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  1. 21 likes
    Jaguars head man Soluna has his team on the rise Here's where it all begins...the birth of another season. And with it, the first edition of the Power Rankings. How was your team's off-season? Preseason? Got an injury you're dealing with? It all applies here at Rankings HQ. Remember, if you don't like where you are in these rankings...play better! (or don't be a dunce in the off-season)! 1. San Francisco 49ers Until someone knocks off the champs, they'll stay right here. Their off-season gave no indication of the fire-sale of previous Super Bowl champs, so here's guessing the talented trio out in the SF front office has some more good luck and another trick up their sleeves. 2. Oakland Raiders I'll bite and give the Raiders the AFC top spot (sorry, Jets) simply due to the growth of Manny Spears and keeping almost everyone else (save Marvin White) together. (Good gravy, please, someone knock off the Raiders.) 3. Philadelphia Eagles Last year's #2 out of the NFC only got stronger this off-season. They found a suitable back-up to Allan Taylor in case of injury, and they strengthened their team via the draft. Could be that the force that has been building for some time in Philly finally hits its apex this season. 4. New York Jets While the off-season has seen more turmoil in the Jets player room than they'd probably like, there is no doubting this team's past accomplishments, the stability in the FO, and the unique star power on both sides of the ball. The question remains: when will an aging defense catch up to them--this season? Next? 5. Detroit Lions Perennial preseason favorite Detroit looks like a team that can absolutely win a title. They improved in the off-season mostly by maintaining their nucleus and growing together. Is this finally the year for the Loins? 6. Indianapolis Colts Have they found an answer at running back? Does it matter with that offense? (Yes, it's nice to have Tony Peaks back.) More troubling for me, however, is how they got lit up by the Jets in the AFC Divisional round. They D-line is strong (Goodwin ), as are the safety positions. But those CBs may still get roughed up a bit. And the big question is an OT starting at C. 7. Kansas City Chiefs This may be a tad high for the Chiefs, but I'm gonna err on the side of Mimsy plugging all the holes...until I see that they don't work. Rodgers should be great at RB, and the two rookie DEs have good ceilings, if little experience. Their opening week tussle with the Jags will shed some light on where they are... 8. Carolina Panthers Seems kinda like another year of dominating in the regular season, only to flame out in the postseason. At least CadeRich5 has some coaching time under his belt now. Here's betting the Panthers get their first playoff win...if they get there! 9. Los Angeles Rams Big question here is if Jeremy Henry can keep them afloat for the first 3 weeks of the season. If so, I bet Murphy comes back well and leads this team to good things. They were on the path until his injury last year, and their off-season wasn't a disaster. 10. Jacksonville Jaguars This may be a bit premature, but here's guessing Soluna and UBL have some serious stank to put on teams. Whomever starts at QB will have weapons around them, and the talent on the lines is coming along, ditto the defense. Rich Moore/Haywood/Jay Wade is a pretty solid threesome on D. 11. New England Patriots Last season's surprise Playoff team returns basically everyone (who know what kind of slap on the wrist the Commish will apply for the KJ Richards fiasco) and that should be good enough for another Playoff run, if not more. I like almost every position on this team save WR (and OLB 2). Did they give Lawyer enough weapons? 12. Seattle Seahawks The League's biggest offensive makeover is about to launch in Seattle. New QB (Jarius Jones), new RB (Booker T.) could translate into hyper-drive for this previously defensive-minded team. Okonkwo at DT brings a needed upgrade there as well. #12 might end up being really low for these guys... 13. Denver Broncos Building slowly after another solid draft, the Broncos are looking to overcome a disappointing Playoff miss in year 2 of the Bingo/Descreto (and now Jieret) reign. How will Jennings mesh with veteran WRs? How will Blacknall and Rambo work together in the backfield? Can our secondary stop anybody? 14. New York Giants We all knew they had some big names on D, but no one could have predicted just how dominant that D was. And good thing, because the offense was putrid. That side of ball may not have improved much at all in the off-season, but the D stayed strong. They'll take a step back, but they'll still beat a few folks. 15. Washington Redskins* (not a real team name) 'Skins were just a few games away last year, and by most accounts they did just fine in the off-season. This is likely a tad high, but I believe in the coaching. Now, if they could fix the back half of the Defense, that'd be great. 16. Baltimore Ravens B'more takes a big slide in losing Booker T. It showed in the playoffs when he was gone. They didn't have a great off-season, but still have enough talent to notch a few wins. Big question: can the Ravens hold off the North any longer? 17. Chicago Bears I know this is too low for the Bears, but can't really make the justification for higher (could be swayed flopping them for the Skins). Brooksheer being out for a while doesn't help. But they got better in a number of places, especially maturity and talent on the D-line. 18. Atlanta Falcons Took a solid leap forward with another great draft. This team knows how to accumulate talent. Can they put it together for a nice run? Remains to be seen, but I'll feel like 9 wins would be a solid campaign. 19. Miami Dolphins Again, I could be tempted to put them a bit higher, but it didn't seem like the Off-season Gods were smiling on South Beach. They have talent, but some of the FO decisions leave me scratching my head. 20. Green Bay Packers Last season was a real disappointment for the Cheeseheads and their work at the draft was the perfect antidote. They had some proactive results in FA and looked really good in the preseason. Still work to be done, but I forsee a challenge to the Lions in the North. 21. Cleveland Browns Another worldbeater in the preseason, I think Browns can put it all together this season. They have talent on Offense, and solid players on D. They're a bit thin at all positions, but the top end is there, minus the secondary. Who knows...Ryan Clark to Tai Miller should be worth at least 7 wins. 22. Pittsburgh Steelers No, I don't love the WRs, and there are some defensive holes...but a full year of the Davenport Express (now featuring Chester Henson!) should mean a nice bump for the Steel Curtain. 23. Houston Texans I'll probably regret this later, but it's just difficult to see what the long-term strategy is in H-town. The Texans will probably love Leshoure in his debut season (the wait must have been so painful), and that could pay off big time in the end. But this season? I'm thinking a 7-9 campaign would be pretty good, actually. 24. Arizona Cardinals This team is lacking top-end talent on Defense, but the addition of two key pieces on O (Kareem Taylor and TE Emmanuelu Lesa...yep, calling it) will mean the Cards can put up some serious points this season. 25. New Orleans Saints Pains me to say it, but the awesome Aaron Devereaux-to-Sean Jenkins combo (with a side dish of Sterling) will simply not be enough to overcome the disappointment that is the secondary. 26. Tennessee Titans After the hospital ward that was the Titans in 2019 rolled the dice on Xander Williams at QB, anything is a possibility for this team. For now, this ranking is appropriate, but I can see it being way to low by week 10. Those Linebackers...Oh. My. God. 27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers I'd love to say I'm a believer in the movement in Central Florida, but I'm not sure I could truly identify what the strategy is there. I'm sure that Blakely will be good, but pick #4 good? Who knows. Here's hoping Taylor Heiden reverts to his 2017 awesomeness. 28. Cincinnati Bengals The logical progression for a team with this kind of talent is to pick up 2 wins--that would mean 6. Seems about right. 29. Dallas Cowboys Honestly, Dallas could go anywhere from 20-30, depending on how well the QBs play. But they went with the long-term solution during the draft, instead of the quick fix. So, I'm guessing they go somewhere between 6-10 to 9-7. 30. Buffalo Bills IF they get some decent play from the backfield, and IF the D-line dominates like it did last season, then this is criminally low. I'm just not banking on both of those circumstances to come true. 31. Minnesota Vikings The biggest tumblers in the rankings. They almost made the playoffs last season, but lost their best player and didn't do a ton to help improve the situation on Defense. I think 2020 will be a long, cold season in Minneapolis. 32. Los Angeles Chargers Happy to wrong about this for a franchise of nice FO folks, but I think they hitched their star to the wrong QB and haven't done a ton to build around the talent they did have. 5-11 would be amazing.
  2. 17 likes
    Can Prince McGill lead the 49ers to victory in week 1? Welcome everyone to the first edition of the Smackems' NFLHC Predictorama. Each week I'm going to take a stab at predicting every non Miami Dolphins game. However, don't fret folks I've enrolled Super Bowl winning owner Jumanji to make our weekly Dolphins pick. I believe someone else did something like this last year, but hey the more the merrier right? More Media!!!! I'll designate the weekly "Smackems Game of the Week" with a star, this game is the cream of the crop that week and should be a downright dooooozy. This also might be a little obvious, but just in case ya missed it, the predicted winning team will be bolded in white. Without further adieu let's get to pickin'!! Los Angeles Rams (0-0) at San Francisco 49ers (0-0) - The Super Bowl Champs start our 2020 NFLHC season with a familiar foe the Los Angeles Rams. The 9ers and Rams squared off 3 times last year with San Fran getting 2 victories including a win in the playoffs. These are normally very evenly matched teams, but with Rams star QB Darrell Murphy out for the first few weeks of the season it becomes a tall order for backup Jeremy Henry to overcome. The safeties aren't rookies anymore and Pitt Panther star Michael McBride has been brought in to help the defensive line. The 49ers deliver the fans a victory on ring night. Buffalo Bills (0-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-0) - "This game hinges on how well the Dolphins' offensive line can contain their intimidating counterparts. It's no secret that the strength of the Buffalo Bills is their defensive line. Even while starting four rookies on defense, the Dolphins should be able to handle this Bills offense. While Dess has built up an impressive reputation, he's shown that he can't do it all on his own. The Bills did little to improve their passing game and, unless Brian Brown gets knocked out early, I don't see them winning this one." courtesy of Jumanji. Baltimore Ravens (0-0) at New York Jets (0-0) - The Jets have reached 2 straight super bowls but have yet to claim the title as they open up the season with the defending AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens. New York coach grv, fresh off his college national championship, looks to take a Jets team that is returning its whole team from the previous year to new heights. New outside linebacker Daquan Darcey looks to improve an already stellar defense. The Ravens bring one of the best defenses in the league, but with the loss of star Booker T. Washington, have a lot of questions on offense. I don't think the Ravens will be able to score and the Jets have enough firepower on offense to take this one pretty easily. Cleveland Browns (0-0) at Tennessee Titans (0-0) - What can you say about Tennessee? After a injury-riddled 2019 season the Titans look to rebound in 2020 with good health. They bring in former Seahawk Alexander Williams to lead the offensive charge with 2019 breakout player Kevin Williams. Highly touted rookie Tyler Jones will look to get after Browns QB Ryan Clark, but the Browns bring in 3 rookie starters on defense with the additions of C.J. Thomas, Cameron Marshall, and Gabriel Beauchamp. I like the the moves the Browns made in the off-season and I think they will be much improved this year, I'm taking them in a slight upset. Cincinnati Bengals (0-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-0) - The Bengals are definitely the front runners for the splashiest off-season award. Ending the 2019 season with a historically bad offense they went out and added All-Pro wideout Rodney Montgomery and former college sensation Adrian Jankowski to shore up a really weak group of pass catchers. Ron Thomas is one of the best backs in the league so it falls on Joel King to take a big leap in season 2. Atlanta was cruising along last year until an injury to QB A.J. Jefferson derailed their playoff hopes. They bring in former Oregon standout Eric Jennings to pair with 2019 rookie Early Davis. Akili Wallace is hard to stop for anyone, but the Bengals' defense is pretty bad so look for him to run wild. They'll win some games with their offense, but this isn't one of them. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) - A battle of former front office mates as rabid's Bucs take on panther's Steelers. The Steelers ended the 2019 season as one of the hottest teams in the league winning 6 out of their last 8 games after switching to Paul Davenport at QB. Chester Henson comes to town looking to add another level of dynamism to a team that sports a fairly decent defense on paper. The Bucs bring in new safety Aaron Blakely in one of the more odd draft stories of all time. I like the Steelers in this one, I think Davenport continues his roll and Henson makes them harder to game-plan for. New York Giants (0-0) at Dallas Cowboys (0-0) The Cowboys looks to rebound from a poor showing in 2019 and get Vaughan Abraham going. First round pick Graham Burnett looks to open the season as the 2nd string QB, but the Cowboys sport one of the best offensive lines in the league. The Giants sport one of the best defenses in the league, but don't have a lot of offensive fire-power outside of O.J Carano. I like the Cowboys in this one, I think it will be low scoring but they will pull it out. New Orleans Saints (0-0) at Carolina Panthers (0-0) - Both of these teams can put the ball in the end-zone, and I don't expect anything less in this game. However to say the Saints struggle on defense would be an understatement, but they are trending in the right direction with the addition of FA George Brady and rookie Corey Davis. Causter will coach them up, but it's a tall task to open the season in Charlotte against Christian Skaggs and his new toy Curtis Henry. The Panthers sport a pretty good defense as well and with the return of Mike Latta I expect even more fireworks on offense. I think the Saints will score, but I think the Panthers will score more and get a few stops.. Arizona Cardinals (0-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-0) - The Packers had arguably one of the best draft classes in the league to pair with their already excellent set of receivers. Ted is a great coach, but it's clear Arizona is in the midst of a full-scale rebuild. I don't know what else to say about this one except I think Green Bay wins big. New England Patriots (0-0) at Los Angeles Chargers (0-0) - The Patriots are fresh off an appearance in the 2019 playoffs and shored of both sides of the line with the drafting of Taylor Randolph and the acquisition of DT Rich Moore. An unfortunate injury to kicker Brad Weathersby puts them in a tough situation on special teams. I don't foresee it being an issue against the rebuilding Chargers who are in need of help at a lot of positions. Patriots win big. Chicago Bears (0-0) at Houston Texans (0-0) - Chicago made some big acquisitions this offseason adding Akeel Mitchell and Kevin Harris to their linebacking core. They also bring a high powered duo of wide receivers that should overwhelm the Houston CBs.. I think Rome is a good coach and their success this season depends on his ability to learn how to best utilize Alex Leshoure. I'm taking Chicago in this one - I like the additions they made. Denver Broncos (0-0) at Seattle Seahawks (0-0) - This has potential to be a great game. Seattle brings in new quarterback Jarius Jones to pair with Gary Faneca and new RB Booker T. Denver has their own set of new toys with Todd Jennings taking over the helm at QB and J.B. Blacknall taking over the feature back duties. I'm really high on Denver this year, I think they have a chance to unseat Oakland in the division. Seattle will make it tough but the Broncos pull it out. Washington Redskins (0-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-0) - The Redskins bring is stellar wideout Sam Hiller-Weeden, who's a guy I really hoped would fall to me at 19. Philly is the defending division champs and came oh so close to representing the NFC in the super bowl, but bring in rookie OLB Martin Whiting to add firepower to a solid defense. Washington will make a run at it, but I think Philly takes it. Detroit Lions (0-0) at Minnesota Vikings (0-0) - The Lions are perennial favorites each year and this year should be no different. They bring in Jeremy Cook and James Otero to add some firepower to that offense. Minnesota had a questionable off-season and brings in a brand-new coach to start the season. I think bellwood ends up being a good coach, but opening up with the best team in your division is no fun. Lions win this one handily. Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0) - We're now in year 2 of the Soluna rebuild in Jacksonville, and he was able to snag superstar WR Raheem Robinson. Asante Sowell had a stellar rookie campaign and should find even more holes now with a playmaker like Raheem on the outside. Kansas City had a great year last year, but then traded their best CB and his replacement immediately tore his ACL. Kansas City also loses their head coach from their playoff campaign. I think they'll be fine, but expect Jacksonville to win this one. *Indianapolis Colts (0-0) at Oakland Raiders (0-0) - The Smackems' game of the week features two AFC powerhouses in the Colts and Raiders. The Raiders got off to a sensational start last season before an unfortunate series of running back injuries really hurt their chances to go all the way. The Colts hope that Tony Peaks's return will bring some balance to their pass heavy offense last year. This game features 2 of the best QBs in the league each sporting a great set of weapons to throw the ball too. I like Oakland in this one - I think the home crowd will help them pull it out. .
  3. 17 likes
    Editor's Note: I am trying to do a feature piece on different players from across the MAC. If you are a MAC coach, please let me know if you have a particular player you'd like featured in a similar piece. I'd like to do one player for every team throughout the season. Toledo will have the next feature. Taylor after the final home win of the 2019 season, against Central Michigan. "I want to be the greatest." Coach Ray Baxter remembers the recruiting trip well. At the time, he was only an assistant for WMU, but he was sent out to try and seal some commitments with head coach Dacder. They were on their last leg of a recruiting blitz in the state of Ohio, and had stopped by the house of Sean Taylor on this particular Thursday afternoon in hopes of swaying him towards the Broncos. Taylor was a minute 5 foot 9 inches, and weighed in only a hair above 190 pounds, but Baxter sensed there was something more to the young Ashtabula native. "There was a ferocity in his eyes when he said those words," Baxter recalls. "I believed him when he told me." The visit wasn't out of the ordinary; Baxter said they ate a meal with the family and gave them the pitch about Western Michigan, talking about everything from academics to playing time. "To be frank, I didn't know how we were going to land him. I mean, he was one of the most highly recruited players in the Midwest, and had fielded interest from just about every Big 10 school. Why were still on his list, I couldn't tell you." Taylor was one of the most sought after prospects of the 2016 cycle. He was the 4th ranked cornerback, and the highest ranked DB in the Central region. His high school coach, Ken Parise, thought the hoopla surrounding Taylor was over the top. "This was just an 18 year old kid playing football, and he was the talk of the town. Ohio State, Michigan, Louisville- they all wanted him. The stadium was packed every Friday night, and it was all because he was playing. People around town knew he'd be special." That's why it was so surprising when Taylor stopped Coach Baxter as he was preparing to leave that evening of the home visit. "He grabbed me by the arm while I was walking out the door. I didn't know what was happening for a minute, but then he said, 'Coach, I think I'm ready to commit to your program,' and my jaw nearly hit the floor. Dacder and I just looked at each other. He said it with the same determined look he'd had when he met me that afternoon. When he said he wanted to be the greatest, I believed him. When he said he wanted to come to Western Michigan, I thought he was pulling a prank on us." Just like that, Taylor's recruitment wrapped up. "It was only a couple weeks into his senior season," his mother, Teresa, said. "He didn't want the spotlight. He came home the night before Coach Baxter and Coach Dacder were coming to visit and told me that all the attention was getting in the way of his training. So that next night, he committed, and then completely shut down his recruiting." Head Coach Dacder left after the 2016 season, but Sean Taylor's commitment didn't waver, especially after Baxter was promoted to Head Coach. He was a Bronco, and less than a week after graduating high school, he was on the road to Kalamazoo. In his first practice for WMU, Taylor had a couple nice plays, but Coach Baxter said he wasn't ready to play. When Taylor finally arrived on campus, he was not an immediate star. In fact, despite Coach Baxter's initial desire to play him at nickel his true freshman season, it became apparent that Taylor wasn't ready to see action. "It sucked." Taylor responds to my questions only in between lifts. The only way he'd let me do the interview was if I didn't interfere with his schedule- a grueling schedule, I might add. Even though it is the offseason, he has stayed at Western Michigan all summer, working out three times a day with a personal trainer and coach. "When I committed, I expected to be an immediate contributor, but Coach Baxter had other plans. I didn't know the defense well enough, I guess. I was getting burned in practice and blowing coverages left and right. It was pretty discouraging." So Taylor redshirted. He stood on the sidelines every game in the same brown sweatpants and sneakers every game his freshman year, the only variation in his wardrobe coming when it was too cold outside to wear only his jersey on top. He had a brown hoodie for just such an occasion. Taylor focused intently on the game as it played out. He shadowed the defensive coordinator every drive, trying to glean what he could from the play calling. His DB coach was constantly being pestered when the offense was on the field, too. "I've never seen a redshirt that focused," said Baxter. "He went above and beyond to learn every second of every game. In the 4th quarter, no matter the score, he was still bugging the coaches to explain a call or an audible or something. It was insane. It would have been annoying if it weren't so great. By the end of the season, I was convinced he could've been an All-American as a freshman." Taylor in his coming out party against Kent St. Taylor had 2 pick 6's in the 59-49 win. Taylor didn't have too much fanfare going into the 2018 season. Other than the coaching staff, he was not a well known player around campus. "I liked it that way," Taylor admits. His workout has finished. Now, he's eating his third of five meals for the day. Salmon on a bed of rice, some steamed broccoli on the side. He eats it straight out of the tupperware he packaged it in, and shovels the food down his throat so fast you'd think he hadn't eaten in a week. "I can barely go to class without someone stopping me to talk or take a picture. And I love the Broncos fans and all, but I'm not here to be famous. I'm here to be great." I tell him that being famous comes with the territory. He smirks. "I got a long way to go, but I guess I'm on the right track then." Taylor played well his first season as a starter. He recorded interceptions in wins against Utah State and UTSA, as well as 2 in a shutout against Toledo (one of which he returned for a touchdown). However, he burst onto the national scene in a wild Week 12 game against conference opponent Kent St. "That's a game I'll never forget," he tells me, this time not trying to hide a radiant smile. "It was the first time my mom had come to a game. We played there, so it was only about an hour and a half drive for her. She was working two jobs at the time, but both let her off for the whole weekend so she and my dad could bring my little sister down and they could spend the weekend with me." And what a weekend it was. The game was a Thursday night game, and his family arrived just 30 minutes before kickoff. They found their seats and settled in for what would become one of the best games in MACtion history. By the middle of the third quarter, MAC legend Emmanuel Fields had already rushed for 2 touchdowns, but Western Michigan was still trailing 35-28. Then Kent St. scored again, putting the score at 42-28. "At that point, I was losing hope," Taylor recalls. "I hadn't been playing super great, and given up a touchdown earlier in the night. But then Manny [Fields] scored again, and we were only down by seven, so Coach Baxter called us over and gave us a little pump up speech. He challenged us to get a stop so that the offense could score, but... I cut out the middle man and did the scoring myself." It was 3rd and 7 with about 3 and half minutes left in the third quarter. Kent St was in a traditional I Formation, but then motioned a receiver across the field into the slot on Taylor's side. "I knew what to do. Kent St. had been running the same little rub play all year. I wasn't going to fall for it." When the ball was snapped, Taylor backpedaled two steps to try and sell the fact that he was bailing. However, he planted his foot, and quarterback John Garland never saw him coming. As his receiver ran an out, Taylor undercut the pass and took it 46 yards for the score. He wasn't touched on the play. "I was amped. We tied the game up on the PAT and had all the momentum. We were rolling." Taylor's smile remains as he recounts the events of that night. "I remember looking up into the stands and seeing my mom just going nuts as I crossed the plane of the goal line. She was jumping up and down and hugging my sister. I wasn't done though. I still had to show out for the family some more." Kent St. answered right back. They marched down the field methodically, and the only thing that broke their rhythm was the end of the quarter. A minute into the fourth, they took the lead again. WMU would not go away, however, and had a sustained drive of their own, capped by another Emmanuel Fields TD, his fourth of the night, to tie the game at 49 with 8 minutes to go. Once again, it was time for the defense to step up. "We all knew that we couldn't let them get rolling. They had a big kick return that put them on their 45, and then ran the ball for 6 yards on first down. They tried to test me on second down. That was their undoing." Coach Baxter remembered calling out to Taylor frantically. "I was running down the sidelines waving my hands at him. He was on our side of the field, and they were in a set where they had a tendency to throw a go-route. I was going wild trying to make sure he recognized it, but he was as calm as could be. He just gave a thumbs up. I swear he even grinned. And before I knew it, he was making another play." Taylor turned and ran with his man, Shannon Roman, down the sideline. He had safety help, so he tried to bait Garland into throwing the ball by pulling up just a hair and letting Roman get a step. Garland bit. The ball seemed to be perfectly placed, but at the last second, Taylor leaned into his man and reached his hand up, batting the ball into the air. Roman fell down, and that was all the help Taylor needed. He fielded the ball out of the air like it was a punt, and then cut back across the field behind his safety, Mohamed Walls, who threw a crushing block on Kent St's Harrison Mullin. Taylor broke two tackles and spun out of a third, and then it was off to the races. He wouldn't be caught. 79 yards later, he strolled into the endzone once again, putting the Broncos ahead for good, 56-49. "I was crying tears of joy in the stands," Teresa Taylor said. "We hadn't seen Sean play in person since he was in high school, and now here he was, scoring touchdowns at the D1 level. We were-" she paused to dab at her eyes, "-so proud of him that day. We still are." By the time he arrived back in Kalamazoo that weekend, he was a star. Taylor breaks up a pass against Northern Illinois in week 13 of 2019. 2019 came and saw Taylor develop into one of the most dominant corners in the MAC. Even though his interception total dropped from 6 to 4, he saw fewer targets and saw his passes defended go way up. He was the face of the WMU defense under new coach Jieret, and helped lead them to a 10 win season and a bowl victory, the first in school history. But he isn't done. Taylor makes sure that much is clear. His eating habits aside, he has what can only be described as an insatiable hunger to get better. I ask him why that is. "Who has ever gone down in history for being average? Alexander the Great wasn't just an average general. If he was, we wouldn't be talking about him now. I may just be a football player, but I'll be damned if I'm not the best football player I possibly can be." I laugh and remind him he's already pretty good. He has fire in his eyes as he responds. "I didn't come here because I wanted to be pretty good. I'll tell you the same thing I told Coach Baxter and Coach Dacder when they recruited me: "I want to be the greatest."
  4. 9 likes
    Despite Nevada making the #8 seed and almost going undefeated in the regular season before losing a heartbreaker to Air Force. They’ve lost talent such as WR Darius Goode, DE Ethan McCall and the No. 14 pick in ILB Akeel Morris. At the same time, either current talent has gotten better such as QB Jordan Godwin, OLB Evan Walsh and FS Isaac Watkins, or They’ve added new talent through HS or even Redshirts such as Redshirts RB Tom Honeycutt and DT Andrew Barron and Freshman HSs DE Da’Quan Darden and OLB Jordan Butler. They will be title contenders, but will they improve further and take the next step or take a step backwards and fall out of the playoffs. ROSTER Top 3 Offensive: QB Jordan Godwin 6-0 190 So Pleasant Grove (Grove, UT) 4.5 of 4.5 [Pocket] TE Mason Parks 6-1 232 (Jr) Gabbs (Gabbs, NV) 4.0 of 4.0 [Receiving] RB Tom Honeycutt 5-11 228 (Fr) Tonopah (Tonopah, NV) 2.0 of 4.5 [Power] Top 3 Defensive: OLB Evan Walsh 5-11 218 Jr Truckee (Truckee, NV) 5.0 of 5.0 [Coverage] DT Andrew Barron 6-2 318 (Fr) Hayfork (Hayfork, CA) 2.0 of 5.0 [2-Gap] FS Isaac Watkins 6-0 194 So Hilltop (Vista, CA) 3.5 of 4.5 [Zone Coverage] Top Special Team: ATH Phillip Crow 6-1 180 (So) Valley (Bakersfield, CA) 3.5 of 5.0 [Accuracy] Notable Offseason Additions: WR Ibrahim Woods 6-2 186 Fr Beatty (Beatty NV) 1.5 of 4.0 [Speed] DE Jesse McKay 6-7 257 Fr Temecula Valley (Temecula CA) 2.5 of 4.0 [Contain] CB Tegray Wingard 6-0 200 (Jr) Salem Community College (Carneys Point NJ) 4.0 of 4.0 [Man Coverage] DE Da'Quan Darden 6-5 253 Fr Elmira (Elmira OR) 1.5 of 5.0 [Blitz] OLB Jordan Butler 6-0 221 Fr Mountain View (Las Vegas NV) 1.5 of 5.0 [Blitz] Notable Offseason Subtractions WR Darius Goode 6-5 232 Sr Kishwaukee College (Malta, IL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Target] DE Ethan McCall 6-0 263 Sr Western Nebraska Community College (Scotts Bluff, NE) 4.0 of 4.0 [Blitz] ILB Akeel Morris 6-5 234 Jr Silver Stage (Silver Springs, NV) 5.0 of 5.0 [Mike]: Quick Thoughts: Akeel leaving really leaves a big hole in that LB core and having Shaver replace him doesn’t help their situation but adding Butler to complement Walsh on the side really their OLB position. They really worked quick to add more talent to their DEs after McCall left. They added another good CB to help that core. Nevada should’ve worked on improving that O-Line but that aside, a pretty successful recruiting cycle. Three Key Storylines 1. Can Nevada continue like normal without Akeel Morris This is possibly the biggest storyline throughout the MWC, their team is very solid throughout but without their glue guy Akeel, will Nevada start to collapse? Akeel has been maybe the greatest player in Nevada history, joined the hometown team, was a tackling monster, and propelled Nevada to that national stage. He had 231 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 4 INTs and also was a 2 time Dick Butkus award winner, a Jack Lambert Trophy winner, and a 3 time All-American. He’s the Prototypical LB everyone wants to have. The production he created will never be matched for a long time, but now with Walsh and Butler on the outside, they might be okay to continue but they will feel the loss of Morris. 2. How will they fair with several freshman being thrusted into starting jobs With players like Woods, McKay, Darden, Butler, Honeycutt and Barron having to take starting positions as either a redshirt or true freshman, will they be able to produce or reduce? These players were brought in to produce right away as to replace former players, the problem is that these are freshman and they might not produce at the level you want, sure, they are freshman, but this is a legitimate contender and to be relying on freshman so heavily might not be a good thing, but they could turn out and become a good role player for this season and maybe be a vital part. 3. Will they be able to reach the promise land again this season Nevada, a team coupled with losses of veterans and additions of youth, might or might not make the playoffs again, last year they snuck in over Minnesota as the #8 seed, but can they do the same this season? Nevada’s roster has had half of their team revamped and changed, hopefully for the better. This team ended off the season 12-2 after losing in a heartbreaker to Nevada on a 53 YD FG by Lorenzo Rodgers and losing to the #1 Clemson and had Akeel declaring early for the draft. They have no great replacement for Morris as Shaver will be the starting ILB and Shaver’s decent at best and Goode left and Nevada only has O’Neill and Woods to replace him. But that doesn’t mean everything is bad, Buter can pair up with Walsh and Darden and McKay can work together. Only time can tell. Scenarios Best-Case Scenario Nevada’s Freshman can pick up where the whole team left off and end off the season undefeated and top 3 in the poll, they make the playoff as the #5 or #6 seed and lose in first round as Honeycutt wins the Jim Brown Trophy and Walsh wins the Dick Butkus award and is a All-American along with Godwin. Worst-Case Scenario Nevada can’t create chemistry with each other and start off with a rough start, by the time they start doing good it’s too late and they don’t make the playoffs and make the bowl, which they lose and left to think what could’ve been. What do you guys think, Will Nevada Progress or Regress?
  5. 5 likes
    This Air Force team last year made it to the conference championship where they beat the undefeated Nevada at the time 33-30 on a game winning 53 YD FG by Lorenzo Rodgers but lost to California 30-10 in the Las Vegas bowl to end 11-3 on the season. This team has the talent to probably sneak in the playoffs and even go undefeated before the playoffs. The question, however, can they? ROSTER Lorenzo Rodgers as he kicked the GW FG in the 33-30 win over Nevada in the Conference Championship Game Top 3 Offensive: TE Cayden Reese 6-3 207 (Sr) Aspen (Aspen CO) 5.0 of 5.0 [Receiving] QB Nico Kaufman 6-1 236 (Sr) Grand Junction (Grand Junction CO) 4.5 of 4.5 [Scrambling] RB Xavier Valentine 5-8 174 Jr Kearns (Kearns, UT) 4.5 of 4.5 [Speed] Top 3 Defensive: FS Shamar Sutton 5-11 197 (Jr) Wray (Wray, CO) 4.5 of 4.5 [Man Coverage] SS Matthew Solomon 6-2 173 (So) Grand Valley (Parachute, CO) 4.0 of 4.5 [Zone Coverage] CB Israel Mathis 5-9 178 (Sr) Goddard (Roswell NM) 4.0 of 4.0 [Zone Coverage] Top Special Team Player: K Lorenzo Rodgers 6-3 195 (Jr) Thunder Ridge (Highlands Ranch, CO) 5.0 of 5.0 [Power] Notable Offseason Additions: No Notables Notable Offseason Subtractions: DE James Carter 6-1 255 (Sr) Woods Cross (Woods Cross, UT) 4.5 of 4.5 [blitz] ILB Joshua Olson 5-11 245 (Sr) Pershing County (Lovelock, NV) 4.5 of 4.5 [Mike] SS Jesse Hutchins 6-2 182 Sr Western Nebraska Community College (Scotts Bluff, NE) 4.5 of 4.5 [Man Coverage] SS Jamel Dudley 6-1 207 Sr Boulder City (Boulder City NV) 3.5 of 3.5 [Man Coverage] FS Marcus Mayes 6-1 198 Sr Science Hill (Johnson City TN) 3.5 of 3.5 [Zone Coverage] FS Louis Roche 6-0 186 Sr Belfry (Belfry KY) 3.5 of 3.5 [Zone Coverage] CB Jimmy Allen 6-1 205 (Sr) McQueen (Reno, NV) 3.5 of 3.5 [Man Coverage] SS Patrick Schwartz 6-2 192 (Sr) North Sanpete (Mt. Pleasant, UT) 3.5 of 3.5 [Zone Coverage] Quick Thoughts: You might be wondering "why so many secondary", the reason why is because now the depth they posses at the CB, FS, and SS position is very low, with only 2 CBs, 2 SSs, and 1 FS, on their whole roster and Air Force didn't recruit enough secondary to replace them and will probably suffer because of that predicament. Carter and Olsen should've been a hard hit to the team but they have a 2.0/4.0 RS Fr in Brian Lewis and a 3.5/4.5 RS So in Malik McDonalds at the DE positions and 4.0/4.0 RS Sr in Bobby Oakley and have two incoming Fr who will be redshirted this upcoming season who are DE Derrick Dukes who's a 1.0/5.0 and ILB Keenan High who's a 1.0/4.5 so they should be set at those two positions for the time being. Three Key Storylines Air Force as they lose the Las Vegas Bowl to California 1. Can they improve on last season and make a run towards them playoffs? This Air Force team has improved and seems poised to repeat as MWC Champions and make a bowl, but the question is, can Air Force actually exceed the high expectations and make the playoffs? Air Force has players on both sides that has improved from last season, like Kaufman, Valentine etc, but the depth for their secondary has greatly diminished and that could be a reason why they don't make the playoffs. On the contrary, Reese and Kaufman should make for a dangerous combo, Valentine has a good O-line to help him and the Front 7 is pretty good, so all in all, it's not that bad, but it could use some help. 2. Can Nico Kaufman improve in his final season with Air Force? Nico Kaufman had 17 TDs and 8 INTs. But can Kaufman really put on a show and be a crucial part of this team's success and lead them to a better record last year? Kaufman has been amazing in his first 3 years at Air Force, Air Force has been a amazing team and is a serious contender but they need one of their star players, Kaufman, to produce at another level to be able to compete. One key to that has to be that Kaufman has to target Reese at all times, a 6-3 5/5 TE who only had 567 recieving YDs and 5 TDs, stats that you wouldn't expect of a amazing TE, utilizing Reese more could be helpful to both Kaufman and Reese 3. Can Air Force's O-Line continue to be the best in the MWC and help Valentine produce more rushing TDs? Air Force O-Line rating was 6.45, the best in the MWC and it certainly helped the production of Valentine, but can they repeat that success again? Air Force's O-Line was very productive and Valentine had a better year because of it as he rushed for 1,474 YDs and 17 TDs on 319 carries, Argubly the best RB in the MWC, most times a player might face regression but if the O-Line holds up, Valentine could have a better season and improve his draft stock, as for the O-Line, most will now have another year under their belt and some got better so that's good. Air Force should have a good O-Line to start the season. Scenarios Best-Case Scenario Kaufman and Reese is able to link up good and both Kaufman and Reese have breakout seasons, Valentine improves as well as the O-Line, Air Force overlooks the depth issue at CB, SS, and FS and don't give up big gains and win the MWC championship by a ton and also make the playoffs as the #7 or #8 seed as Kaufman and Reese are named All-Americans. Worst-Case Scenario Reese is still underused, Kaufman has a decent season but no improvement, Valentine doesn't improve along with the O-Line, Air Force give up lots of points and yardage due to lack of depth at the secondary and even though they win the MWC championship by a small margin, they make a bowl which they once again lose and forced to rebuild. Will Air Force Progress or Regress?
  6. 4 likes
    Really glad to see my favorite article series back for 2020! Gotta disagree with the Chiefs though, I see them as way overhyped given the massive question marks they have right now. I also think GB is a bit underrated---but I am biased there lol.
  7. 4 likes
    Dat disrespect. Looking forward to proving you very, very wrong.
  8. 3 likes
    You know, now that I have distance from it, I agree with you about both. Losing Vollmagnet is big deal for KC, and the Pack maybe just needs a little luck.
  9. 3 likes
    You and NYJ actually screwed us over in draft order and basically didn't affect yourselves. Fuck both of you.
  10. 3 likes
  11. 2 likes
    1. Please list your email address and/or your reddit username at which you can be contacted. readallnite@gmail.com 2. Before continuing, please thoroughly read the coaching course and feel free to ask questions. Confirm that you have read the coaching course by writing "Confirmed" below. Confirmed 3. What team do you want to coach? Kent State Golden Flashes 4. Please select two backup teams (in descending order of preference) in case your first choice is unavailable. Bowling Green Falcons Tulsa Golden Hurricane 5. In three or more sentences, tell us a little about yourself. How old are you, what do you do, where are you from, why would you be a good fit here, etc. I'm a 15 year old Australian who is obsessed with football, play sim style Madden and started to get interested in CFB in the past 12 months or so due to the draft. Wanted to play NCAA 14, but its region locked, so I started looking for other CFB games or sims, and started playing Bowl Bound. Found this and thought i'd give it a crack. Love to meet some new people to talk about football with as very few people I know have any idea. 6. This site can be as time consuming as you want it to be. Weekly duties can be completed in 30 minutes or less, however interacting with your fellow players throughout the week makes it more enjoyable for most people. Approximately, how much free time do you have during a typical week? 3-5 hours 7. Losing games is an inevitable reality on this site, especially when accepting newer teams. Do you believe you can handle losing? Disappointment is expected, however we have had issues with people freaking out, and even leaving the site because of losing. Love to rebuild teams and work from the bottom. 8. How did you find out about this site? If recommended by a friend, please post his/her username.
  12. 2 likes
    Unfortunately it looks like we will be playing the Broncos in the AFCCG and we all know how that story ends
  13. 1 like
    This is great! And what a super preview for the Pre-Week 1 Power Rankings to come out... Thanks for picking DEN as well, I'm sure we'll find a way to make it interesting.
  14. 1 like
  15. 1 like
    Saints-Panthers: defense is optional Can't wait for the start of the season! I expect more of these in the future
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