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There is no Dez Bryant replacement? Dak Prescott, Tony Romo explain hidden value in new Cowboys attack Dak Prescott Jersey sale

The Cowboys lost their No. 1 receiving threat from 2017 when they released Dez Bryant. With Jason Witten’s expected retirement, a second steps away from the depth chart.

How does Dallas replace that? Dallas Cowboys Jerseys For Sale

“I think it’s winning by committee,” Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said Thursday from the NFL Draft Experience. “We have a great running back as you know, a great running game. So to be able to spread the ball all around… we’ve got a lot of weapons still.

“The way we’ll attack, who knows what’s coming.”

Ex-Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said that could work to Dallas’ advantage.

“Initially there will be some success because it’ll be hard for them to determine out who to double team and what they’re going to do defensively,” Romo said Monday from a local U.S. Open qualifier. “It’s going to be a little more random. But what happens is when the tape gets out there throughout the season it gets a little more difficult offensively because now you have tendencies.”

The advantage ends when predictability sets in, Romo said. Defenses knew in 2017 how to account for Prescott’s dual-threat capabilities, Bryant’s physical receiver style and especially slot receiver Cole Beasley’s under routes.

Beasley caught just 36 balls for 314 yards after catching 75 for 833 a year earlier. Bryant’s overall yards increased year to year (838 yards after 796) playing a full 16-game season. But his effectiveness while on the field dropped from 61.2 yards a game to 51.4; 14.9 yards a catch to 12.1.

And though Prescott threw a near identical 22 passing touchdowns and six on the ground after a rookie 23 and six, he made many more mistakes with defenses at the ready.

Prescott threw nine more interceptions, won four fewer games and connected on 5 percent fewer passes in 2017 than 2016. During one three-game stretch of running back Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension, he averaged just 166.6 yards per contest as Dallas was outscored 72-6.

The Cowboys needed to adjust.

“Teams, once they get tape on you, then your big-time players need to step up and create plays,” Romo said. “That’s something they’ll have to work with. But someone will step up.

“It can get difficult if you aren’t throwing the ball consistently outside the numbers to a receiver sometimes. But there are ways to do that, you just have to come up with new ways schematically.”

Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Noah Brown will be among those looking to reinvent themselves schematically under new Cowboys receivers coach Sanjay Lal. The Cowboys also added Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson via free agency; Tavon Austin on a draft-day trade; and Colorado State’s Michael Gallup and Boise State’s Cedrick Wilson through the draft.

Atop Elliott’s expected 16-game availability and second-round pick Connor Williams bolstering the offensive line, it’s the 2018 receivers room – not the 2017 receivers leaving – whom Prescott is focused on.

Sure Witten was “Ol’ Faithful” on and off the field and “we’ll miss Dez – that’ll be known,” Prescott said.

“But for the most part,” he continued, “it’s about moving forward, making this team better and making this team the best team it can be.

“We’re excited for that.”

If Dallas’ offense gels even after weeks of tape pile on the new receiver crop, Cowboys fans will be, too.

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Experts say Michael Gallup will make Dak Prescott a happy quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys

If the experts are to be believed, Michael Gallup’s Dallas Cowboys jersey is going to be a popular item.

The selection of the former CSU star wide receiver by the Cowboys in the third round of the NFL draft is being widely applauded nationally.

In his two years at Colorado State University, the JUCO transfer had 176 catches (fifth in school history) for 2,685 yards (sixth at CSU) and 21 touchdowns (tied for second).

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Gallup’s all-around, NFL-ready game has experts excited for his potential as an immediate impact player.

Here’s a look at what experts are saying about the Cowboys picking Gallup 81st overall with the 17th pick in the third round of the NFL draft: wholesale authentic jerseys

USA Today
Gallup is one of the 10 steals of the draft, according to USA TODAY.

“He might not make fans forget about Dez Bryant in his prime, but he’s what the offense needs right now…Gallup could form a quick rapport with Dak Prescott,” writes Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz.

The Athletic
Jeff Cavanaugh couldn’t be much more excited about the selection, calling it his “favorite” pick the Cowboys have made in the last five years.

“Guys who are good at everything aren’t very common in the NFL. Gallup isn’t an elite athlete and he wasn’t gifted with elite size — but he is a great football player,” Cavanaugh writes.

He’s not the biggest, fastest or tallest receiver, but he does everything well and that will “make him the best receiver on the Cowboys roster by the end of the 2018 season,” predicts Cavanaugh.

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NFL.com
The sleeper pick for the Cowboys is Gallup who will “have the opportunity to contribute early,” says Gennaro Filice, who includes Gallup as one of the main reasons for giving the Cowboys an A draft grade.

Sports Illustrated
Andy Benoit grades the pick of Gallup as a B-minus.

ESPN
While Gallup as a replacement for Bryant comparison is natural, ESPN’s Todd Archer writes that the Cowboys don’t need Gallup to be Bryant and he can be worked in slowly if needed.

“He might not time the fastest, but he plays fast and is productive with the ball in his hands,” Archer said.

Bleacher Report
Marcus Mosher gives the Cowboys an A in drafting Gallup in the third round and also feels like he could be Prescott’s top target by the end of his rookie season.

“Gallup may not be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL, but he has the potential to be a high-end No. 2 receiver in the league and may be able to do so right away. Gallup should be able to compete for snaps as a rookie, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he ends up being the best receiver on the roster by the end of 2018,” Mosher writes.

Wholesale Steelers Antonio Brown Black NFL Limited Jersey

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NFL super star Antonio Brown of the Steelers returned to CMU specially for NFL 2018 Spring Game. Wholesale Antonio Brown Jerseys.

At Central Michigan University, from Antonio Brown’s freshman to junior college year, he was in Mount Pleasant.

Brown made his return to the small town that developed him into a National Football League superstar on April 21 for CMU’s Spring Game.

“It’s always an honor to come back where things started to see the environment,” Brown said. “It’s still a championship culture and there’s a lot of love and support out here.

“We are trying to bring the MAC championship here.”

The 5-foot-10, 181-pound nine-year NFL player has been back to CMU three or four times since his departure after the 2009 season. Brown has a close relationship with Michael Alford, the athletic director of the Chippewas.

“Michael (Alford) means everything,” Brown said. “He’s been doing it for a long time and has built great relationships. He knows what it means to step the facilities and program up. He’s excited about doing it and we are looking forward to seeing the changes around here.”

In his three-year career in the Maroon and Gold, Brown caught 305 passes for 3,199 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also made 72 carries for 531 yards and four scores. On kickoffs and punt returns, Brown logged five touchdowns.

Brown went from Miami Norland High School to CMU, a mid-major program, and became a sixth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. He said anyone can make it, even someone from a Mid-American Conference school.

“(The NFL) scouts every school,” Brown said. “It doesn’t matter where you are at. If you’re doing the right things, they will find you. Central Michigan is a great program to come out of. It’s just important to stay hungry and motivated.”

To Brown, one of the greatest things about Mount Pleasant is the rural feel. He spent long nights at Kelly/Shorts Stadium throughout his career with CMU to make it as a star in the NFL.

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“The comradery and bonds built here,” Brown said. “(I enjoyed) being zoned out from everything with my teammates. I remember us being here so much in the summertime grinding when nobody was around.

“There a lot of work that went into this stadium. A lot of summers and long nights, so this is what it’s all about.”

When he was an 18-year-old kid, Brown was growing and maturing while at CMU. He said nobody believed in him back then, but that was really just motivation.

“This is where it all began,” Brown said. “Nobody believed when I was here, and nobody thought I’d be where I’m at. It’s all about doing things people wouldn’t expect you to do while coming from a place they wouldn’t expect you to come from.

“No matter who you are or how tall you are, you write your own story,” Brown said. “Anyone can make it.”

Former CMU quarterback Shane Morris finished his time as a Chippewa after the 2017 season. In the winter, he trained in Miami, Florida at Bommarito Performance Systems and was introduced to Brown Steelers jerseys for sale.

Morris is throwing with Brown on Sunday morning to learn from his knowledge of the NFL.

“I met him down in Miami when I was training because he also trains at the same place as me,” Morris said. “It’ll be good to throw with him.”

Throughout his NFL career, Brown has caught 733 passes for 9,910 yards and 59 touchdowns.

The love throughout the community is what continues to bring Brown back to Mount Pleasant.

“There’s a lot of love from the kids, community and students,” Brown said. “It’s an honor to be here.”

As a star in the NFL, one thing remains consistent – Brown is a Chippewa for life.

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Antonio Brown adds garbage-can hurdles, Rocky-inspired jogs to offseason

No one does the offseason quite like Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who pops up in random gyms in South Florida, hangs with celebrities, shoots Drake videos and sits courtside at Miami Heat games.

Brown’s latest wrinkle shows a championship-style approach to South Beach. Brown is training with literally anyone who wants to join him.

When he’s not clearing garbage cans, he’s running with kids who are chanting ‘AB-AB-AB’ alongside him. Rapper Jim Jones joins him, Antonio Brown jersey sale.

At age 29, Brown is focused on protecting his top spot in the receiving pantheon. That means punishing every workout.

“I hated every minute of training,” Brown wrote in a recent Instagram post. “But I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”

While Le’Veon Bell’s future in Pittsburgh is in doubt after receiving his second consecutive franchise tag, Brown is set to play out most or all of his four-year contract extension. The Steelers just reworked his deal to save the team salary cap space. By kicking 2018 money down the line to future years, the Steelers remind they aren’t expecting him to slow down any time soon.

Neither is Brown.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston delivers FSU student scholarship

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers players are no strangers to media coverage. Not all of it is always good. So, when the opportunity arises, it’s important for us to see these guys out and about doing good deeds and changing lives. Girls Youth Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jameis Winston Pink Bubble Gum Jersey.

Jameis Winston recently had an opportunity to execute one of these great tasks as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback got the pleasure of delivering some great news to one deserving Florida State student.

Winston has been at Florida State working out and was able to participate in a moment the student seen in the video will surely remember for the rest of his life.

Identified as Casey Jackson, the sophomore reportedly knew he was getting the scholarship. He just didn’t know how it would come.

Many fans of Winston get autographs but very few will ever have the type of experience Jackson just did, as one of his favorite NFL players jerseys and fellow Seminole got to hand deliver potentially life changing news.

It’s hard to ignore the looming investigation the NFL is reportedly engaged in with Winston regarding an incident which allegedly occurred in Arizona in 2016.

Earlier this off-season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter voiced frustrations with the pace of the investigation.

It’s easy to linger on negatives involving players such as Winston, and at times he’s done himself no favors in that regard.

However, in this moment, it’s equally important to take time and applaud the young leader for seizing the opportunity to influence others.

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Bucs’ Jameis Winston, DeSean Jackson working to make Year 2 ‘different’

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver DeSean Jackson are making good on their promise to attack their offseason program this year and improve their chemistry heading in 2018.

Jackson posted a photo on Instagram of himself and Winston working out together Tuesday at Florida State. He captioned the photo, “Bac at it wit da young fella [Winston]. Year 2 wit bra gonna b sumthin different.”

Last week, Winston responded to a story in the Tampa Bay Times that questioned what the Bucs should do with Jackson after an underwhelming 2017, saying, “We got this! I personally will make sure we show how valuable DeSean Jackson is to our team and [the] NFL.”

The Bucs signed Jackson last offseason to a three-year deal worth up to $35 million with $20 million guaranteed. But in Year 1, the two struggled, particularly on the deep ball, which has been Jackson’s forte since he first got into the league.

The feeling inside One Buc Place has been that Winston’s shoulder injury compromised his velocity and accuracy downfield, and that Jackson was winning his routes. They haven’t noticed any drop-off in his speed, either.

“We did not get the production out of DeSean. And when I say ‘production out of DeSean,’ when you go back and look at the tape, we have a tape of just plays where we didn’t hit DeSean,” Koetter said. “DeSean was where he was supposed to be. He was either behind the defense, in between the corner and the safety, or he was in position to make explosive plays and we didn’t get the ball to him. So that’s on myself; it’s on Jameis to do better.”

The intent was there. Jackson had 15.82 air yards per target last season, the highest of any player in the league. But Winston completed just 16 of 53 (30.2 percent) of his passes of 20 or more air yards downfield — 23rd in the league. Jackson caught five passes thrown for 20-plus yards last year (20 percent of the attempts). In 2016 with Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, Jackson caught 16 of those passes (50 percent of the attempts).

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“I think DeSean and Jameis have both said that they need to spend more time working together, and I think they’re addressing that,” coach Dirk Koetter said. “When Jameis got cleared to throw this offseason, I think they started working on that. But that is definitely something that, when we get back, our chance to take control of that as coaches, that’s something that we’ll be working on.”

In addition to outside practices, Jackson needs to be around for more OTAs. Jackson was noticeably absent for a few of them last year. While attendance isn’t mandatory for those practices, the players Winston has had the most success with — wide receiver Mike Evans, tight end Cameron Brate and wide receiver Adam Humphries — have each had close to 100 percent participation in OTAs and have devoted extra time to working with Winston the past three years.

Antonio Brown, DeAngelo Williams set history back in 2015

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Brown and Williams became the first pair of teammates combined to gain over 500 yards of total offense since 1960.

On November 8, 2015, Antonio Brown and DeAngelo Williams achieved something that hasn’t been done in the NFL in over half a century.

In the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 38-35 win over the Oakland Raiders, Brown and Williams gained 531 of the Steelers’ 597 total yards. The duo became the first pair of teammates combined to gain over 500 yards of total offense since 1960.

Brown, the team’s MVP that season, set franchise records with 17 catches for 284 yards, and also had 22 yards rushing on two carries. Williams gained 170 yards on the ground and had an additional 55 yards on two catches along with scoring two touchdowns.

“He’s delivered for us time and time again,’’ Mike Tomlin said of Williams after the game, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Steelers needed every bit of Williams and Brown’s yardage, as Pittsburgh’s defense was unable to stop Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr, who threw for 301 yards and four touchdowns. Carr’s final touchdown of the game, a 38-yard toss to Michael Crabtree, tied the score at 38-all with 1:15 remaining. But despite Ben Roethlisberger leaving the game with a mid-foot sprain, Pittsburgh responded, with Brown catching a 57-yard pass from Landry Jones to set up Chris Boswell’s game winning field goal with four seconds remaining.

“We played like [garbage] on defense,’’ Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward said after the game. “We have to get better.’”

The win came a week after the team lost running back Le’Veon Bell for the season with a torn MCL in Pittsburgh’s loss to Cincinnati. The victory over the Raiders jumpstarted a three-game winning streak that saw Pittsburgh climb back into playoff contention after a 4-4 start. The Steelers would finish the season with a 10-6 record while capturing the AFC’s final playoff spot. Pittsburgh would win their first playoff game in four years following their narrow victory over the Bengals in the AFC wild card round. Despite playing without Brown (who was concussed by Vontaze Burfict near the end of Pittsburgh’s win over Cincinnati), the Steelers nearly upset the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos in Denver in the divisional round.

While 2015 was Brown’s greatest statistical season (he caught 136 passes for 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns), it was also a memorable year for Williams. Signed by the Steelers during that offseason, Williams, who started 10 games in Bell’s absence that season, tied for the NFL lead with 11 rushing touchdowns while helping Pittsburgh quality for the postseason for the second consecutive year.

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Steelers WR Antonio Brown switches up offseason routine with unorthodox beach workout

Pittsburgh Steelers superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown continues to be hard at work during the NFL offseason in hopes of getting his team back to the Super Bowl. This week, Brown hit the beach down in Miami in order to further his training and posted multiple videos and photos to his Instagram account showing his routine off.

After going from a sixth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft to being the best receiver in the league, Brown continues to inspire others around him with his never-say-die work ethic.

Brown is seen hurdling trash cans, running through the sand with fans and rapper Jim Jones, going hard in the gym, as well as other exercises.

“I hated every minute of training,” Brown said. “But I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”

Pittsburgh Steelers superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown continues to be hard at work during the NFL offseason in hopes of getting his team back to the Super Bowl. This week, Brown hit the beach down in Miami in order to further his training and posted multiple videos and photos to his Instagram account showing his routine off.

After going from a sixth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft to being the best receiver in the league, Brown continues to inspire others around him with his never-say-die work ethic.

Brown is seen hurdling trash cans, running through the sand with fans and rapper Jim Jones, going hard in the gym, as well as other exercises.

“I hated every minute of training,” Brown said. “But I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”

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Last month, the Steelers even reworked Brown’s contract in order to save the team salary cap space. With that being said, do not expect Brown to slow down anytime soon as he is still very much so in the prime of his career.

A Super Bowl victory is the ultimate goal for Brown, as he looks to return to the big game for the first time since Super Bowl XLV when the Steelers squared off against the Green Bay Packers back in 2011.

In 115 career regular season games with Pittsburgh, Brown has made a whopping 733 catches for 9,910 yards and 59 touchdown receptions. Over the last five seasons, the 29-year-old star receiver has made at least 100 catches each year.

Were the Scouting Reports Right? – Darron Lee

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If you told me to grade myself at the end of my rookie year on an A-D scale, I’d give a D-minus.

I hold myself to very high standards, which is what made it difficult when my position coach, Mike Caldwell, gave me an offseason checklist. It was hard not because I couldn’t do it, but because I already knew what was on it — study, master my footwork, improve my coverage skills. Simply put, I knew I had to step up in my second year.

Once Dave [Harris] left, I took it as a signal that I needed to speed up my learning curve regardless of who takes over the Mike. I was brought here to make splash plays. I know I’m a young guy at 23 years old, but you have to act older than your age in this league and I feel like my maturity is one of the reasons I’m here.

I felt good going into training camp as I knew what to expect. Playbook — check. Calls — check. This year it was time to just go out and compete. Deep breath. 3…2…1…

I didn’t exhale until we lost in Oakland. I kept inhaling and I didn’t relax. We just allowed 370 rushing yards in two games and that was going to be the end of that story. It was a huge reality check. I was trying to control everything instead of focusing on my assignments and that’s not how this game goes. You can only control your job. Now it’s nice and smooth on the field. I inhale and exhale.

When I settled in, that’s when the fun began. I was comfortable, hungry. I diagnosed plays quicker, I was bringing down the ball carrier behind the line and covering a lot better. Demario [Davis] and I played off each other, making sure we had each other’s backs. He set us up, I honed in on offensive checks and alerted the guys what’s coming. My personal favorite is when you call their play out and you’re right. When everybody on offense looks at you after you call the play, that’s how you know you hit the nail on the head. It’s so much fun. That’s why we were able to play fast. We started doing that in Week 3.

Even though I’m better than my rookie season, don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of splash plays I can make to help change the outcome of the game. We’re right there. Look at all the close games we played in. That’s the best part.

Moving forward, my main focus is turning our hard work into wins. I want to better myself, but I always want to do so in a position where our team is expected to win games instead of everybody counting us out. That’s the next step and that’s a huge hill to climb, but it’s possible.

Let me tell you this, Wholesale Jets Jerseys Nation — greatness is forming inside these walls. Everybody is confident and no one is worried. We’re all sticking together and going out to get better every single day. That’s the beauty of this. We know we’re a young team, we know we’re a hungry team. If you quit, you’re never going to know how good you could be, so that’s why we’re going to keep pushing each other. I’m really looking forward to the growth. We know if we keep chipping away, we’re eventually going to get to the pot of gold.

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Were the Scouting Reports Right? – Darron Lee

Previously, I looked back at the predraft scouting reports of all 2017 Jets rookies to earn significant playing time. With that class in the books, let’s rewind the clock one year and start looking back at the scouting reports of the 2016 Jets draft class.

We’ll start with the 20th pick of the 2016 draft, Darron Lee. Here is a look at the positives of his scouting report, as seen on NFL.com:

Quick to diagnose and flow to the ball. Has unusual ability to find the most efficient routes to the ball. Has athleticism and flexibility to contort his body and succeed through difficult tackle angles. Plays with loose hips, quick feet and desired agility of an NFL weak-side linebacker. Former high school quarterback with the change of direction and speed to be a rangy playmaker. Comfortable in space and excels there. Has plus man cover talent. Willing to stand in and take on blockers with a leveraged strike if his gap is being threatened. Capable gap blitzer with ability to get skinny through the holes.

What seems right?

Yikes. I don’t want to be overly harsh, but there is little from this section I saw from Lee on a weekly basis over the past two years. Is he athletic? Sure, I guess. He doesn’t look like a slug out there, but would any NFL athlete look like one at that raw age? Because, I don’t think he’s a speed demon either. Really, the only part of this I can agree with is that he looks to have somewhat above-average athleticism, but I can’t agree on elite.
What seems off?

“Quick to diagnose and flow to the ball. Has unusual ability to find the most efficient routes to the ball” – In year one, Lee could not do these things. He had more moments of smart play in year two, but he still struggles to consistently do exactly what this scouting report says he was good at doing; finding quick, efficient routes to the football.
“Comfortable in space and excels there. Has plus man cover talent.” No and no, in my opinion. His man coverage ability, though the Jets have thrown him a lot of difficult cover assignments over David Harris and Demario Davis, has not yielded positive results. In space, he takes poor angles and isn’t a great finisher.
“Willing to stand in and take on blockers with a leveraged strike if his gap is being threatened.” I’m not sure about this either. Lee doesn’t seem like a very physical linebacker, and he too often is responsible for leaving gaping holes up the middle.
His weaknesses:

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Smallish linebacker. Play strength doesn’t come close to matching puffed up listed weight. Balance issues at point of attack could plague him over his NFL career. Has the body type of a big safety. Tape shows few authoritative tackles. Involved in too many arm and shoestring tackles. Comes flying in and fails to come to balance at times. Charged with 21 missed and five broken tackles over the last two seasons. Always at size disadvantage and will have to learn to slip more blocks. Can get better at finding targets in zone coverage.

What seems right?

All of these weaknesses seemed to still plague Lee in 2017. He is absolutely small for the position. I would agree he is less physical than ideal. “Tape shows few authoritative tackles. Involved in too many arm and shoestring tackles.” – I definitely think his ratio of crushing tackles to whiffs is bad. Really, this entire section can still apply if you were writing a report on Lee’s NFL profile.
What seems off?

I can’t disagree with anything in this section.

All of the question marks surrounding Lee on draft day have been issues throughout his NFL career, and they have held him back from utilizing his best traits to their fullest potential. He is definitely the kind of player I thought the Jets were getting; an athletic, but undersized linebacker who takes on a lot of coverage responsibilities. He just hasn’t developed as quickly as hoped.

I will say that I thought Darron Lee took a step forward this year. Specifically in the middle of the year, he had a stretch of games where he really seemed to be putting it together. His 2017 was overall better than his 2016, but it was a case of moving from awful to less awful. He still needs to get better with his recognition, coverage, and tackling. He has solid athleticism for the position and has showcased the ability to string some solid games together. Can he overcome his size deficiency and become a disciplined enough player to complete a full season of quality play? Still only 23 years old, Lee was a very young prospect who has had a lot on his plate early in his career. He’s entering year three, though. It’s time for him to learn from all of those early experiences and start producing like a first-round pick, since that title alone isn’t going to buy him playing time much longer.

Julian Edelman showing more encouraging signs returning from torn ACL

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Last week, Julian Edelman posted a video to social media of him working out Mens New England Patriots Julian Edelman Nike Red Alternate Game Jersey, as he comes back from a torn ACL. This week, Edelman took things a step further by posting a video of him doing a lot more than just running in a straight line.

With Edelman suffering the injury last August and no reported setbacks, it would seem likely he will be present at the start of training camp in July.

Here’s the videos of Edelman working out.

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Julian Edelman met fans at Boston’s Verizon Destination store

Patriots star Julian Edelman met fans at Boston’s Verizon Destination store on Friday night.

Some fans waited for over three hours to see the wide-receiver.

Edelman was at the store, located on Boylston Street, between 5:30-7 p.m. for the launch of the new Galaxy S9.

Edelman posted on Instagram about the event and said, “I’ll be at the @verizon Destination Store in Boston tomorrow, 3/16 for the launch of the @samsungmobileusa Galaxy S9. Come hang out! 45 Boylston St. from 5:30-7pm.”

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Julian Edelman’s health a key for Patriots in 2018

With the 2017 season in the books, the Providence Journal will take a look at each position group on the Patriots, analyzing how the team performed last season and where it might be heading in the future.

Wide Receivers

Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett, Kenny Britt, Cody Hollister, Riley McCarron, Bernard Reedy.

Contract situation: The Patriots are set to return almost everyone from last year’s roster.

Cooks will enter 2018 on the final year of his rookie deal. The Patriots already exercised his fifth-year option so he’ll count as an $8.459 million cap hit. Edelman is under contract for the next two seasons. He’ll count for around $4.166 million this season and around $4.66 million in 2019.

Hogan enters 2018 on the final year of his contract. He’s on the books for around $3.281 million this season. Mitchell enters the third year of his rookie deal and is under contract for the next two seasons. He counts as a $774,498 cap hit in 2018 and an $864,498 cap hit in 2019.

Dorsett is in the final year of his rookie deal (in the event the Patriots don’t exercise his $8.135 million fifth-year option). The receiver is due to make around $1.544 million in 2018. Britt is set to count as a $1.468 million cap hit in 2018. That is not guaranteed. Reedy has a base salary of $555,000 in 2018. The Pats signed Hollister and McCarron to futures contracts.

Amendola enters the offseason as a free agent.

2017 review: Injuries took a toll on the team’s depth.

Things started poorly when Edelman was lost for the season in August with a torn ACL. Mitchell also was lost for the season with a knee injury. That left Tom Brady focusing on Cooks, Amendola and Hogan. Things were going well, but then Hogan missed about half the season because of a shoulder injury.

In his first season with the Patriots, Cooks finished seventh in the NFL in yards per reception (16.6). He finished second on the team in receptions (65), receiving yards (1,082) and receiving touchdowns (seven). Cooks joined Randy Moss and Wes Welker as the only receivers with over 1,000 receiving yards in their first season with Brady. He played well in the AFC Championship Game, catching six passes for 100 yards, but was knocked out of the Super Bowl with a concussion.

Amendola was great in 2017. He battled injuries, but finished third on the team in receptions (61) and yards (659). Once again, he came up huge in the playoffs, catching 26 passes for 348 yards. Amendola caught eight passes for 152 yards in the Super Bowl.

Hogan looked bound for a career year before a shoulder injury caused him to miss seven of the last eight games. He caught 34 passes for 439 yards and five touchdowns in nine games. In Super Bowl LII, Hogan caught six passes for 128 yards and a score.

Dorsett never really caught on. The 25-year-old caught 12 passes for 194 yards last season. In the playoffs, he caught two passes for 50 yards. Britt, signed late in the year, was inactive for all three postseason games. He caught two passes for 23 yards in three regular-season games with the Patriots.

The future: It makes sense for the Patriots to bring back Amendola. He’s on the same page as Brady and one of the best clutch performers in franchise history. He’ll turn 33 next season, so it might not cost the team a king’s ransom.

The depth chart hinges on the health of Edelman and Mitchell. Edelman, who turns 32 in May, appears to be on track to return. It’s worth watching if Mitchell can also make a full recovery. Add those two with Cooks and Hogan and the Patriots have ample depth. Add in Amendola and they’ll be rolling. At that point, can Britt or Dorsett make the team?

Of course, with two receivers over 30, the team could always get younger. With Cooks and Hogan entering contract years, the Patriots could look for additional youth.

Slot receiver Jarvis Landry confident his excitement about Browns will be vindicated

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Jarvis Landry sensed skepticism Thursday as the charismatic slot receiver gushed about the future he envisions for the Browns during his introductory news conference.

“I think when I say it, not too many people believe me,” Landry said. “Even looking out, I still don’t think too many people believe me, but I’m very excited about the opportunity that’s in front of us, about the guys in this building, about the coaches that are in this building and about the city of Cleveland. I am looking forward to it.”

The Browns are banking on Landry providing a vital ingredient to what they hope will be a turnaround in the aftermath of an 0-16 season.

New Browns General Manager John Dorsey acquired Landry, quarterback Tyrod Taylor and safety Damarious Randall in a flurry of trades March 9 and signed seven more veterans Thursday via free agency. An aggressive roster makeover is in full swing, and more high-profile additions are looming with the Browns in possession of the first and fourth overall picks in next month’s draft.

“We are bound to make a splash here,” Landry said.

For the Browns to fulfill Landry’s prophecy, he must live up to the hype in his new NFL home.

Dorsey dealt a fourth-round pick (No. 123 overall) this year and a seventh-round choice next year to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for Landry. He made the Pro Bowl in each of the past three years, twice as an alternate, and led the NFL with 112 catches last season. No player in league history has more receptions in his first four seasons than Landry’s 400 — Anquan Boldin is next on the list with 58 fewer catches. And Landry eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in 2015 (1,157) and 2016 (1,136).

“He has marvelous stats,” Dorsey said. “He has a presence about him and the way he plays the game. I think he will be ideal in the slot receiver position.

“He’s one of those guys that we consistently talk about — are they competitive, do they love the game of football? I think he fits that model.”

Landry signed the franchise tag the Dolphins placed on him, clearing the path for a trade and locking him into a one-year, $15.982 million contract.

Does he anticipate playing under the tag next season or signing a long-term deal before then?

“Right now, for me, I’m excited to be a Brown,” he said. “My agent is handling all of that type of stuff behind closed doors. I am excited about the future here, and that is what I can speak about.”

Dorsey didn’t want to comment but offered a hint of optimism.

“I don’t like to talk about the business of football players in this format,” he said. “I see long-term success for him in this organization. That is what I look forward to.”

Landry, 25, is determined to hold up his end of the bargain, and he’s certain new Browns wide receivers coach Adam Henry will push him to the limit. Henry was the position coach for Landry and New York Giants three-time Pro Bowl receiver Odell Beckham Jr. when they played together at Louisiana State University.

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“A lot of the things I have accomplished are a credit to [Henry],” said Landry, 5-foot-11 and 208 pounds. “So to be back in his hands again, I’m excited about what the future holds.”

The thought of being paired with 2013 All-Pro selection Josh Gordon has Landry giddy about the Browns as well.

“I know Flash,” Landry said. “I had the opportunity to meet him a couple of times, just talking. As far as a duo, I think that’s a good term. I think with the weapons we have, everybody is a viable option. You have the tight end [David] Njoku, [running back] Carlos Hyde, [receiver] Corey Coleman and myself. Tyrod, whether he’s throwing the ball or running, I think it’s almost like a pick-your-poison type of offense.”

Landry’s relationship and chemistry with Taylor, who went 22-21, including 0-1 in the playoffs, as the starting quarterback of the Buffalo Bills the past three seasons, will be crucial to their success in 2018. They met when Landry was still in college and have kept in contact through the years. Landry caught a pass from Taylor in the Pro Bowl in 2016. Landry explained when he learned he had been traded to the Browns, he didn’t immediately know they were also dealing for Taylor.

“That was really just more icing on the cake for me,” he said.

Coach Hue Jackson said the confidence of Landry and Taylor rejuvenates him.

“It gives me back my swag,” Jackson said with a laugh. “His nickname is Juice, Juice Landry. He does have juice. He’s a tremendous football player. Obviously, his stats speak for themselves. He’s a proven football player in the building who has a lot of intensity and a lot of pride about what he does. You look at Tyrod and the way he carries himself, you can tell he is very proud of his accomplishments. I know everybody is talking about the past and what has gone on here. I don’t think that is what fazes him.”

Speaking of the past, keep in mind the Dolphins wanted to trade Landry. Last season, he had an on-field shouting match with coach Adam Gase and was ejected from the finale for instigating a fight with the Bills. Landry wouldn’t concede he clashed with Gase, but the Dolphins obviously thought a change of scenery made sense.

“A different direction, it’s what they wanted to have with the team,” Landry said. “I was blessed and fortunate enough to have the opportunity to come play for the Cleveland Browns, and I’m excited about that.”

If Landry has it his way, his enthusiasm about the Browns will soon be easier to comprehend.

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Jarvis Landry sends ‘Thank you’ tweet to Dolphins fans

Jarvis Landry, the former Miami Dolphins wide receiver who was officially traded to Cleveland on Wednesday, penned a “Thank You” letter to Miami, Dolphins fans, his teammates and a few others, including former general manager Dennis Hickey, via Twitter on Wednesday night.

“MIAMI THANK YOU. THE FANS, My TEAMMATES.. FOR THE EXPERIENCE THESE PAST 4 YEARS. I CANT TELL YOU WHAT IT HAS MEANT TO ME AND MY FAMILY. FOREVER GRATEFUL TO MR. ROSS, MR. HICKEY, AND PHIL McGeoghan FOR BELIEVING IN ME. IM EXTREMELY EXCITED FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER OF MY CAREER,” the tweet said.

Landry, Miami’s 2014 second-round pick, led the NFL in receptions last year with 112. His 400 career receptions are the most for an NFL player through his first four seasons.

Landry, one of the Dolphins’ best offensive players during his time with the team, was known for being a passionate player who always played hard, which sometimes surfaced in hot-tempered outbursts. But he was always regarded as someone who considered himself blessed to be in the NFL, and that sentiment seemed to come through in the letter.

Landry thanked owner Steve Ross, Hickey, who was general manager when Landry was drafted, and wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan, who tutored Landry in his first two NFL seasons (2014-15).

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Marcus Peters disagrees with Chiefs’ Alex Smith trade: He ‘don’t get enough respect’

A month ago, cornerback Marcus Peters and quarterback Alex Smith were teammates on the Kansas City Chiefs. Now, after two blockbuster trades in the past month, neither Peters nor Smith reside in Kansas City. Smith is the Redskins’ new quarterback while Peters is the Rams’ new top cornerback.

On Monday, Peters appeared on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access.” There, he was asked about the Chiefs’ trade of Smith. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise given Peters was just traded by the Chiefs (he’s not exactly a neutral third party), but he doesn’t agree with their decision to trade away Smith.

“No,” he said, via NFL.com. “Man, Alex, Alex don’t get enough respect. And they need to start putting some respect on that man’s name. Because I’ve seen that man get thrown under the bus too many times and he took it as a man. And he never complained about it. He don’t turn over the ball. And he know how to win.”

Peters has a point, though. Smith has often been mocked by many (including me) because of his conservative playing style, which can lead to a frustrating viewing experience. Heck, Football Outsiders even named an advanced statistic after him (Air Less EXpected), which “measures the average difference between how far a quarterback threw a pass (air yards) and how many yards he needed for a first down.”

But to Peters’ point, Smith has won pretty consistently since he arrived in Kansas City. From 2013-17, Smith posted a 50-26 record as a starter, completed 65.1 percent of his passes, threw 102 touchdowns and 33 interceptions, and accumulated a 94.8 passer rating. Tons of teams would kill for numbers like that out of their own quarterback. Impressively, Smith posted the league’s highest passer rating (131.4) on throws that traveled 20 yards downfield in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus.

Unfortunately, Smith hasn’t been able to lead the Chiefs to much postseason success, going 1-4 as the starter in the playoffs. In his final playoff start with the team, the Chiefs blew a 18-point halftime lead to the Titans. Just before the Super Bowl, Kansas City — which drafted Patrick Mahomes in the first round of the 2017 Draft — sent Smith to Washington. Now, he will be tasked with leading the Redskins to playoff success, which eluded Kirk Cousins during his time in Washington.

“That was our fault for messing up the playoffs,” Peters said. “That was our fault.”

As for Peters, he’s one of the best cornerbacks in football, having notched a league-high 19 interceptions since entering the league in 2015. Even still, with off-the-field concerns clearly factoring in, the Chiefs shopped him around after the season and eventually sent him to the Rams for a pretty underwhelming haul. Peters shouldn’t be too upset, as he’s going from one playoff team to another. Neither should Smith, who knew ever since the selection of Mahomes that he didn’t factor into the Chiefs’ long-term plans. He avoided a destination like Cleveland and got a new contract from Washington. And the Chiefs are probably happy to move on from Peters and get a solid return for Smith (a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller) when they have the future of their franchise already on their roster.

Technically, Peters and Smith are still members of the Chiefs because the trades can’t be finalized until mid March, but they’re both as good as gone. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are set to enter the 2018 season with a new quarterback and without their top playmaker on defense. Most importantly, the Chiefs helped get us through the dead portion of the NFL calendar in February by making two huge trades. We all owe them for that.

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Dorsey weighs difference between Alex Smith and AJ McCarron

This isn’t Alex Smith II for John Dorsey, but AJ McCarron passes at least one of the new GM’s tests of what the Browns are looking for in their quarterback stable.

Browns fans groaned in harmony over the AJ McCarron trade, for reasons an octave apart.

Some wailed over the incompetence of submitting paperwork too late, a flub that turned it into no trade at all.

Some hated the fact anyone wanted McCarron in the first place. The franchise has waited nearly 20 years for a quarterback, and this is what they come up with?

With free agency opening next week and a powerful new general manager in place, there really is only one question behind the new noise surrounding McCarron.

Does John Dorsey think McCarron can play?

Dorsey’s other big question has been answered. Can the incoming QB mesh with the head coach?

Flash back to 2013, when Dorsey was the new GM of a Chiefs team coming off a 2-14 year (with Brady Quinn as its most frequent QB). Dorsey says his first thought was, “We need to get a quarterback.”

Alex Smith was available. In Dorsey’s mind, the former No. 1 overall draft pick got past the question, “Can he play?” Next question: Would Smith rhyme with Andy Reid?

“Having the mindset of the head coach is important,” Dorsey said. “Alex’s mannerisms and mindset were the same as Andy’s. That was really interesting.”

In 2014, the Bengals drafted McCarron with the blessing of Hue Jackson, who had just been promoted to offensive coordinator. Jackson and McCarron were in their second year together when Andy Dalton got hurt. McCarron went 2-2 as the replacement. The second loss would have been a playoff win over Pittsburgh if not for bonehead actions by teammates.

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Flash forward to last Oct. 31. Jackson was so eager to get McCarron he deemed him worth a high second-round draft pick. The trade almost got finished.

It wasn’t Dorsey’s idea. The Browns didn’t hire him until a month later. Now, whether to chase McCarron is Dorsey’s call. And this is NOT Alex Smith II.

While it is true the 2013 Chiefs needed a quarterback and owned the No. 1 overall draft pick, the draft crop was scraggly. EJ Manuel became the first QB selected, at No. 16 overall, followed by Geno Smith at No. 39.

Dorsey and Reid needed Smith. He was 28 years old and had been a No. 1 overall pick. After looking like a bust through a few years, he was doing intriguing things. The 49ers had moved on to Colin Kaepernick, glad to get what they could for Smith in a trade.

At the time of the deal, Smith’s record as a 49ers starter was 38-36-1. That’s a bit different than McCarron’s 2-2 through four seasons in Cincinnati.

Also different is this year’s QB draft crop, perceived to be at least decent and perhaps quite good.

As in Kansas City, Dorsey has been staked to the No. 1 pick, but he also gets No. 4 overall. He might like to have McCarron as an option, but McCarron certainly lacks the leverage Smith wielded five years ago.

Smith was a No. 1 pick who finally semi-blossomed. McCarron was the ninth quarterback drafted in 2014.

Jackson has seen enough to make an educated projection, and McCarron’s profile has changed since he was drafted, Still, it is worth noting that Dorsey’s 2014 Chiefs drafted a QB at No. 163 overall, and it was Aaron Murray, not McCarron, who went to Cincinnati at No. 164.

McCarron is about the age Smith was when he joined Dorsey in KC, but he would arrive with almost no pro game experience. His entire workload in 2017 was 14 passes against the Bears and Vikings. He didn’t attempt a pass in 2016. His last serious action was the crazy playoff loss to Pittsburgh (23-of-41, 212 yards, a TD, an interception).

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During the 2014 predraft, NFL.com analyst Nolan Nawrocki called him “an efficient game manager who showed at times he can carry an offense, but was more dependent on a terrific supporting in cast at Alabama. His best grades are for intangibles and decision-making. He could earn an NFL starting job.”

Analyst Mike Mayock suspected McCarron dropped in the draft partly because he skipped the 2014 Senior Bowl.

“He lost an opportunity,” Mayock said at the time. ”(Jimmy) Garoppolo stepped in and impressed people.

“AJ is better than the ‘average Alabama quarterback,’ though. I think he’ll be a second- or third-round pick.”

At time time, Alabama coach Nick Saban dismissed the Senior Bowl factor.

“He’s going to be a very successful NFL quarterback,” Saban said. “Everybody talks about five really good quarterbacks in this draft. They may not all get drafted in the first round.”

During one point of his Alabama career, McCarron was on a 36-2 hot streak.

Yet, on draft day, the first five QBs to go were Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr and Garoppolo. The next three were Logan Thomas, Tom Savage and Murray. Then, McCarron.

McCarron’s profile raises fair doubts about whether he can be an improvement on the many quarterbacks who have done nothing to turn the Browns around.

Jackson seems to sense something. If Dorsey gets on board, there is a good chance McCarron will be the man in Cleveland, until the draft pick is deemed ready, at least.

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J.J. Watt blasts reporter for saying Josh Rosen has to pick football or charity work wholesale authentic jerseys

J.J. Watt had some strong words for The Ringer’s Mike Lombardi.

According to The Nation’s Dave Zirin, Lombardi said former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen will have to choose between being a football player or a humanitarian. Zirin noted Lombardi said, Rosen “might like humanitarian work more than football. … I don’t know where his values lie.”

That didn’t sit well with Watt, who recently raised more than $37 million to help the people in Houston after Hurricane Harvey struck the city last year.

“This is just as dumb as the “shut up and dribble” comment. Right or wrong, athletes are some of the most recognizable people in this country. That is an extremely powerful platform that so many use to do great things in their community. Who wouldn’t want that?” Watt posted on Twitter.

Interestingly, the NFL has the Walter Payton award specifically for humanitarian efforts, essentially encouraging players to give back to the community.

The controversy surrounding players sticking to just sports has escalated recently and hit a fever pitch when Fox News host Laura Ingraham said LeBron James should not talk politics and instead “shut up and dribble.”

James responded to the comments saying he wouldn’t be quiet and will continue to bring awareness to social injustice.

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Watch J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson on practice field

J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson have been busy rehabbing this offseason, posting updates of their progress in the training room. The two Texans stars even seem to be on similar timetables, recently posting videos of running for the first time on anti-gravity treadmills.

On Thursday, Watt posted the milestone on their road to recovery, a video of the duo running on the Houston Methodist practice field.

This is great news for Texans fans as OTAs (organized team activities) are just around the corner. Last season, Watt underwent leg surgery after suffering a tibial fracture plateau on Oct. 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Watson, who started six games as a rookie quarterback, is working his way back from his November ACL surgery.

Player report for Phase One of Offseason Workouts in April.

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J.J. Watt Announces Charity Softball Game Postponed For 2018, Back In 2019

In the movie Jerry Maguire, there’s a funny scene in which an NFL player is on Roy Firestone’s interview show on ESPN, a 1996 television staple, and the player is crying, literally crying, that people “don’t realize the pressure that playing for $37 million comes with.” It’s a hilarious scene, watching a player wallow in a complete lack of self awareness while making as poignant a statement as possible. I mean…. you’re right… NO, almost none of us know what that’s like, player. Tell us!

I may have the amount wrong that the player indicated in that scene, but I use $37 million because I feel like that is a touch-point number here in Houston. Not only is it the amount of guaranteed money for which Brock Osweiler signed in 2016, but it’s also roughly the amount of money J.J. Watt raised for Hurricane Harvey victims last year.

You could argue Brock had a similar experience to that blubbering football player on Roy Firestone’s show. Unfortunately, J.J. Watt got a little taste this past week of the reality that RAISING $37 million comes with unwanted scrutiny and questions, as well. In case you missed it, here’s how it went…

It started with a Twitter announcement from Texans PR that Watt had won an award in Monaco for his fundraising efforts, the next in a long line of well deserved honors and accolades for the Texans defensive end:

This tweet is s shame for two reasons. First and foremost, Watt has gone out of his way to be as up front and informative as possible on where all of the money is and will be going. He himself has been in on meetings to determine where to funnel the millions of dollars raised, and has proactively put out videos and done interviews to explain as much.

I mean, no disrespect @kimsbow, but use Google. Yeesh.

The other reason why @kimsbow’s tweet was unfortunate was the nearly immediate Twitter mob there to begin pummeling her with a Twitter lynching. Examples….

So, the lesson here is, if you’re going to ask questions on Twitter, especially questions skeptical of J.J. Watt’s integrity, be prepared for a Twitter firestorm.

One other Watt-related charity announcement came over the weekend directly from Watt in response to a question about his charity softball game, which has emanated from Minute Maid Park for two years running (Constellation Field for its first few seasons before that). It appears as though there will be no J.J. Watt Charity Classic in 2018:

ON a completely selfish note, this bums me out, for two reasons — one, I think Watt’s softball game is possibly the most fun, inclusive, well planned charity event in the city. Second, this game is where I’m usually able to get at least three or four hot takes on the Texans — past hot takes include “Brock Osweiler wearing a cowboy hat, trying way too hard to fit in, he will fail” and “Man, Duane Brown is moving well for a guy who blew a quad five months ago!” —- and now that’s out the window.

So hopefully, it’s back and bigger than ever in 2019. In the meantime, let’s leave you with some life advice from one Justin James Watt…

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Calvin Johnson will always be big fan of former Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell

Former Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell was one of the biggest influences on Calvin Johnson’s NFL career, and that won’t change after the team made a coaching change.

“It’s the nature of the league. You can’t get upset about it because those things happen,” Johnson said after his coach for his final three seasons was fired. “Hate it for Caldwell because Caldwell is a great guy.”

Johnson, who spoke before the Economic Club of Grand Rapids on Monday, didn’t know much about new coach Matt Patricia, who was officially hired last week.

“They got a good pedigree with him,” Johnson said. “Don’t know much beyond that. But he comes from a championship-level team, and hopefully that will translate.”

The arrival of Patricia meant the exit of one of the most important coaches in Johnson’s career. He called Caldwell “a father figure” and a “role model” in his praises before some 700 guests at JW Marriott.

“In all the years I was there, he spoke to everyone and treated everyone on the team like a man,” Johnson said. “That’s what you like to see in a head coach. You can’t have someone who treats some guys one way and treat others another way.”

Part of the respect between the two came when Johnson went into Caldwell’s office and told him his retirement plans after the 2016 season at age 30.

“I’m not a big crier. But the day I told him I wasn’t coming back, I did cry that day,” Johnson said. “It was tough to tell somebody who you felt was invested in you as a person … It was hard to tell him.”

Perhaps most illuminating in Johnson’s comments was about Matt Stafford, his quarterback for seven of his nine seasons, and his instinctual knowledge of the receiver’s retirement thoughts.

“It was funny, after the last game in Chicago, leaving the field, I hugged him up and he was like ‘I already know,'” Johnson said. “He already knew, and it was funny how he knew before I even told him.”

Johnson concluded his career with 731 receptions, 11,619 receiving yards and 83 touchdowns and a likely place in the hall of fame.

Johnson is just 32 but has already repeatedly said he does not plan to come out of retirement. Instead, he is involved in residential real estate around the Detroit area with former teammate Rob Sims; development of the Calvin Johnson Jr. Foundation that empowers youngsters to build self-esteem and positive thinking, and speaking to NFL players to create a retirement plan and prepare for life after football.

As for his relationship with the Lions, Johnson, when asked after his talk, wouldn’t say either way.

“No comment,” he said with a chuckle before adding: “Every time I comment on them it becomes a big story and I don’t want that. I’m just living my life and having a good time.”

But, of course, he was asked a couple questions in a couple different way about why he retired. His simplest explanation? The state of the Lions and the condition of his body told him.

“Unfortunately, we were never able to get to where we wanted to be,” he said about a Super Bowl. “But, at the time you feel a change in guys leaving the team and you could sense from being there so long where you are as team and how far you can make it.

“For myself, with all the things my body was doing and the way things were going, it was just my time.”

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8 years after the birth of the Calvin Johnson Rule, Roger Goodell wants to start over

Eight years after the birth of the Calvin Johnson rule, Roger Goodell wants to go back to the drawing board and redefine the catch.

The NFL commissioner held his annual state of the union press conference Wednesday in a plush ballroom at the Hilton here in downtown Minneapolis. He broached several topics during his half-hour behind the mic, but the first question posed to him was about was officiating, and Goodell wasted no time using the opportunity to pivot to the catch rule.

“I would like to start back, instead of adding to the rule, subtracting the rule. Start over again and look at the rule fundamentally from the start,” Goodell said. “Because I think when you add or subtract things, you can still lead to confusion. These rules are very complex — you have to look at what the unintended consequences are of making a change, which is what the competition committee, in my view, does so well and with so much thought.”

Goodell said the league hosted several coaches and a group of Hall of Fame players two weeks ago to watch film of about 150 plays where the catch rule came into play. The goal was to reach a consensus on what makes a catch, and then generate ideas about how to codify that into the rulebook clearly enough to be understood and correctly enforced.

“I think we have some very good ideas we’re going to submit to the competition committee,” Goodell said. “I think there will be a lot of focus on going to the ground, which I think has been part of the confusion with respect to that rule. And I think we’ve got a great opportunity to get this rule right so everyone understands it.”

That latter point was an allusion to the so-called complete the process rule, better known around the league — and especially in Detroit — as the Calvin Johnson Rule. It states a player must maintain control of the football through the entire act of the catch. Which means simply having possession when a player is downed is not enough.

Johnson found that out the hard way after catching — or at least appearing to catch — a game-winning TD in the 2010 season opener against Chicago. He caught the ball with two hands, moved it into one hand and maintained control as he went to the ground. But then he lost control of the ball as he planted his hand to the turf.

To the naked eye, it looked like a catch. But by the letter of the law, it was not. The play was overturned, much to Johnson’s chagrin, and the Lions lost the game. Matter of fact, they didn’t win a game until Week 5.

And a rule was born.

There has been a lot of talk over the years about the rule, but attempts to clarify it have failed. The push to review the rule has intensified this year after another batch of controversial calls. Perhaps the most famous example involved Pittsburgh’s Jesse James, who was ruled to have caught the ball with 28 seconds left in a game against the hated Patriots. He reached the ball over the goal line with full possession, but the ball wiggled as he hit the ground.

By the letter of the law, that’s a no catch, even if the eyes said otherwise. And the Steelers lost the game. Now Goodell wants to start over. Again.

“I can’t promise you there won’t be controversy,” he said, “but we can get to a much better place.”

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Here are some other quick hits from the press conference:

— The Raiders seemed intent on hiring Jon Gruden from the moment they fired Jack Del Rio, and some might even say before the firing. That sure seems like a violation of the Rooney Rule, which stipulates teams must interview minority candidates, although Goodell disputed that notion. Oakland “was actually in compliance with the Rooney Rule,” he said. “I think we have a disagreement in the facts.” Yes, Roger, I think we do.

— The Mexico City game will feature the Rams and Chiefs on a date that is yet to be determined.

— Despite a prevailing notion among players that they feel more injury prone on Thursday nights, Goodell said the league’s data suggests injuries have held steady on Thursdays. There was only a “slight uptick” this year that wasn’t even statistically significant. And Goodell also noted players and teams love the extra rest that comes after a Thursday game, which is almost like getting a second bye. Sure sounds like those games aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

— Goodell said he wants fewer stoppages of play, and quicker stoppages when they do occur. “We did have more replay interruptions this year,” he said. “I think that’s something we have to look at, we can improve on. … We spent a great deal of time in the offseason on game presentation. How do we make our game more attractive? Less stoppages, shorter stoppages when they do occur whether they’re commercial or otherwise. I think that’s one of the things we’re going to focus on how do we do the replay in a way that will ensure correcting an obvious mistake but make sure it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the game.”

— After years of handling controversies that spanned everything from domestic violence to Deflategate, this Goodell press conference was as drama-free as any I’ve seen in years. In fact, Patriots beat writer Ben Volin of the Boston Globe quipped that he was all out of Deflategate questions, so he’d let Goodell off the hook. “That’s a shocker,” Goodell responded. Indeed.