although fans of the team might not think the most highly of the guy. He’ll be playing as a guard for the Colts, which is more of his natural position. In OTAs, he’s already gotten himself into the RG position, which is a pretty big deal, for reasons I’ll go into later.

Austin Howard, the RT from Oakland, got picked up to shore up the right tackle position, by far the weakest position on the Colts offensive line. He may not be the best right tackle in the league, or even the division (thanks Jack Conklin), but it’s an important step up at the weakest spot on the line. He pretty much won the starting spot by default.

Jack Mewhort also got resigned for the Guard position, but he got a small, 1-year contract, probably as a product of his stellar, but injury riddled, time with the team. It’s a solid pick-up and taking a chance for a guy who has shown great quality when he’s available. Last year, he allowed the second most sacks per snap, behind Yanda. He’s been a model of consistent quality, but multiple knee injuries are little red flags about how much longer he has left.

Denico Autry is coming from an Oakland defensive line that included Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. Coming off the line as a part of the rotation, he still put up a strong campaign. He’s coming to the Colts to play a rotational role as a “tweener” DL. He’s listed on the roster as a DT/DE. He’s expected to be playing a 3rd down type of role, but the defense is switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and it’s really hard to predict exactly what’s going to be going on with it without actually seeing it in action.

Eric Ebron was the 10th overall pick for the Detroit Lions in 2014, but Lions fans disavowed him pretty quickly. He had some unfortunate drops at some very key moments with the Lions, including some huge near-scores and big plays. He’s been super excited about the move to Indianapolis though. His social media activity has made it clear that he’s happy for the change of scenery. Coming to Indianapolis and playing behind Jack Doyle means that Ebron will absolutely not be allowed to simply coast by on the talent that got him drafted in the first round. He’s going to have to work for his playing time, and apparently, in the OTAs, he’s been getting quite a lot of usage in 2 TE sets, fighting for that first spot.

Ryan Grant is coming from the Redskins after his rookie contract. He never put up superstar numbers in Washington, but he made some pretty great highlight-reel-worthy catches. The Colts are desperate for WR help right now and Grant will, at a minimum, be competing for playing time off the bench. With such a weak WR room, though, he’s fighting to be in that WR2 spot.

Adam Vinatieri continues to be the ageless wonder and is on track to break the all-time scoring record this season, probably around Week 9. It’s a 1-year deal, though, and he might hang it up when it’s over.

Chris McCain hasn’t actually been to any practices since he got into some legal trouble for an assault accusation. We’ll see what happens with him. Potentially productive help for the defensive line, if everything gets cleared up.

Najee Goode is a rotational LB from the Super Bowl winners. Goode started a handful of games, including the NFC championship, but most of his production was as part of the rotation at LB and playing special teams. He brings experience and leadership to the team, which are very much needed right now for such a young squad.

Pierre Desir is the last free agent the Colts signed. He was a huge part of the secondary last year and was able to hold it together when people got hurt solidly. At worst, he’s pretty average and needed for a team with very little to no secondary depth. He’s the kind of guy you don’t want for your starting CB1, but if he has to come in to spell some guys, that’s absolutely alright.

Draft Round Pick Name Position 1 6 Quenton Nelson G 2 36 Darius Leonard LB 2 37 Braden Smith G 2 52 Kemoko Turay DE 2 64 Tyquan Lewis DL 4 104 Nyheim Hines RB 5 159 Daurice Fountain WR 5 169 Jordan Wilkins RB 6 185 Deon Cain WR 7 221 Matthew Adams LB 7 235 Zaire Franklin LB

As far as sheer quantity of picks go, it really seems like the Colts won that part of the draft. Somehow, they wound up with a whopping 11 draft picks, including 5 in the first 2 rounds. That’s more than some teams took in their whole draft. But what did they do with those picks?

In the first round, with the 6th overall pick, the Indianapolis Colts selected Quenton Nelson, a Guard from Notre Dame. Nelson is an actual generational talent. Before the draft, it was widely said that multiple scouts had seen him as one of, if not the absolute best offensive line prospects they’ve ever scouted. The man is a brick freaking wall. Expectations are sky-high for this dude. He’s expected to be an anchor for the offensive line for hopefully a decade or more. The dude should be an all-pro. We also have no indication he will be anything less than one of the best guards in the league next year. His biggest red flag is that he’s not the fastest guard in the league and… that’s about it. Not even that he’s slow, just that he’s not that fast. He’s aggressive, he’s fierce on the field, and he absolutely wants to get his guy onto the ground. Andy Benoit over at Sports Illustrated gave this pick a D+. I don’t know why. This is an A+++ pick in my book. The Colts offensive line has been sad and weak for far too long at this point. They play in the AFC South, which means they go up against JJ Watt, Jadaveon Clowney, Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Abry Jones, Malik Jackson, Michael Bennett, and many more. Plus, this year, they have the Eagles and Raiders with their strong DLs. His first four games this year include: Geno Atkins, Jonathan Allen, Da'Ron Payne, Fletcher Cox, Michael Bennett, and JJ Watt. A strong OL is absolutely necessary in this division. Nelson is now on a starting OL that includes 3 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick. That is protecting your QB.

The Colts wound up with 4 2nd round picks after doing a couple of deals. Darius Leonard was the first pickup that’s going to help with the LB position, the biggest weak spot of the Colts coming into this offseason. Leonard is one of those “Iffy” picks, but really, it actually kind of makes sense. He didn’t put up the best numbers at the combine and that led a lot of pundits to think the Colts took him too high. That may be true. Leonard is a very instinctive player more than anything and is apparently exactly what the Colts were looking for in a LB. For what it’s worth, Cato June and Robert Mathis, both former Colts, absolutely loved this pick. Say what you will about picking him too early, LB was without question the biggest offseason need (more on that later) and this pick addressed it. As far as the quality of the pick itself goes, I’m going to grade this one out with a B+. Leonard should be a good player and absolutely fills a need, but with the 36th overall pick, there’s still some top-end talent left.

The second of their back-to-back picks in the 2nd round was Braden Smith, another Guard. Odd, the Colts took two guards for their first two picks. Braden Smith was the only person in the combine who could match Nelson’s 35 reps on the bench press. Playing at Auburn, he went up against some of the best defenses in college football and stood pretty steady. Right now, he’s been playing with the 2s in OTAs, but with the offensive line especially, pads on and pads off look very different. He could push Slauson out of that starting RG spot. I’m going to give this pick an A-. Smith is definitely looking like a RG of the future, and one of the best OL players available, but there were a handful of other players that could help in bigger ways still on the big board. Still, RG was going to be another really weak spot on the OL and the need has been filled, and filled for next year when Slauson or Mewhort is gone.

Kemoko Turay was drafted not because of the actual numbers he put up in college, but because of his efficiency at doing so. This was something I only learned after the draft, but Turay was able to put hit and pressure numbers up that are quite comparable to Landry, Chubb, and Davenport, in half the snaps. This was an under-the-radar pick at the time, and I think it got pretty underrated. I’m going to give it a B+, but if the scheme works out, this will be an A pick. Turay does his best work when he gets a chance to come off and on the field and he has the chance to be a nightmare in the future. This is a second round pick that will absolutely be playing a role from day 1, which is about what you’d expect from them. Day 1 starter is a hope, but day 1 contributor is still just as important.

Tyquan Lewis is the first really questionable pick of the draft. So far to this point, the picks may have been a little questionable as far as the particular positions go, but the players are pretty reliably good to great quality. Lewis is the first head-scratcher. He had some disruptive plays with Ohio State and in his last 3 years he had at least 7 sacks per year. He’s a little bit big to play a pure edge role, but he’s listed on the roster as DT/DE like Autry. He has the size to play the 3-tech and will hopefully do alright getting to the QB on 3rd and long. I want to be very clear when I say he’s not a bad player. The questionable part is not picking him, it’s trading back up into the 2nd round to pick him. The pick in a vacuum gets a B- from me. He’s just not terribly impressive, but he should be able to play a role. The problem is just the value. But factoring in the trade, this particular pick drops to a C from me. It just doesn’t seem worth giving up the capital to move up 3 spots, especially considering he would probably have been there for the original pick. It’s just an odd choice.

Nyheim Hines has been by far the flashiest of the rookies for the Colts so far this offseason. After blowing up with the fastest 40 time in the combine, Hines has been lining up in pretty much every single skill position on the offense during OTAs. He’s lined up out wide, in the slot, in the backfield… He’s really doing it all. It’s been earning him a lot of comparisons to Darren Sproles. Dude has speed out the wazoo. He’s fighting his way up the depth chart and is, at a minimum, a true scat back for the team. At the time, I probably would have given this a B or B-, but now that we’ve heard a little bit about what’s been going on in camp, I’m going to give this a B+/A-. It’s right on the borderline of the two because there were bigger needs still on the board, but RB was definitely a need and Hines is certainly filling the role well so far.

Daurice Fountain has been pretty quiet around training camp. His name hasn’t really come up a whole lot the way Cain and Hines have been, but that’s also not a bad thing. It means he hasn’t been flashing, but he also hasn’t been disappointing, which is about perfect for someone picked up in the 5th round. Unfortunately, the Colts need help at WR now, but fortunately for Fountain, there’s really nothing standing between him and a roster spot right now. I’m going to give this a B rating with the future picks in mind, but a B- in a vacuum. WR was a huge need and Fountain should make the roster, but for the first one we took in the draft hasn’t really been making much of an impression.

Jordan Wilkins is a very patient running back. In his time at Ole Miss, he had a huge number of highlights that showed off his patience and ability to slip through the tiniest hole and break free. If Hines is Darren Sproles 2.0, then Wilkins is Arian Foster 2.0. Wilkins hasn’t been quite as flashy as Hines so far, but he has potential. This one gets a B. Between Hines, Mack, and Turbin, there was a decent committee going, but Wilkins adds a 4th body to the rotation. That said, there were still huge defensive needs that hadn’t been addressed yet. I’m not complaining about the pick, but I might have preferred a few other choices.

Deon Cain has been the most impressive rookie in training camp so far. He’s been making some huge toe-tapping catches and other flashy plays without the pads on, which has him shooting up the (admittedly very weak) WR depth chart. He’s been impressing everyone with his flashiness and should be fighting for a starting spot. At the time, I would have given this a C-, because there was already a WR picked up, plus three other good ones on the roster, and still had only put in a few picks on our biggest needs on defense. However, now that OTAs have happened and he’s blowing everything out of the water, this one gets an A+ from me. From what we’ve seen, Cain is a playmaking WR picked up in the 6th round. Remind you of anyone else? I’m not honestly expecting him to play up to Antonio Brown’s standards, but when you’re this late in the draft, you’re worried about a guy making the roster for his entire rookie contract. He’s shaping up to be a potential day 1 starter. That’s so much better than what you’d expect.

Matthew Adams was the Colts 7th round pick. He’s not really much of a standout in any respect, but the Colts were desperate for LB help (again, getting to that later), and Adams showed himself a sure tackler in his time at Houston. He’ll probably be a special teams player for most of this season if he makes the roster. I’ll give the pick a C because Adams really hasn’t done a whole lot to set himself apart from anyone so far, but it was also the 7th round and this was a position of serious need.

Zaire Franklin is a crazy athletic high-upside pickup for the Colts. Remember how Hines had the fastest 40 at the combine? Franklin, who wasn’t invited to the combine, chased Hines down in a game. He was also the first three-year captain at Syracuse for over a century, which means he has leadership skills and work ethic that are up there with the best of them. He racked up 266 combined tackles in 3 seasons, 156 of which were solo. He’s another raw, athletic, high-upside guy the Colts took and will probably make the roster on his leadership alone. Franklin gets a B from me because of the high-upside promise of a late 7th round pick, but factoring in the trade of Anderson, I kinda want to downgrade this to a C+. Doesn’t really seem worth what was given up, but I could be proven wrong.

On the whole, I’ll give this draft class a grand score of a B+. Ballard definitely showed his particular care when it came to drafting players here. Some of them were drafted higher than expected and he spent a lot of capital trying to get more picks earlier in the draft. 10/11 players I fully expect to contribute in some way this season, and the 11th could contribute. The Colts were one of the winners of the first round, though the second round was a little bit more of a head-scratcher. All in all, though, a lot of super athletic high-upside guys who figure to play big roles in the years to come with this team.

News Coaching hunt

This was a pretty small story in the grand scheme of things and fell out of the news cycle pretty quickly, but it was still pretty noteworthy. Short version: Colts had Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels all set up to be hired as the new head coach. They had already hired a couple of coaches McDaniels had picked as assistants, including defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. The Colts announced McDaniels as the new hire and were waiting with the contract that hadn’t been signed yet. The night before he was supposed to sign, McDaniels met with Kraft and Belichick and had a conversation. Nobody knows what was said, but McDaniels backed out of the contract. Not illegal, but pretty scummy, especially with some of his assistants already being hired and moved. The Colts recovered and instead hired Frank Reich, while keeping the assistants they had already hired.

Luck

I did a pretty big writeup of this earlier in the offseason and posted it on r/nfl trying to clear the air on what had been going on. The Luck saga is really a non-story that the talking heads keep bringing up because they don’t know anything else about the Colts. Summary version: Luck got hurt in 2015, played hurt in 2016, had surgery in January 2017 and was scheduled to be back sometime in September-November. He was practicing in October, had a setback, went abroad for another treatment and restarted a rehab timeline, which had him back by training camp. He returned during OTAs (a little ahead of schedule, actually) and threw a regulation football on the last day of minicamp. It’s been compounded by Irsay being a loudmouthed idiot and the talking heads not having anything to talk about. At this point, there are only two questions left to be answered: Will he be playing the full game week 1? and Will he return to his full form? He is absolutely the first QB on the depth chart and he is, as of now, ready to play at least partially for week 1. Don’t let people try to turn this into more than it is. Luck has thrown a regulation football in public within the last month. He was even working with his WRs last week.

Starting Lineup

QB Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett

RB Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Robert Turbin

TE Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Erik Swoope

WR TY Hilton, Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers, Deon Cain, Steve Ishmael, Daurice Fountain

LT Anthony Castonzo, Denzelle Good

LG Quenton Nelson, Jack Mewhort

C Ryan Kelly, Joe Haeg

RG Matt Slauson, Braden Smith

RT Austin Howard, Le’Raven Clark

DT Margus Hunt, Al Woods, Grover Stewart, Denico Autry, Tyquan Lewis, Hassan Ridgeway

DE Jabaal Sheard, Tarell Basham, Kemoko Turay, Denico Autry, Tyquan Lewis

LB Anthony Walker Jr., Darius Leonard, Najee Goode, Skai Moore, Tyrell Adams, Zaire Franklin

CB Quincy Wilson, Kenny Moore II, Nate Hairston, Pierre Desir, DJ White

S Clayton Geathers, Malik Hooker, Matthias Farley, George Odum

K Adam Vinatieri

P Rigoberto Sanchez

KR Chester Rogers

PR Nyheim Hines

Players

For some odd reason, being out of play for a single season has people forgetting just how good Andrew Luck is. I’m not saying he’s on that Brady/Brees/Rodgers level, but he’s pretty dang good. The problem is that he’s been on a lot of teams that really don’t give him a whole lot of help. For example, in 2016, he was surrounded by a supporting cast that struggled to hold off opposing offenses and actually catch the ball. I want to make it clear, I’m not trying to say Luck is the best QB in the league. But he has a pretty strong argument for being the best in the AFCS, considering we haven’t seen a full season from Watson yet. Luck is Indy’s QB, and there’s no question about it.

Anthony Castonzo is the LT and anchor of the OL, as well as someone who gets forgotten just a little too easily. Castonzo may be part of the most-maligned OL group in the league, but he’s been quietly pretty good for his whole career. He’s done a pretty good job of being an iron man, never really going down for extended periods of time. By December 13 last season, he had allowed only three QB hits and only 28 total pressures. And pass blocking is his weakness. The guy is good and people write him off just for being a part of the Colts OL.

Ryan Kelly had a rookie season for the books after not allowing a single sack in 626 snaps. His sophomore season, he had a bit of a slump, especially because he played most of it injured and between two of the worst Gs in professional football. Having Nelson and Slauson next to him should make life easier for Kelly next year and we’re expecting a return to form.

I personally am of the belief that Jack Doyle is a top 10 TE, but I know others will disagree with me on that. He’s just incredibly consistent with his blocking (mostly) and has become such a solid, steady receiving threat. 80 catches is more than some TEs get for targets, and with an average of 8.6 ypc last season, he’s a consistent production option. Being borderline top 10 and forgotten is a pretty consistent theme with this Colts team…

Wouldn’t you know it, after Castonzo and Doyle, we also have TY Hilton, the 2016 receiving yards leader. Last season, if TY had 150 yards, the Colts won. If he didn’t, they lost. Part of the problem, though, was that he had the fewest targets he’s had in his career since his rookie season, when he played 15 games with 1 start. That includes his sophomore season, where he started only 10 games. He had only one game with more than 9 targets and four games with only 4 or 5 targets. But his ypc was also the highest it’s been since his rookie season, with 16.9. The guy has the potential to be unbelievably good, but he has to make his catches and get his opportunities. Not to mention, the guy had 966 yards and this was considered a “disappointing” season. A sub-1000 yard disappointing season means that a WR is pretty dang good.

Nate Hairston is a guy that gets underrated because of what his particular role is. Hairston is at his best in the slot. By at his best, I mean he hit Tyrien Matthieu’s mark of 214 coverage snaps in the slot without allowing a touchdown. He was the league’s most successful blitzing CB and managed to sack Russell Wilson twice, including once for a safety. The problem he was running into was absolutely awful coaching by Chuck Pagano, which included not using him to blitz very frequently after he sacked Wilson. Hairston is a slot CB and really isn’t very good on the outside. PFF doesn’t really differentiate a whole lot, though, so his score looks pretty bad. Point is, Hairston is really good in the slot and the starter there next year.

Malik Hooker was last year’s first round pick. In the first half of the season, he was looking like a legitimate contender for DROY after 3 interceptions and 22 tackles. And then he tore his ACL trying to clean up someone else’s missed tackle (I think it was Antonio Morrison, actually). He’s back on the field in cleats as of May, but he may still miss the beginning of the season. No matter what, though, Hooker is going to be an important part of that secondary. The Ed Reed comparisons turned out to not be very far off so far.

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Projecting Receptions by Position Group: Jaguars

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 08:07

Welcome back as we enter the home stretch in our gut check series, entry 29 of 32. As always, if you need a reminder as to the purpose of this series or if you missed a previous entry, everything can be found at Pro Sports Fandom.

Today we begin looking at the 8th and final division, the AFC South. We'll start with last years AFC South champions, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

2017 Totals

Blake Bortles: 315 completions on 523 attempts

WR Group: 177 Receptions

RB Group: 96 Receptions

TE Group: 42 Receptions

2018 Projections

Blake Bortles: 320 completions on 525 attempts

WR Group: 180 Receptions

RB Group: 80 Receptions

TE Group: 60 Receptions

The Jaguars finally put together the winning combination; keep the ball out of Bortles’s hands. The Sacksonville defense was spectacular, which is all the more impressive as a good number of starters were either rookies or new acquisitions. By all rights the defense should be even better this year now that everyone has had time to gel. With the defense keeping pressure off the offense, the Jags were free to hand the ball off to rookie Leonard Fournette, who ground his way to a solid season. That may be tougher this season though; Fournette was routinely bothered by a lingering ankle injury last year. It’s tough to see the Jags giving their workhorse back the ball less – that would defeat the purpose of a workhorse back, after all – but they have to do something. Not helping matters is the departure of Chris Ivory, but Corey Grant should be able to step up and help out when Fournette needs a breather. As long as Grant and T.J. Yeldon can pick up any slack that Fournette’s injuries leave, they should be able to continue to limit Bortles to around 525 attempts. With a full year in offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s system and new safety valve Austin Seferian-Jenkins to play with, Bortles’s accuracy should rise slightly, resulting in around 320 completions.

It’s tough to call any of the WRs on this roster true WR1’s, but what the Jags lack in star power they make up for in depth as Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook, and Keenan Cole have all shown flashes. The loss of the Allens (Robinson and Hurns) hurts, but the Allens didn’t do much last year anyway. The additions of Donte Moncrief and rookie D.J. Chark should also help mitigate the loss. Ultimately the Jags have all the pieces to still make the chunk plays that they’ve relied on in the passing game. In the RB room, the loss of Chris Ivory will sting as the Jaguars are already worried about all the hits Fournette is taking and Corey Grant hasn’t done much in the receiving department. T.J. Yeldon likely benefits from this perspective, but new TE Seferian-Jenkins should also eat into the departed target share as he’s talented enough to demand more than the pitiful 13% catch share the TEs held last year.

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Projecting Receptions by Position Group: Jaguars

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 08:06

Welcome back as we enter the home stretch in our gut check series, entry 29 of 32. As always, if you need a reminder as to the purpose of this series or if you missed a previous entry, everything can be found at Pro Sports Fandom.

Today we begin looking at the 8th and final division, the AFC South. We'll start with last years AFC South champions, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

2017 Totals

Blake Bortles: 315 completions on 523 attempts

WR Group: 177 Receptions

RB Group: 96 Receptions

TE Group: 42 Receptions

2018 Projections

Blake Bortles: 320 completions on 525 attempts

WR Group: 180 Receptions

RB Group: 80 Receptions

TE Group: 60 Receptions

The Jaguars finally put together the winning combination; keep the ball out of Bortles’s hands. The Sacksonville defense was spectacular, which is all the more impressive as a good number of starters were either rookies or new acquisitions. By all rights the defense should be even better this year now that everyone has had time to gel. With the defense keeping pressure off the offense, the Jags were free to hand the ball off to rookie Leonard Fournette, who ground his way to a solid season. That may be tougher this season though; Fournette was routinely bothered by a lingering ankle injury last year. It’s tough to see the Jags giving their workhorse back the ball less – that would defeat the purpose of a workhorse back, after all – but they have to do something. Not helping matters is the departure of Chris Ivory, but Corey Grant should be able to step up and help out when Fournette needs a breather. As long as Grant and T.J. Yeldon can pick up any slack that Fournette’s injuries leave, they should be able to continue to limit Bortles to around 525 attempts. With a full year in offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s system and new safety valve Austin Seferian-Jenkins to play with, Bortles’s accuracy should rise slightly, resulting in around 320 completions.

It’s tough to call any of the WRs on this roster true WR1’s, but what the Jags lack in star power they make up for in depth as Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook, and Keenan Cole have all shown flashes. The loss of the Allens (Robinson and Hurns) hurts, but the Allens didn’t do much last year anyway. The additions of Donte Moncrief and rookie D.J. Chark should also help mitigate the loss. Ultimately the Jags have all the pieces to still make the chunk plays that they’ve relied on in the passing game. In the RB room, the loss of Chris Ivory will sting as the Jaguars are already worried about all the hits Fournette is taking and Corey Grant hasn’t done much in the receiving department. T.J. Yeldon likely benefits from this perspective, but new TE Seferian-Jenkins should also eat into the departed target share as he’s talented enough to demand more than the pitiful 13% catch share the TEs held last year.

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HS-Style Computer Points Ranking: Division Assignments

JacksonVille Sport News Reddit - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 11:31

Last year I posted my adaptation of the Ohio High School Athletic Association's "computer points" used for the OHSAA's playoff qualification and seeding. I plan to do the same this year. Link: An explanation of Ohio's system

Like virtually every state in the Union, Ohio divides its teams into divisions based on enrollment (plus a few other minor factors). We have seven divisions for football here in the Buckeye state and wins over opponents are assigned different "first level" points depending on their division.

I took all 255 NCAA DI football teams and similarly broke them down into seven divisions. Enrollment isn't the best way to do this for CFB; we use enrollment in high schools because it's assumed that the largest schools have a built-in advantage over the smallest. In CFB it's spending on athletics in general and football in particular that gives some universities an automatic edge over others.

But there are problems. The Knight Foundation hasn't updated its spending data since 2015, and private institutions aren't included since they don't have to make their data public. I didn't fell comfortable using a data set with so many gaps.

The only financially-related data that all DI institutions report in (approximately) the same fashion is home attendance. Ticket sales don't tell the whole story on revenue, and revenue is certainly a different thing than spending, but at least it's an accessible data set that includes all NCAA football teams. I used a four-year average of home attendance per game to rank teams and break them up into seven divisions.

The OHSAA used to put the same number of teams into each division, but changed that a few years back. The largest high schools are so much larger than everyone else that fewer teams were placed into DI. I followed suit, but also made DVII smaller since games against non-FBS/FCS teams will get DVII points (I count 66 such games this year, equal to 6 full FCS schedules). So there are 27 teams in my DI, 39 teams each in my DII through DVI, and 33 teams in DVII.

The assignments are below. Remember, this is just for points earned in the ranking system.

ACC

DI: Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech

DII: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami (FL), NC State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia

DIII: Duke, Wake Forest

Big Ten

DI: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin

DII: Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers

Big XII

DI: Oklahoma, Texas

DII: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, West Virginia

DIII: Kansas

Pac-12

DI: UCLA, USC, Washington

DII: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Utah

DIII: Washington State

SEC

DI: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M

DII: Kentucky, Missouri

DIII: Vanderbilt

American

DII: East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, UCF

DIII: Cincinnati, Navy, SMU, South Florida, Temple, Tulane, UConn

DIV: Tulsa

Conference USA

DIII: Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, UTEP, UTSA

DIV: Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Western Kentucky

FBS Independent

DI: Notre Dame

DII: BYU

DIII: Army

DIV: Liberty, New Mexico St., UMass

Mid-American

DIII: Ohio, Toledo

DIV: Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (OH), Northern Illinois, Western Michigan

DV: Ball State

Mountain West

DII: San Diego State

DIII: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawai'I, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah State, Wyoming

DIV: San Jose State, UNLV

Sun Belt

DIII: Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Louisiana, Troy

DIV: Georgia State, UL-Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State

DV: Coastal Carolina

Big Sky

DIII: Montana

DIV: Montana State

DV: Cal Poly, Eastern Washington, Idaho, Sacramento State, Southern Utah, Weber State

DVI: Idaho State, Northern Arizona, Portland State, UC Davis

DVII: Northern Colorado

Big South

DV: Kennesaw State

DVI: Campbell

DVII: Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, Monmouth, Presbyterian

Colonial

DIII: James Madison

DIV: Delaware

DV: New Hampshire, Richmond, William & Mary

DVI: Albany, Elon, Maine, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova

DVII: Rhode Island

FCS Independent

DV: North Alabama, North Dakota

DVI: Hampton

Ivy

DIV: Harvard, Yale

DV: Princeton

DVI: Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn

DVII: Brown

MEAC

DIV: Florida A&M, North Carolina A&T

DV: NC Central, Norfolk State, South Carolina St.

DVI: Bethune-Cookman, Morgan State

DVII: Delaware State, Howard, Savannah State

Missouri Valley

DIV: North Dakota St., Youngstown State

DV: Illinois State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota, South Dakota St., Southern Illinois

DVI: Indiana State

DVII: Western Illinois

Northeast

DVII: Bryant, Central Conn. St., Duquesne, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis, Wagner

Ohio Valley

DIV: Jacksonville State, Tennessee State

DV: Eastern Kentucky

DVI: Austin Peay, Eastern Illinois, Murray State, SE Missouri State, Tennessee Tech

DVII: UT Martin

Patriot

DV: Lehigh

DVI: Colgate, Fordham, Holy Cross, Lafayette

DVII: Bucknell, Georgetown

Pioneer

DVI: Morehead State

DVII: Butler, Davidson, Dayton, Drake, Jacksonville, Marist, San Diego, Stetson, Valparaiso

Southern

DV: Chattanooga, East Tennessee St., Mercer, The Citadel, Western Carolina

DVII: Furman, Samford, VMI, Wofford

Southland

DV: Central Arkansas, Lamar, McNeese State, Northwestern St., Sam Houston St., Stephen F. Austin

DVI: Abilene Christian, Nicholls State, SE Louisiana

DVII: Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word

SWAC

DIV: Alcorn State, Grambling, Jackson State, Southern

DV: Alabama State, Prairie View

DVI: Alabama A&M, Ark-Pine Bluff, Texas Southern

DVII: Mississippi Valley

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