NEW WAVE IS ON THE WAY!

NEW WAVE IS ON THE WAY!

By Ed Kracz
NFL Contributor for The Balance

A new wave of quarterbacks has begun crashing mightily upon the shores in National Football League cities such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Dallas. And anyone who knows the NFL understands that, without a solid quarterback, your favorite team is simply washed up.
Thanks to last year’s draft class, the Rams, Eagles, and Cowboys are well-positioned for future success. That success may already have arrived, even though Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott are only in their second seasons.
There was plenty of talk prior to the 2016 draft that Goff and Wentz weren’t worthy of being picked first and second in the National Football League Draft.
That talk was wrong. Just as it feels all wrong that Prescott somehow lasted until the fourth round when Dallas finally plucked him.
The Rams took Goff first overall. The Eagles took Wentz second overall.
Look at them now. More importantly, look at their teams.
Led by Wentz, the Eagles are sitting at a league-best 8-1 and the odds-on favorite to win the NFC and make the Super Bowl. Wentz is the frontrunner to be this year’s Most Valuable Player. His 23 touchdown passes – to just five interceptions – has him on pace to break the Eagles’ single-season record for TD passes, which is currently held by Sonny Jurgensen, who tossed 32 back in 1961.
Jurgensen did it in 14 games, but Wentz has five more games to get nine more to do what Jurgensen accomplished.
As for Goff’s Rams, they are sitting pretty at 6-2. He has 13 TDs to four interceptions.
Goff and Wentz became the first two quarterbacks taken first and second overall to throw four touchdown passes on the same weekend, as the Eagles put up 51 against the Denver Broncos and the Rams torched the New York Giants for 51.
There is a good chance the Eagles and Rams could meet in the NFC Championship Game. As it is, the two teams will play meet on Dec. 10 in L.A., a sort of early Christmas gift for NFL fans as they will get a chance to see an offensive showdown between the No. 1 and 2 picks in last year’s draft.
Don’t count out the Cowboys, either. They have already lost to the Rams, but they still play the Eagles twice, beginning on Nov. 19 in Dallas then ending the season on New Year’s Eve in Philly.
It’s not just Goff, Wentz, and Prescott breathing new life into a position that has been dominated for years by the old guard of Super Bowl winners such as Tom Brady, Eli Manning, and Drew Brees.
Houston rookie Deshaun Watson was doing marvelous things for the Texans before tearing an ACL last week. And, while Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay and Marcus Mariota in Tennessee, have yet to live up the billing of being the first and second quarterbacks taken in first and second overall in 2015, they each possess the skill set to take their team a long way at some point over the next 10 years.
This new wave comes along at the right time, given the fact that the careers of such players as Super Bowl winners Tom Brady, Eli Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger are winding down.
Here is a look at the ages of the league’s quarterbacks:
(Age when 2017 season began)
The Old Guard
40: Tom Brady, Patriots
38: Drew Brees, Saints
37: Carson Palmer, Cardinals
36: Eli Manning, Giants
35: Philip Rivers, Chargers; Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
34: Jay Cutler, Dolphins
33: Aaron Rodgers, Packers; Alex Smith, Chiefs
32: Joe Flacco, Ravens; Matt Ryan, Falcons
Middle of the road (26-30 years old)
29: Sam Bradford, Vikings; Kirk Cousins, Washington; Andy Dalton, Bengals; Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
28: Cam Newton, Panthers; Tyrod Taylor Bills; Russell Wilson, Seahawks
27: Andrew Luck, Colts
26: Derek Carr, Raiders
The next wave (25 and under)
25: Blake Bortles, Jaguars
24: Carson Wentz, 24, Eagles; Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings; Dak Prescott, Cowboys; Trevor Siemian, Broncos
23: Paxton Lynch, Broncos; Marcus Mariota, Titans; Jameis Winston, Buccaneers
22: Jared Goff, Rams
21: Deshaun Watson, Texans

Letters From The General/Rick Riggin

Letters From The General/Rick Riggin

Dearest Beth,
As our men rested their eyes weary from our travels, a pack of jaguars invaded our camp and massacred our battalion.  I was unable to give warning of the impending danger as I am still hobbled from my battle wounds.  The jaguars were quick and calculated, and able to drag away some of our officers.  Among the missing is young Captain Brissett, Lieutenant Hilton, and Major Gore.  Now as the remaining men tend to the injured and search for the missing, we must plan our approach into Ohio where it is said a pride of tigers awaits.
Love Always

General A. Luck

NFL lack of O heading into Monday night/Ed Kracz

NFL lack of O heading into Monday night
Ed Kracz-Official NFL Contributor for the Balance
@kracze

Maybe Monday night’s primetime NFC East matchup between rivals Philadelphia and Washington will be easier on the eyes than what took place around the National Football League on Sunday.
Don’t look for any offensive short-outs between the Eagles, who are the only team in the league with only one loss at the moment, and the Redskins, who are trying to prevent being swept by the Birds this season after losing the season-opener on their home field back in early September.
At least hope for some offense. That was very much a missing ingredient in Sunday’s full slate of games.
There were six teams who failed to score an offensive touchdown. That’s just simply offensive.
There were another five teams who scored only one touchdown. That’s just mystifying in a day and age where the rules are tailored to encourage points.
The Titans and Browns slogged through 60 minutes of football where neither team was capable of finding the end zone. Tennessee won an all-field-goal game, 12-9. And it took overtime to decide. Fans should demand their money back for having to watch that slop. Of course, Cleveland fans are used to watching such anemic offensive play after failing to draft an NFL-caliber quarterback in forever.
Sunday was no different, with head coach Hue Jackson deciding to start DeShone Kizer again after benching him last week, only to change course during the game, yanking out Kizer for Cody Kessler. The Browns are now 1-22 since trading away the No. 2 pick of the draft last year to the Eagles, who selected quarterback Carson Wentz. There aren’t enough thank-you notes in the world for Philly fans to send Cleveland for that deal.
The Chicago Bears won their second straight game to get to 3-4 and did so with their starting quarterback, rookie Mitchell Trubisky, completing just four passes in seven attempts. The Bears held the ball for just 21 minutes, 25 seconds, gained a paltry total of 153 yards and yet still found a way to beat the Carolina Panthers 17-3.
Three teams had big fat zeroes next to their name – the Colts, Broncos, and Cardinals.
The last time three teams laid goose-eggs on the same day was back in December 2012.
OK, Arizona lost it starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, to a broken arm, and he will miss the next eight weeks at minimum, so maybe they get a pass – no pun intended.
The Broncos need to think about making a quarterback change, before it’s too late. The Broncs are swimming in a sea of mediocrity at 3-3 and Trevor Siemian is at the helm of an offense going nowhere. They have scored 108 points in six games. Only three teams have scored fewer, and, yes, the Browns are one. Denver’s defense is too good to let this season slip through its fingers.
Then there are the Colts, whose offensive line allowed 10 sacks to Jacksonville – or should we say, Sacksonville.
It’s a wonder that Indy QB Jacoby Brissett managed to escape injury. And isn’t that why Brissett is playing quarterback in the first place, because Andrew Luck could not stay healthy behind an offensive line that has more leaks than Donald Trump’s White House?
So cross your fingers and hope the Monday nighter at least delivers some touchdowns, and some drama.

After a bad day of offense, here’s hoping Monday night delivers fireworks

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler (56) sacks Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) during the second half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

By Ed Kracz

NFL Contributor

Maybe Monday night’s primetime NFC East matchup between rivals Philadelphia and Washington will be easier on the eyes than what took place around the National Football League on Sunday.

Don’t look for any offensive short-outs between the Eagles, who are the only team in the league with only one loss at the moment, and the Redskins, who are trying to prevent being swept by the Birds this season after losing the season-opener on their home field back in early September.

At least hope for some offense. That was very much a missing ingredient in Sunday’s full slate of games.

There were six teams who failed to score an offensive touchdown. That’s just simply offensive.

There were another five teams who scored only one touchdown. That’s just mystifying in a day and age where the rules are tailored to encourage points.

The Titans and Browns slogged through 60 minutes of football where neither team was capable of finding the end zone. Tennessee won an all-field-goal game, 12-9. And it took overtime to decide. Fans should demand their money back for having to watch that slop. Of course, Cleveland fans are used to watching such anemic offensive play after failing to draft an NFL-caliber quarterback in forever.

Sunday was no different, with head coach Hue Jackson deciding to start DeShone Kizer again after benching him last week, only to change course during the game, yanking out Kizer for Cody Kessler. The Browns are now 1-22 since trading away the No. 2 pick of the draft last year to the Eagles, who selected quarterback Carson Wentz. There aren’t enough thank-you notes in the world for Philly fans to send Cleveland for that deal.

The Chicago Bears won their second straight game to get to 3-4 and did so with their starting quarterback, rookie Mitchell Trubisky, completing just four passes in seven attempts. The Bears held the ball for just 21 minutes, 25 seconds, gained a paltry total of 153 yards and yet still found a way to beat the Carolina Panthers 17-3.

Three teams had big fat zeroes next to their name – the Colts, Broncos, and Cardinals.

The last time three teams laid goose-eggs on the same day was back in December 2012.

OK, Arizona lost it starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, to a broken arm, and he will miss the next eight weeks at minimum, so maybe they get a pass – no pun intended.

The Broncos need to think about making a quarterback change, before it’s too late. The Broncs are swimming in a sea of mediocrity at 3-3 and Trevor Siemian is at the helm of an offense going nowhere. They have scored 108 points in six games. Only three teams have scored fewer, and, yes, the Browns are one. Denver’s defense is too good to let this season slip through its fingers.

Then there are the Colts, whose offensive line allowed 10 sacks to Jacksonville – or should we say, Sacksonville.

It’s a wonder that Indy QB Jacoby Brissett managed to escape injury. And isn’t that why Brissett is playing quarterback in the first place, because Andrew Luck could not stay healthy behind an offensive line that has more leaks than Donald Trump’s White House?

So cross your fingers and hope the Monday nighter at least delivers some touchdowns, and some drama.

 

Letters From The General/Rick Riggin

Letters From The General/Rick Riggin

Dearest Beth,
Our march to Tennessee was a triumphant one as we tasted victory against the invading gold miners in our last battle. Only if we would’ve known what these men they call Titans had planned for us. Our young officer, Capt. Brissett, lead our battalion with great leadership. But neither he nor I could have known that these men, these Titans, were nothing short of immortal. Like me, their General also has nagging battle wounds, but he led his Titans to victory. Their swords and shields are as much a part of them as their own beating hearts. I look forward to one day soon, rejoining my men in the trenches, and reclaiming our days of victory…
Love Always

General A. Luck

Source Rick Riggin Flipping The Field

So yeah about “Rodgers and the NFC” /Ed Kracz Balance NFL Contributor

So yeah about “Rodgers and the NFC” /Ed Kracz Balance NFL Contributor
By Ed Kracz
NFL Contributor

Too many of the stars in the NFL heavens have begun to flicker out.
Another weekend of games are complete, and on this one, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers couldn’t make it to the finish line, breaking a collarbone in his throwing shoulder on a clean hit from Minnesota linebacker Anthony Barr during their game on Sunday. So Rodgers joins other stars such as the Giants’ Odell Beckham, the Texans’ J.J. Watt, the Cardinals’ David Johnson, the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook, and the Patriots’ Julian Edelman on the shelf for the remainder of the year.
It’s not good for the league or its fans when these types of high-quality players go down before the season has even begun to get within ear shot of trick-or-treaters ringing doorbells on Halloween.
Strictly from an on-the-field perspective, the injury to Rodgers may have the greatest consequences not only on his team, but across the entire NFC landscape, from the east coast where Philly is making plenty of noise to the west coast where Seattle’s defense keeps thumping right along.
Rodgers was arguably the best player in the league. He gave the Pack a chance to win any game they played, even though Green Bay is a flawed team. So is just about every team in the league, though, which made Rodgers the great tiebreaker and his team a perennial Super Bowl contender.
Now, Green Bay will attempt to stay afloat with a former fifth-round draft pick in Brett Hundley and a backup who played his college football at the tiny Division III Wesley University in Dover, Del.
Meanwhile, the rest of the NFC salivates.
Suddenly, the Eagles are the favorite to earn a No. 1 seed. They have the best record in the NFC at 5-1. Seattle is in the hunt for the top spot with a defense that is still ferocious and a quarterback in Russell Wilson who has been to the mountaintop once already in his career. Don’t count out Carolina, yet, either despite a 28-23 loss to Philadelphia last Thursday.
None of these teams have anything locked up, by any means, though.
Not now, not after the momentum Rodgers’ injury gives teams like the Falcons, who were a 13-point favorite at home on Sunday, yet somehow found a way to the Jay Cutler-led Miami Dolphins. Or the Detroit Lions, who looked like a team to be reckoned with until losing their last two games, giving up a whopping 52 points to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The Washington Redskins fought tooth-and-nail to get to 3-2 by surviving an upset bid from the winless 49ers on Sunday.
Go right down the list … Minnesota, especially quarterback Teddy Bridgewater given the green-light to practice this week, the Los Angeles Rams with a 31-year-old coach in Sean McVay doing wonders with former No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff, and on it goes.
Really, there are only two teams who don’t look like they can make it into the playoff field of six and they are the 1-5 Giants and 0-6 49ers. Maybe the Packers are the third now that Rodgers is done.
The rest?
Well, with Rodgers’ star now extinguished most of the NFC teams have an even greater chance to shine.

Follow Ed Kracz on Twitter: @kracze

‘NFL Films Presents Touchdown in Israel’ Follows Robert Kraft and Pro Football Hall of Famers’ Trip to the Holy Land

​​’NFL Films Presents: Touchdown in Israel’ Airs Friday, October 20 at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network​

“Bringing the game to the rest of the world…There’s nothing better.” – Joe Montana

NFL Films Presents: Touchdown in Israel airs on Friday, October 20 at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network. The one-hour show produced by NFL Films and hosted by Katie Nolan follows the unforgettable spiritual journey of New England Patriots Chairman & CEO Robert Kraft and 18 Pro Football Hall of Famers to Israel to relish in the faith-filled culture and spread the gospel of America’s Game.

Touchdown in Israel follows Kraft and the team of 18 Hall of Famers including Jim Brown, Joe Montana, Roger Staubach, Cris Carter, Aeneas Williams and Joe Greene as they visit historical and biblical landmarks including the Mount of Beatitudes, Jordan River, Masada, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Western Wall, City of David and the Dead Sea. Together, the football legends absorb the Holy Land’s offerings and form powerful bonds with one another.

Included in Touchdown in Israel are reflections from Hall of Fame cornerback and founding pastor of Spirit Church in St. Louis Aeneas Williams discussing how God helped Williams through his football career, and Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter sharing his story on Christ saving his football career and helping him overcome drug abuse, as well as baptisms in the sacred Jordan River for many of the Hall of Famers.

Kraft pioneers the integration of Israeli culture and American football, opening the Kraft Family Sports Campus to develop another cultural link between the United States and Israel. Alongside Kraft, NFL football greats help foster football’s growth in Israel by coaching and mentoring local Israeli football squads in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Touchdown in Israel features the following Pro Football Hall of Famers:

Joe Montana

Roger Staubach

Joe Greene

Cris Carter

Andre Reed

John Stallworth

Eric Dickerson

Marshall Faulk

Dave Casper

Jerome Bettis

Jim Brown

Ron Yary

Aeneas Williams

Lem Barney

Willie Lanier

Mike Singletary

Andre Tippett

Bruce Smith

Provided below are some select quotes from NFL Films Presents: Touchdown in Israel:

– “You see us with the equipment on. You see us with the helmets on. But at the end of the day, we’re just human beings that are in need of Christ…Learning to worship God helped me learn to overcome fear. So many people never reach their destinies, never reach their potential because they never learn that they are created in God’s image. As they learn to worship the One that created them, the fear begins to dissipate because God becomes bigger then whatever that fear is.” – Aeneas Williams

– “I continue to thank God for allowing my family and me, Jonathan, Daniel and Joshua to help continue to build Jerusalem the Holy City all together, as one nation, one city, and with a prayer for peace, the nation of Israel lives.” – Robert Kraft

– “I came here as just a member of the Hall, but man I am leaving with some special relationships.” – Marshall Faulk

– “Bringing the game to the rest of the world…There’s nothing better. What you’re doing with bringing American football here, it is something that brings people together.” – Joe Montana

This Week in the NFL! Ed Kracz/NFL Contributor

nfl-week-6-opening-lines

By Ed Kracz ED

Official NFL Contributor to The Balance

The Dallas Cowboys have the weekend off thanks to their bye, but the drama that has surrounded star running back Ezekiel Elliott did not take a break.
Elliott’s on-again, off-again six-game suspension was reinstated earlier in the week. Elliott, the Cowboys and the NFL Players Association refuse to go quietly into the night, however.
The NFLPA has asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for an immediate recall so they can pursue a full-panel hearing with the court. If the recall goes through, Elliott may very well be able to play in Dallas’ next game on Oct. 22 against the winless 49ers. If it does not, he will sit out games against San Francisco, the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angles Chargers. He would not be eligible to return until Nov. 30 against Washington.
By then, the Cowboys’ defense of the NFC East title they won last year, when they went 13-3, may be out the window, because the Eagles appear to be in good shape to unseat them.
The Eagles are sitting at 5-1, compared to Dallas’ 2-3, and Philly quarterback Carson Wentz has taken a huge leap forward from his rookie season. Wentz has thrown seven touchdowns in his last two games and has been over 300-yards passing in half the team’s games this year.
More importantly, the Eagles are playing team football and free of the drama that surrounds the Cowboys and also another NFC East team, the New York Giants, who are sitting at 0-5, have injuries galore at receiver and had to suspend cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie earlier in the week when he complained about being taken out of a recent game.
Elliott and the Cowboys seem to be affected by the suspension issue.
The offensive line, which is one of the league’s best, isn’t playing at the same level as it did last year when Elliott led the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards.
Also, in his first five games last year, Elliott had 546 yards and five touchdowns. In his first five this season, he has 393 with one touchdown and was held to eight yards on the ground by the Denver Broncos in Week Two.
Should Elliott be lost for the next six games, the running game would be handled by Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. Not bad, but not Elliott, either.
That means quarterback Dak Prescott, who was last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, will likely have to shoulder a heavier load.
Prescott has the targets to be effective in future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten and receivers Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, and Cole Beasley, but the quarterback also has an 11-game streak where he has failed to throw for more than 300 yards.
That would have to end if Elliott’s suspension remains in place.

Letters From The General

Letters From The General
Rick Riggin

General

Dearest Beth,
On a day where we honored our battalion’s retired Commander, Gen. Manning, our Vice President seemed to concede an early defeat by leaving the battle arena as he faced the crouching enemy. Today was bittersweet as I, once again, was not able to join my men in the trenches. But we were able to come away victorious against the invading gold miners of San Francisco. Now we depart these blood soaked fields to battle Titans from Tennessee. The journey will be short, but the fight will be long.

Sincerely,
General A. Luck