Which Team Will Sidney Jones Make Look Like Geniuses?

By Leo Silbert

After 3 seasons at the University of Washington, corner back Sidney Jones decided that it was the time for him to declare for the NFL draft.  He was one of the highest rated corners coming out this year which is also a year where corner back is one of, if not the, strongest position groups in years.  One NFC East scout said that Jones seemed to have taken all of the good qualities from fellow former Husky and off-season workout buddy Marcus Peters, with none of the behavioral issues.  He put up respectable numbers across the board at the combine and he seemed like a lock for the first round of the draft until he went to the ground during his pro day and had to be carted off the practice field.

Sidney Jones Injury

The diagnosis ended up being a ruptured left Achilles tendon, a devastating blow to his draft stock.  He went from being a potentially top half of the first round selection to being a mid-late round gamble on his ability to heal from this injury.  The worst part about this injury is that it might rob him of some of his speed and quickness and eventually shorten his career length, but if he is taken by a team in the right situation, he can end up living up to his potential for pennies on the dollar.  Now, he won’t be much use to a team that has an immediate need at the corner back position to make their defense improve since he may be unable to play until November, but he still has two types of teams that should be very interested in him.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

The first group of teams who should be interested in him are teams who have good corner back groups already, but with aging members.  As a Giants fan, the Giants were the first ones to come to mind to me here since they already have a very good trio of corner backs but with one member who is over the age of 30 and a contract that would save the team valuable cap space if it wasn’t on the books anymore with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.  DRC is a great corner still and had one of his best seasons ever this past year, but he has a few issues going against him.  Most importantly is that even though he will start just about every game, he is a player that can’t stay on the field for an entire game anymore.  This past season, he only played 736 snaps while he only missed one game.  His teammate Janoris Jenkins who missed most of 2 games on the other hand played 1,028 snaps.  This means that the 4th string corner has to end up picking up most of the extra 292 snaps missed by DRC.  Also, the Giants need to clear up some cap space in the upcoming off seasons so they can give second contracts to players such as Odell Beckham Jr, Landon Collins, Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg.  The Giants also fit with their fondness for gambling corners as seen with both DRC and Janoris Jenkins.  Other teams that also fit this type of mold are: The Denver Broncos with Aqib Talib, the Dolphins with Byron Maxwell, the Panthers with Captain Munnerlyn, the Patriots with Malcolm Butler if they decide not to pay him highly, the Raiders with Sean Smith, the Steelers with William Gay, the Texans with Jonathan Joseph and the Titans with Jason McCourty.

Joe Haden

The other type of team that should be interested in Jones is the group of teams that are so talent deficient that a highly graded player joining or being hurt won’t affect their record much this season anyway.  The team that leads this group is the Cleveland Browns.  The Browns need capable bodies at positions across the board except for along their offensive line, at nose tackle and at weak side linebacker.  They are a team no one expects to compete this season and is likely due for another top 5 draft pick next year.  They are a team that has nothing to lose by gambling on such a talent as Jones is and in a few years if they build their team up to respectability, they may have a mid-round steal of a corner on their team helping to lead their defense.  The list of teams here is a lot shorter since the league is at the closest level of competition across the board it has ever had so there are fewer teams that qualify for that, and one of the few teams that do qualify have a scheme where Sidney Jones’ lack of height and arm length make it so he doesn’t fit the scheme like how it is with the San Francisco 49ers.  Other teams where Jones would fit with under this stipulation though are the Bears and Jets.  If Jones is picked by any of these three teams, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if in 3 years he was helping to lead a great young defense.

Sidney Jones

Injuries suck in football, especially when they take away a player’s chance to get paid before they are even drafted.  They could rob careers from reaching as high as they could potentially go and they can shorten or even end them early.  Jones won’t have his career ended before it starts and with the proper attitude and system, he can end up as one of the best corner backs in the league, and his draft position will make whatever general manager pulled the trigger on drafting him look like a genius.

From ESPN to Fox: Sloppy Seconds Anyone?

By Will Stevenson
Usually when an entity or organization monopolizes the industry, they buy everyone out and only leave you with a few choices here and there to receive their content. Whether it’s a television service, a phone company or an auto parts store, they make sure that all other options don’t come close to matching the resources they have acquired. When we look at the ESPN empire, they have definitely monopolized the industry, but they have somehow allowed their viewers and listeners to access every possible sports niche there is to offer. It seems as if ESPN Radio has landed in every major city nationwide, and locked in every state with at least a station or two that is affiliated with ESPN. Over the years the ESPN Network has had it’s share of Sportscenter hosts, analyst, guests, shows, and radio hosts, but what they have been able to do is replace the faces with no drop-off in ratings or growing power. With their partnership, or being owned by Disney, those that leave ESPN are able to move to CBS, NBC, and ABC seamlessly. Over the past few years, when the contracts go into their final year, the rumors begin to surface and individuals begin to look for work elsewhere; but where else could they go that would have the same shine as ESPN.
And that’s where Fox comes in.
It seems as though Fox has been on the outside looking in when it comes to sports content, although they do have Fox NFL Sunday that usually brings the NFC contenders to table every week. The last time I watched something on a Fox network was “The Best Damn Sports” show and “The Man Show” on FX. If you’ve every watched a show on FX, then you are aware they bend the lines of censorship for mainstream television. The things they are able to show and get away with are very different from what ESPN can do now that they are under Disney’s supervision. After Colin Cowherd’s contract and “ethnic misquote” combined for the right fire, Fox was more than willing to take him on. The Le Batard Show, based out of Miami, slid into his 10am to 1pm time slot and haven’t missed a beat. One person leaves, another shows up and everything keeps rolling. Fox has been trying for years to match the level ESPN has reached, but haven’t been able to take over in numbers, viewers, mentions and downloads. Fox has been able to throw money at previous ESPN employees and provide an atmosphere that will allow them to have less censorship and more freedoms with their shows.
Can Fox grow their brand of talking heads to the heights of ESPN while doing the same exact thing ESPN has done and is already doing? Probably not, but all it takes are a few gasbags saying the right things and the right people paying attention. Television viewers are one thing, but clicks and downloads are something totally different in this social media driven world we now live in.

I seriously think you should jump on this wave!

By Lawrence Edwards

OK, before I get started let me tell you that this isn’t a fad that will quickly fade out, nor is it a get rich quick scheme. It’s simple, I am not forcing you or trying to persuade you to do anything. I just want to share with you something that I know sports enthusiasts every where will enjoy and offer you the opportunity to be apart of something or get ahead of everyone else on a trend that is about to take the world by storm. From Football to Cricket we have something every sports will fall in love with. You have two options: Affiliate or Player. I will go in to great detail about both and most importantly the coming of a game changing sports app by United Games that is going to absolutely blow your mind!

Now what we are talking about here is an app that will let you enjoy your favorite sport interactively while watching the game. This app is going to bring a new dynamic way of playing of enjoying sports. It’s not just going to focus on the major sports but every sport.  The point is to get everyone to enjoy sports better, not just the people who have time for drafts and 4 different fantasy leagues or the ones who are good at selecting the right combination of players in order to enjoy the experience.

Now, as I previously mentioned you have two options to join this wave, either as a player or an affiliate. If you want to just be one of the first to enjoy the experience of this game changing app then sign up as a player for free. You will be a pre-registered player and once the app launches within the next 5 weeks you can begin enjoying your interactive sports experience and start earning some rewards and points. I don’t know about you but once I started playing fantasy football and basketball, the game became THAT much more interesting to me. I began to pay attention to things that I didn’t before. This interactive app will award every real sports fan the same experience but much better – did I mention that some of EA Sports former developers are building this thing? – Get ahead of the trend, this app is coming and it’s going to change the way we enjoy sports forever and it will be the first of it’s kind, share it with your neighbors, share it with your family, if they love sports, chances are they will love this!

Now if you are interested in becoming an affiliate of United Games and getting the opportunity to not only get ahead of the trend but earn some money while doing it, then this the route you want to go. Now let me tell you this isn’t a pyramid scheme or something wild like that, if you don’t want to be an affiliate then you don’t have to. We aren’t trying to recruit people for money, we are just offering an opportunity to earn some income based off of people just playing the game. Now when this was brought to me a few weeks ago I had my initial negative thoughts. I was told that I can become an affiliate for free, feel it out see if I like it and if I do I would have to pay a one time fee of $30 to stay an affiliate and $9.99 a month to maintain my affiliate site and if I don’t just simply cancel no harm done. Now I’m no easy person to convince to join things, so I did my own research before I agreed to sign up for anything. Now I hate selling things, I’m terrible at it, so the fact I didn’t have to sell a product and it was an app – I’m a huge tech junkie – helped me decide to really read up on it. So I did my research and found that this app could really be something special and I don’t have to pay my fee until the app launches in 4-5 weeks at the time of this writing. I figured, what can I lose? I can jump on board playing a new fantasy app and maybe earn some money while doing it. Every time you share the app and someone signs up, whether as an affiliate or a player, and starts buying or earning tokens, you get a piece of the pie, NICE! Another selling point for me was the fact that in order for you to earn income you have to fill out tax form 1099. That right there let me know it was legit. Now United Games is offering this opportunity only up until the app launches in 5 weeks. Once it goes live, the affiliate opportunity will be no longer offered. You will only be able to download and use the app.

Whether you sign up to be a player or an affiliate I can assure you that this app is going to change your sporta experience. The point of this blog is to get the word out that a Giant is coming and to offer, what I believe to be a grand opportunity to be apart of the next big thing. If you like what you heard here today feel free to drop a comment, email me (lawrence.edwards115@gmail.com) or if you got here through my Facebook link, just shoot me a DM and I will happily send you a link to be an affiliate or a free player so you will be all set to go when the app launches. Once you click the link there will be more information for you to read through to get an even better understanding. You’re going to love this!

Here is a one page info sheet you can look at to get more information. Feel free to contact me with questions.

 

It’s time for Fournette to Shine

Written by Henry Mitchell Jr

One of the best running backs in college is back to make history for the mighty LSU Tigers. Leonard Fournette started last year on a tear.  Running for 1034 yards and 10 touchdowns in his freshman year. Fournette came back his sophomore year to run for 1953 yards and 22 touchdowns in a spectacular season. Fournette ended up finishing 6th in the Heisman voting.  

Unfortunately with poor quarterback play, opposing defenses stacked the box and stopped the running game. Shutting down LSU’s powerful offense and Fournette.

This is their year to overthrow the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide, I feel this is the year of the LSU Tigers.Fournette will have his way.

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Remember the name…Deebo Samuel

 

By Ryan Catoe

There have been some talented wideouts that have graced the field at Williams-Brice. Sterling Sharpe, Robert Brooks, Kenny McKinley, Sidney Rice and more recently Alshon Jeffery. All went on to have NFL careers, with McKinley’s career being tragically cut short. This list is not including other receivers who spent at least some time in the NFL on a practice squad or active roster. Bruce Ellington, Pharoh Cooper, Ace Sanders, KJ Brent, Damiere Byrd, and Tori Gurley just to name several. Many analysts are saying the team is light at the wideout position at Carolina this year. However, I see a group that could absolutely destroy any expectations the national analysts and even Gamecock nation could have for them.

The issue most people see with this group is the lack of experience. This is noted as the top 3 receivers on the depth chart post-spring ball is as follows: Deebo Samuel, Jamari Smith and Bryan Edwards. These three young players alone are enough to give the team some excitement and hope not just for the future but for this season and seasons to come. And don’t forget about the remaining guys: Terry Googer, Christian Owens, Matrick Belton

Jamari Smith has been with the club for several years but has selflessly bounced around from position to position to help fit the team’s needs. He came to Carolina as a running back from Jacksonville Beach’s Fletcher High School. I was fortunate enough to catch a couple of his high school games…let me tell you, the kid is special with the football in his hands. He will take over at the slot position. After selflessly changing from position to position to help fill the team’s needs, it seems he finally found one that could really allow him to showcase his talents. He could lead to some explosive plays out of the slot position to allow for more big plays from Deebo and Edwards on the outside.

Bryan Edwards is a standout 4-star freshman receiver from Conway, SC. With a larger frame of 6’3 and 208 pounds he will give us some physicality on the edge that we have been lacking since Alshon left. He does also have enough speed at his size, 4.53 40-yard dash, to create some vertical challenges to opposing defenses. Edwards is benefiting from a growing trend of athletes registering for spring courses and being able to participate in spring drills and camp. You can already see a chemistry brewing between him and fellow freshman quarterback Brandon McIlwain. It was very evident in the beautiful touchdown pass between the two in the 2016 Garnet and Black spring game.

The man of the hour, the beast that will be unleashed on the southeast this year, Deebo Samuel. The physical mismatch he gives is an instant benefit to the younger QB corps that will take the field this year. He is a solid 6’0 and 205 pounds and gives the offense a viable threat to fend off the physical press corners and making things happen when routes fail. He has the ability to be the go to guy on an offense that is desperately looking for a play maker. Samuel has shown flashes when he was able to get healthy. Go back and watch the tape of the 2015 Clemson game. He seemed to always get open, and when there was coverage he was still able to find a way to move the chains and make the tough catch. Keep in mind that was against a very strong and formidable defense of Clemson last year. Good things just seem to happen when he gets involved with the game plan. He has had the off-season to get healthy and another summer to get a better grasp on the position and offense. This should allow the raw talented player to play the game faster, and to pick up on defensive keys.

Gone are the 2000 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns that Pharoh Cooper provided over the last two years. Gone is the player that could turn a 5-yard slant into a 90-yard touchdown. But it also means is that an opportunity has arrived. An opportunity waiting for a Deebo, Edwards or Smith to add their name to the long list of Gamecocks receivers who have found success not just in the SEC, but in the NFL. The time is now, and the opportunity is theirs. Can Samuel live up to the #1 on his chest? I believe that not only he can, but that he will. Gamecock nation…get ready for what could be a season full of growing pains, but also flashes of future greatness. The Spurrier legacy has ended and we are now in the Coach Boom era.

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Homophobia in sports

By: Damian Adams

sam

One of the biggest stories of the past few years was the story of Michael Sam. Sam was an elite pass rusher at the University of Missouri, winning the SEC (Southeastern Conference) defensive player of the year. There is a lot talent that comes out of the SEC so winning that award is no easy task. A guy with this type of college resume seems like a shoe in to make in the NFL.  Sam was projected to be a 3rd round pick in the NFL draft after his senior year. The narrative of Sam’s story changed drastically when he decided to come out and tell the world he is homosexual. He became the biggest story of the NFL draft that year, his story has gone beyond sports so now everyone in the country was paying attention to him. Sam did not perform well at the NFL combine. (The combine is a chance for NFL prospects to show their athletic and mental skills through workouts and tests.) His stock dropped after the combine and a lot of the experts believed he would get picked in the 4th or 5th round of the draft. Michael Sam did not get picked until the 7th and last round of the draft by the St. Louis Rams. He only played a few preseason games before being cut, he spent some time on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, then after being released by them, had a short stint in the CFL. (Canadian Football League) It is very rare for a former SEC defensive player of the year to fizzle out of professional football as fast as Michael Sam did. Now most of that was because Sam’s skills or lack thereof did not translate to the NFL. I personally believe if he would have never come out as gay. He would have been drafted earlier and still would be in the league now as a special team player and a pass rush specialist.

Why were teams scared to draft the 1st openly gay athlete in the NFL?  Sports is probably the last place where homophobia is still accepted and not looked down upon. When Michael Sam was drafted and that image above of him kissing his boyfriend was put on television, the response from NFL players was not all support. NFL players like Don Jones tweeted “horrible” after seeing the man to man kiss on television. I believe because of player reactions other NFL teams did not believe Michael Sam was worth the trouble. A limited player who is gay on top of that. If he knew he wasn’t talented enough to be a star player, I wonder if he would still come out if he could do it all again?  We will never know.

odell

Last season the New York Giants took on the Carolina Panthers. It was a really good game that the Carolina Panthers won on a field goal as time expired. There were a lot of headlines from this game, but the biggest one was the battle between elite wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr and elite cornerback Josh Norman. The story should have been about two of the top young talents in the NFL going at it, but the main story became the after play shenanigans of these two athletes, which led to Beckham being suspended for a game and Norman being heavily fined.  After the game information started to come out about why these two were behaving in such a way on the field. Reports stated that Norman and other Carolina Panthers taunted Beckham with gay slurs. There is a video of Beckham on the internet looking in the same direction as a guy who bent over. The internet of course took off with this video and started to question Odell’s sexuality. I don’t know if Beckham is gay or not and I don’t care, it doesn’t matter. If Beckham was white, I don’t believe anyone would be questioning is sexuality or care as much. All I know is that Beckham is a top 5 receiver in the NFL and will be good for a long time if he stays healthy. That is all that should matter. If he happens to be gay, then he would not have to worry about getting the Michael Sam treatment because he is definitely worth the distraction. All 32 teams would love to have a wide receiver like Odell Beckham Jr on their team, gay or not. Why did the gay slurs bother him so much?  Why was Josh Norman able to get inside his head?  We don’t know and probably never will but I hope that Odell is able to live his life and still have fun like he does now. He shouldn’t let these types of people get to him on the field or off.  Let Odell live his life and if he wants us to know his sexuality, then we will know it, if not, then we won’t. It really should not matter. Josh Norman signed with the Washington Redskins over the summer so now Norman and Odell will be matched twice this season. Hopefully the story after the games are about the actual games.

rondo

 

During a game last season Sacramento Kings Point Guard Rajon Rondo directed a gay slur at referee Bill Kennedy. According to reports it was known in the league that the referee was gay.  After the game Bill Kennedy came out and said, “he is a proud gay man.” He handled the situation with class and dignity.  The fact that he is gay does not affect his ability to be a good referee. Rondo has since apologized and tweeted that he did not mean to offend anyone in the LGBT community. Rondo was suspended for two games for his actions.

There is a theme with each of these stories, they involve black athletes. I grew up in the south playing sports. We threw around the “F” word with as much comfort as we threw around the “N” word. Now I don’t say either word because I realize the damage each word has done to each community. As black men we tend to look down on gay men. We shouldn’t do that because we are looking at them the same way ignorant white people look at us, as less than. A man’s sexuality should not matter in the world of sports at all. Going forward, I hope we see less of these stories. Black women are able to handle these situations with maturity. The WNBA is full of gay athletes and stories of discrimination or downgrading gay athletes are seen very few and far between. As black athletes and fans, we need to do better and show more acceptance towards people who are different.  Let’s mature black men and show the future Michael Sam’s and Bill Kennedy’s of the world that we have love for them just like we have for our heterosexual brothers and sisters.

 

Should College Student Athletes Get Paid?

 

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Just let that question sink in for a minute. I also want you to imagine you grew up as a poor to middle class kid, and you knew that college wasn’t affordable at a young age. Then during high school because you’re a great athlete you were offered a full ride scholarship. Now your happy and can pursue your dreams. Now, imagine you’re at school hungry because you don’t have enough money to get food.

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Remember in 2014 NCAA Basketball championship game that UCONN men’s team won. Shabazz Napier was talking to the world about how excited he was to be on a winning team, then he dropped the ball on how he was hungry all the time because he didn’t have enough money to cover food. Well shortly after that speech the NCAA agreed on that any athlete scholarship or walk on will have unlimited meals. It took one speech in front of millions of people watching to make that change. Yes, this is great for division one athletes all over the United States, but what if Napier never told the world he was going to bed hungry on live television?

Over the years, I have discussed with people should student athletes get paid? Everyone I had spoken to said Yes. I have to agree with who I spoke to. Universities, especially big ones, make millions of dollars off players. What do players get? Food and shelter. (Some will say that is all they need). That is where you are wrong. People need more than food and shelter, they need grooming supplies, toilet paper, clothes, shoes and other things for everyday life. How are athletes supposed to get any of this if they are at school full-time and always at practice? This is why they need to get paid. I am not talking about making them rich but give them enough to get by.

The Universities should be able to give athletes a weekly or bi-weekly allowance to these kids. Put the money on some type of bank or debit card. Give them a set amount and if the student spends it all in that day that is on them. They should talk to a local store, Wal-Mart or gas station that is near the school to allow the students to shop there using this card. This way students and their parents know their child can provide for themselves. This would help stop some of the shady stuff that Universities do to recruit a kid to their school.

Just think about this, would you be able to send money to your kid every time they need something? Or would you feel better knowing that they are taken care for everything? The NCAA needs to change something for these athletes or they will keep going through this never-ending cycle for a long time.