Rams select Goff with first overall pick

The Los Angeles Rams selected California quarterback Jared Goff with the first overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft Thursday night in Chicago. The selection was greatly anticipated, although the team had not informed the NFL who their guy was.

The Rams have been looking for consistent quarterback play for years. Sam Bradford showed glimpses of franchise-quarterback play, but was never healthy enough to show his full potential.

Then in March 2015, the Rams sent Bradford to the Philadelphia Eagles for Nick Foles. Foles never worked out for the Rams, and ultimately found himself as the backup at the end of the season.

Case Keenum posted a 3-1 record in the final four games of the 2015 season, but never really showed any signs of being a long-term option.

The Rams have some nice weapons on offense, in Todd Gurley and Tavon Austin, are led by Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn and Trumaine Johnson on defense, and boast one of the league’s top special teams. The only thing they’ve truly been missing is a quarterback.

At 6’4′, 215 pounds, Goff is the ideal size for an NFL quarterback. He has a great arm, rarely turns the ball over, and can move in the pocket.  His only potential weakness is that he hasn’t played in a pro-style offense. If Goff can quickly learn the proper footwork from under center, he is poised to have a successful NFL career, and the Rams will have found a gem.

 

Fantasy Outlook: San Francisco 49ers

 (Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

(Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

Within the next two weeks, every team will be in training camp preparing for the start of a new NFL season. With every new season comes new hope, whether it’s for a brighter future or a championship. It also means you have to start preparing for your fantasy football season. If you start preparing now then you can get ahead of the rest of your league.

San Francisco made it to another NFC Championship game last year, making that three straight. But still, they haven’t gotten the result they wanted, a Super Bowl victory. I expect San Francisco to rely a bit more on their depth at running back, which is why I left Gore off the list before. I also think they will throw the ball more. As the 2014 approaches, San Francisco is still viewed as a Super Bowl contender. Let’s see who on their team can make you a championship contender as well. Continue Reading

Marcell Dareus Returns to Camp Seeking Trust

Photo by Corey Fincham/AP

Photo by Corey Fincham/AP

After a failed conditioning test that has kept Marcell Dareus out of  training camp, Dareus reported to camp today simply to interact with his fellow teammates. The Buffalo Bills defensive lineman has had a trying and extremely troubled offseason. Dareus had to work to get back in shape and pass the teams required conditioning test before he can actually practice with the team, but he’s also focused on re-earning the trust of his coaches and fellow players. He took the first step after he passed his conditioning test yesterday.

“Right now, my focus is on earning the trust of my teammates, coaches and the fans while continuing to improve as a football player. I have a passion for this game and I want to be here to help this organization achieve its goals,” Dareus said in a statement released by the team. “There are things I need to work on professionally and personally to make sure I can be accountable to myself, my family, this team and this community.”

The pro bowler begun by working out Wednesday in hopes of practicing with the team as early as Friday (the Bills have an off day Thursday). Dareus failed the initial conditioning test on Sunday, and was excused from team activities for the past three days while he was in court dealing with his drag-racing charges that went on this offseason with teammate Jerry Hughes.

Head Coach Doug Marrone is happy to have his young star back, but also kept a realistic timeline in Dareus’ return to the field. “We’re going day by day,” Marrone said. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself.” Dareus has been a starter since day one with the Bills after being drafted third overall by the team in 2010. He’s coming off a career season in which he was credited with 71 tackles and 7.5 sacks and made his first Pro Bowl appearance as an injury replacement.

“I’m excited to return to training camp to rejoin my teammates in our preparations for the 2014 season,” he said in the statement. “I want to thank the Bills organization, coach Marrone and the coaching staff, my teammates and our fans for their continued support.”

Are the Bucs playoff Contenders?

Vincent Jackson

(Photo Credit: profootballrosters.com)

The Bucs have been pathetic to say the least over the past few seasons, but what they have done this offseason may make them contenders this season.

They began by naming Lovie Smith as their new Head Coach. Lovie has a system that should fit very well in Tampa. He started by grabbing the veteran QB he had while in Chicago in Josh McCown. He had a tough physical RB in Matt Forte, and now that is exactly what he has in Tampa with Doug Martin. In Chicago he had 2 Big and physical WRs in Marshall and Jeffery, and now he has exactly that with Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.

Do you see where this trend is going? He is recreating the Chicago Bears offense of the past, a very successful Bears offense to say the least. While their offense looked sharp, the defense Lovie had in Chicago was the real heart and soul of the team. Lovie added big name free agents in Michael Johnson, and Alterraun Verner this offseason. The loss of Darrelle Revis seemed to be devastating, but filling that hole with someone like Verner will have Bucs fans saying, “Revis who?”.

With a strong defense and an efficient offense, this Bucs team could be playing some meaningful games come December. Since the NFC South hasn’t had a repeat division winner the previous 4 seasons, the Bucs could be looking to go from worst to first.

This team has a lot to prove this year, but if they can split their division games at the worst, we may see them playing playoff football.

Fantasy Outlook: Seattle Seahawks

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Froschauer)

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Within the next two weeks, every team will be in training camp preparing for the start of a new NFL season. With every new season comes new hope, whether it’s for a brighter future or a championship. It also means you have to start preparing for your fantasy football season. If you start preparing now then you can get ahead of the rest of your league.

The Seattle Seahawks were crowned Super Bowl champions last year after an amazing year. It was Seattle’s defense, the Legion of Boom, that got all the attention after destroying Denver in the Super Bowl. Yet, Seattle had three top ten fantasy players (Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and Seattle’s D/ST). Seattle can really make a fantasy impact for your team this year, just beware of the extra hype the Super Bowl champions tend to get. Continue Reading

Michael Sam The Football Player

(Photo Credit: AP Photos/GM Andrews)

(Photo Credit: AP Photos/GM Andrews)

If you’ve turned on a TV in the past five months then you know all about Michael Sam. If you don’t know who Michael Sam is, you should come out of the rock you are currently living under.

Michael Sam became the first openly gay football player in NFL history when he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round. He has been analyzed, debated about, criticized, and praised for everything from his draft combine to kissing his boyfriend on live television.

It’s obvious to anyone that has heard Michael Sam’s story that things haven’t always been easy. Sam witnessed his brother being shot and killed, has two older brothers who are both in prison, and has a brother who has been missing since 1998. His parents separted when he was younger. He was criticized by his mother for wanting to play football when he was younger, who did not agree with Sam pursuing football because of her religion (she is a Jehovah’s Witness).

As you can tell, Michael Sam didn’t have it easy. Yet, he was able to raise above all of that and realize his dream of becoming an NFL player. It’s clear that Michael Sam is more than a football player, but it’s unfair to use him for headlines on an article. Michael Sam is a football player. Sam is a obviously a fighter. He doesn’t want your sympathy or special attention because of who he loves. Michael Sam wants to be a football player.

Now that you are all caught up, let’s talk football.

St. Louis reports to training camp on July 24th. Like every seventh round pick, Michael Sam is going to have to battle for a roster spot, while also having the media watch his every move. His dream is to make the Ram’s roster, by focusing a spotlight on him, it will only make things harder than they need to be. If Sam does make the roster, he will have to continue to battle to make a career.

From a football standpoint, Sam is small defensive end and a slow outside linebacker. He had 9 of his 11.5 sacks last season came in three games. He had a poor combine and ultimately ended up as a seventh round pick. He plays for a team that already has a stacked defensive line, which may be the best d-line in the league.  If you expect Michael Sam to make St. Louis, you may be disappointed.

For those of you that want to support Michael Sam, I advise you to view him as a football player. Football is his job. Let the man work and compete. The media cycle of anything and everything Michael Sam isn’t needed. How would you like someone watching you with a magnified glass while you worked? Let’s not make him the next Tim Tebow.

So other media sources, take a lesson from Pro Football 366. Stop asking current and former coaches, GMs, players, equipment managers, and journalists about whether or not they’d draft Sam (like Tony Dungy was asked) or if he is going to be a locker room distraction. By doing so, you will make him a locker room distraction and your only subjecting others to criticism for their own opinions. Give the guy a fair chance to succeed by giving the guy some space.

If you didn’t catch the point of this article, I’ll reiterate it: Let Michael Sam play football. 

As for Pro Football 366, we cover football. We will only discuss Michael Sam if it has some football context.  Just like every other rookie, we wish Michael Sam luck as he begins his life in the NFL.

Tony Dungy and Michael Sam

Tony Dungy should not have to back down from his religious convictions because of the collective outrage of secularist media. Why is it okay to misrepresent what he said?

Tony Dungy never once insulted the dignity and beauty inherent in the humanity of Michael Sam, a humble kid from humble beginnings. He simply stated what a caller on Sirius XM’s NFL channel noted- a “Tebow effect”- a players whose potential contributions could be overshadowed by the incessant media distractions. Tony Dungy, as a man whose former position was one predicated on fielding the best squad possible has every right to pass on a player who he sees as a negative net gain, all told.

Do I agree that it’s necessarily the case? No. I believe that, in addition to being a genuinely kind individual, Sam provides a defensive spark and the ability to play well in space.

But is it offensive if he’s wrong? No, he’d just be mistaken.

Why do we as a society accept that Tim Tebow is excluded from NFL rosters in part because of the media circus he creates because of his strict coherence to his religious faith?

Does Tebow’s disappearance mean that all men of faith will be excluded from the NFL? Of course not. As the news media repeats ad naseum, the players who give the team the best chance to win will play. The players who are good enough so their impact on the field supersedes their negatives in the locker room or in the media will make the team. It’s that simple.

It is the same for homosexual football players.

If Tony Dungy believes that Michael Sam’s talent is not up to a level where it would compensate for the distractions it brings, it says more about his perception of Michael Sam’s ability than Michael Sam’s sexuality.

Even if Dungy, a Christian man who did support legislation preventing gay couples from being legally recognized as a married unit, why can he not act upon his beliefs? Why must he bend to the whims of secularism and defend himself in circles when he simply is acting in accord with his religious convictions- even when you or another may disagree?

I wholeheartedly believe that Michael Sam will be a success in the NFL because of his humility, quickness, and ability to read the action of the offense. He is a young man who has been through many trials in his life and deserves a chance at success.

But if you, I, or Tony Dungy feel as if his talent level doesn’t measure up to his cost in the form of distractions, or it directly violates your, mine, or Dungy’s faith to champion that lifestyle, consider the ramifications of accusing someone out of context.

 

BREAKING: Ravens’ Rice Suspended 2 Games

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The NFL has suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for 2 games to begin the 2014 season due to an offseason arrest for assault. In addition to the two game unpaid suspension, Rice will be fined $58,000 by the league and will be asked by the league to take counseling.

The Ravens will be without their star running back for two divisional games poised to set the tone for the entire season. The season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and week 2 Thursday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Missing two games is a lot more difficult when it’s against two division rivals. The Ravens, who missed the playoffs last year after winning the Super Bowl the year before, are poised for a bounce back season, but losing their running back for two key early games may hurt them later on.

With no clear cut replacement for Rice, the Ravens will look at all options of the course of training camp, including back ups Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro. It’s expected that Pierce will get the starts, but only time will tell if that theory holds true. Pierce has had a limited offseason due to surgery to repair his shoulder, however looks to be fully healthy come opener.

Rice was indicted by a grand jury in late March on third-degree aggravated assault. Though suspension was expected throughout this entire process, news of it is never a happy time for an organization. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh stated in an interview “There are many sides to every story,” Harbaugh said. “There are a lot of factors. There are other people involved; there are other disciplinary situations involved around the league.”

Possible Replacements For Mike Pouncey

Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey is expected to miss the first eight weeks of the season due to his recent hip surgery. When Mike Pouncey first suffered his hip injury he was expected to miss four to six weeks. The injury to Mike Pouncey will cause some serious problems for the Dolphins. The Dolphins who already have problems with their offensive line, will have to deal with yet another problem. The Miami coaches will have to find a replacement for Mike Pouncey. Here are some possible options for the Dolphins to replace Pouncey for the time he will miss.

 

Sam Brenner

Sam Brenner is listed as the Dolphins’ back-up center and when Pouncey missed time in mandatory minicamp he was the starter and was given a good amount of reps. Brenner who was an undrafted rookie last season played well at guard. He played four games and impressed many of the Miami coaches. The big concern about Brenner is he never played a game at center. The four games he played for Miami he only played guard, even in his time at the University of Utah he played tackle and guard, but never center.

 

Nate Garner

Nate Garner is a versatile player that can play almost any position on the offensive line. Garner played center twice last season, in those two games the Dolphins went 1-1 and was able to hold his own at center. Even though Brenner has been getting majority of the snaps at starter, doesn’t mean that Philbin won’t go back to what he did last year.

 

Shelley Smith

Shelley Smith is another possible option at center for the Dolphins. Smith signed with Dolphins this offseason after spending four seasons with the St. Louis Rams he proved that he can play both center and guard. The biggest concern with Smith is he has only started eight games in his four season career. Smith only had two starts in the 2013 season so doesn’t have the experience the Dolphins are hoping for.

BREAKING: Jamal Charles, Chiefs Agree on Deal

If you blinked you probably missed Jamal Charles’ holdout. Charles did not report to camp this morning due to the fact that he wanted a pay raise. Charles’ old contract was worth $3.9 million annually including bonuses so a new deal was definitely in store for him.

While we do not have an exact salary number yet, it is expected that Charles’ contract is going to be in the $9-$12 million per year category. It is also rumored that the deal will extend his stay with the Chiefs three seasons. This deal will pay Charles like the elite running back that he is and it could ensure that he will finish his career as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.

For more breaking news stories, follow @ProFootball366 on twitter!

 

UPDATE 5:02 PM

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Charles’ deal is a two year extension that makes him the second highest paid Running Back in the NFL.