NFL Top 10 Players of 2017

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I realized that the NBA Awards are not the only interesting sports awards happening tonight because NFL Network‘s Top 100 Players of 2017 concludes tonight at 8 pm ET on (you guessed it!) NFL Network. Although the NBA Awards are a little more official and have flashier trophies that come with them, the NFL’s list of the Top 100 players is always interesting to see because it gives an inside look at what NFL players think of their peers. Today, the list of names in the Top 10 was released in alphabetical order, so let’s reorder them in order of greatness as a guess for how the ranking will shake out this evening:

  1. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons (16 games: 69.9 completion % for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns with 7 interceptions and 3 fumbles for a 117.1 passer rating)
  2. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers (16 games: 65.7 completion % for 4,428 yards and 40 touchdowns with 7 interceptions and 4 fumbles for a 104.2 passer rating)
  3. Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos (16 games: 78 combined tackles, 13.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles with 0 fumble recoveries, 0 interceptions and 0 touchdowns)
  4. Odell Beckham Jr, WR, New York Giants (16 games: 101 receptions on 169 targets for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns with 1 fumble)
  5. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (15 games: 106 receptions on 155 targets for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns with 0 fumbles)
  6. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys (15 games: 322 carries for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns with 5 fumbles; 32 catches on 40 targets for 363 yards and 1 touchdown with 0 fumbles)
  7. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons (14 games: 83 receptions on 129 targets for 1,409 yards and 6 touchdowns with 0 fumbles)
  8. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots (12 games: 67.4 completion % for 3,554 yards and 28 touchdowns with 2 interceptions and 4 fumbles for a 112.2 passer rating)
  9. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (12 games: 261 carries for 1,268 yards and 7 touchdowns with 3 fumbles; 75 catches on 94 targets for 616 yards and 2 touchdowns with 1 fumble)
  10. Khalil Mack, DE, Oakland Raiders (16 games: 73 combined tackles, 11 sacks, 5 forced fumbles with 3 fumble recoveries, 1 interception and 1 touchdown)

Explanations:

  • I have Khalil Mack ranked last because all the Derek Carr fans seem to think that Carr does everything by himself on CARR’S team. Apparently, despite statistics indicating the contrary, Carr outperformed Dak Prescott last year just because the Raiders have a lesser RB, O-line, and defense. If the Raiders have a lesser defense, so be it. So, I ranked Mack pretty much solely on resentment for all Oakland Derek Carrs (I mean, Oakland Raiders) fans, Derek Carr fans, Fresno State fans, and people from the city of Oakland.
  • You’ll notice that the other 9 players are first organized by number of games played. For those of you who read my NBA Awards post last night, you’ll remember that I said I value most the players that stay injury and suspension free to be there for their team when their team needs them. That rings true for the NFL, too.
  • Tom Brady is ranked above Le’Veon Bell in the “12 games” category because Brady once again led the New England Patriots to their most thrilling Super Bowl victory yet.
  • In the “15 games” category, I ranked Antonio Brown over Ezekiel Elliott because Brown didn’t have any turnovers. The two most important things for an offensive player are holding on to the ball and scoring. Brown was +5 in the holding on to the ball category and Zeke was +4 in the scoring category. 5>4, so Brown edges Zeke.
  • The “16 games” category was the trickiest because there were four players (not including Khalil Mack, of course) who fell into that category. Ultimately, I put the two QBs at the top because QBs are the most valuable players for a franchise. The two Super Bowl teams were both led by QBs on this Top 10 list (Matt Ryan for the Atlanta Falcons and Tom Brady for the New England Patriots), while the teams without definitive starting QBs include the Cleveland Browns, the New York Jets, the Los Angeles Rams, etc. The one anomaly was the Houston Texans, who got to the playoffs (and defeated the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs, by the way!) on the arms of Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage.
  • So, 3 and 4 were between Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. I chose Miller over Beckham because, although I love OBJ as a fan of Big Blue, a defensive player usually manages to crack the top 3. Also, OBJ’s stats dropped off this year from last year. Also-also (yes, I meant to put two “also”s there), 13.5 sacks in the NFL is very impressive, especially on a defense that almost carried the Denver Broncos to the playoffs despite Trevor Siemian (don’t get me started on Northwestern) starting at QB.
  • 1 and 2 were easy from there. Matt Ryan a higher completion %, more yards, fewer fumbles, and a higher passer rating than Aaron Rodgers. Oh, Ryan also won the MVP award and led the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl, so there’s that.

That’s all for TheHaysWay for now, please leave a comment with your thoughts on my Top 10 ranking and/or on your own Top 10 ranking and/or on whatever is on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like. CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is always welcome to help me improve my blog. If you are not yet a follower, become a follower to improve your greatness ranking (and mine, too) 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow!

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NFL Franchise Tags (and Lack Thereof)

Just typed in the old domain out of habit. Lol. Anyway, in honor of the new domain that took the “nfl” part out, I’m going to start out talking about the NFL. Today was the deadline for teams to use their annual franchise tag, so here are the players who were franchise tagged, and some players who weren’t franchise tagged who maybe should have been:

Players With Franchise Tag

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  • Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers– This was an easy decision for the Steelers to make. Bell is the top RB in the NFL and many have claimed that he has created a new running style. He does everything asked of an NFL RB: runs, catches passes, blocks, etc. I also think it was smart not to give him a long-term deal YET because he has had a couple of substance-related suspensions. The tag is telling him, “Hey! You are an AMAZING RB, but you’ve got to take the right path.”
  • Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins– I was disappointed to see this as a New York Giants fan because Kirk Cousins is an above average NFL QB. The Washington Redskins eventually have to cave and just give Kirk Cousins his long-term deal. He has yet to perform in the clutch, but Kirk Cousins is a capable starting NFL QB, and that’s hard to come by in the NFL.
  • Melvin Ingram, LB, Los Angeles Chargers– Between Melvin Ingram and DE Joey Bosa, the Los Angeles Chargers have a scary young pass rushing duo. Great decision, and I think Melvin Ingram will get his long-term payday once QB Philip Rivers decides to retire (which will free up cap space for the Los Angeles Chargers).
  • Trumaine Johnson, CB, Los Angeles Rams– The Los Angeles Rams are lost. Trumaine Johnson is good and young, which is why the Los Angeles Rams felt compelled to tag him. From that Los Angeles Rams perspective, I understand the decision. After all, they don’t have too many good players to pay.
  • Chandler Jones, LB, Arizona Cardinals– This was a decent decision. Chandler Jones is a very good player, and he’s still on the right side of 30 (27 years old). Chandler Jones gives the Arizona Cardinals a quality pass rush. I look forward to seeing Chandler Jones team up with a healthy (hopefully) DE Robert Nkemdiche (who was oft-injured this season) next season. That will be another scary, young pass rush duo.
  • Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, New York Giants– I was thrilled when I read about this one. JPP was the reason that the Big Blue defense worked last season. His excellent pass rush ensured that the secondary wouldn’t get out of position due to opposing QBs having too much time. It’s just too bad the G-men decided to give DE Olivier Vernon a MASSIVE deal last offseason because that will make it more difficult to give a similar deal to JPP, who deserves it more.
  • Kawann Short, DT, Carolina Panthers– Kawann Short is the second most important player on the Carolina Panthers defense behind MLB Luke Kuechly. Kawann Short is the run-stuffer in the middle of the d-line, which is very important. Of course, with the Carolina Panthers lackluster secondary, opposing teams can afford to be forced to pass.

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Key Players Without Franchise Tag

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  • Stephon Gilmore, CB, Buffalo Bills– OK, WHERE IS THE BUFFALO BILLS MONEY GOING?! Stephon Gilmore may not be the best CB in the NFL, but he is still a great CB. Seeing as the Buffalo Bills refuse to pay QB Tyrod Taylor, I don’t know why they wouldn’t ensure that Stephon Gilmore doesn’t go anywhere else (which they should’ve been able to afford to do).
  • Dont’a Hightower, LB, New England Patriots– I get it…the New England Patriots are paying A LOT of players to get them to the Super Bowl on a consistent basis. That said, Dont’a Hightower is the heart and soul of the New England Patriots Super Bowl-caliber defense, and his play inspired the Pats comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Also, Dont’a Hightower is one of the best pass-rushing inside LBs in the NFL. Of course, Bill Belichick could play LB himself for the New England Patriots and he’d still be the best LB ever because that’s just how the system always seems to work…:(
  • Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears– The Chicago Bears need to focus on paying a QB to be able to get the ball to receivers like Alshon Jeffery. Plus, Alshon Jeffery has missed something like 11 games in the last two seasons. With the MANY areas of need that the Chicago Bears have, they can’t afford to pay a player who misses that much time.
  • Dontari Poe, DT, Kansas City Chiefs– Dontari Poe was outperformed by rookie DT Chris Jones. Great move by the Kansas City Chiefs to choose the younger and less expensive player in Chris Jones. I’m sure Dontari Poe is also thrilled because he’s one of the best DTs available in free agency this offseason, so he should make bank.
  • Terrelle Pryor, WR, Cleveland Browns– The Cleveland Browns are in a similar situation to the Chicago Bears with WR Alshon Jeffery: they need to focus on paying a quality QB who can get the ball in the vicinity of talented WRs such as Terrelle Pryor. Here’s the difference: Terrelle Pryor used to play QB, and he’s probably better than the current Cleveland Browns QBs. The Cleveland Browns should have payed Terrelle Pryor WR money to move back to QB!
  • Brandon Williams, DT, Baltimore Ravens– I’m really not sure why the Baltimore Ravens opted not to tag Brandon Williams, who is a great player on the right side of 30 (28 years old). Who else are they paying? FS Eric Weddle…MLB CJ Mosley…Is there anybody else that I’m missing?

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That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment on the players who were franchise tagged and/or on the players who were not franchise tagged and/or on whatever else is on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like. If you are not yet a follower, become a follower of the newly-renamed thehaysway.wordpress.com. 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow.

Daily Update: July 28, 2016

And yet, you were the one who said fear was necessary for command.” -Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Star Trek

Chris Pine is a phenomenal actor and the franchise reboot was done masterfully (albeit with an excessive amount of lens flares, Abrams). Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything from Star Trek: Beyond for you guys. In fact, I won’t even give my opinion on it right now. You’ll have to go watch it yourself. Anyway, this is one of the more interesting themes from the 2009 original reboot (yes, that’s an oxymoron): Fear. Fear is a large aspect in life. A lot of what people do is in relation to how they feel about fear. That’s what sets the bold apart from the complacent. The bold face their fears, and the complacent, do not. I agree with Spock (Kirk is referring to him when he says ‘you’), fear is necessary for command. The greatest of leaders are the ones who are able to overcome their fears to perform when the group they are leading needs them to do so the most. As this is a sports blog, I will give a sports example. In sports, those great leaders are typically considered ‘clutch’. I’m sure Cleveland was terrified when the Cavaliers were down 1-3 against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals this year. LeBron James overcame his fear of falling just short again and led his team to the amazing comeback that I use as a frequent example for things in my blog, now. So, fear is necessary for command because fear is what builds those commanders and teaches them to be able to lead, no matter what situation they are facing. To be perfectly honest, I am absolutely terrified of bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets (and any other flying, black-and-yellow insects with stingers). I am also afraid that I will encounter a hopeless situation. I live my life with total belief that I can accomplish anything, if only I find the correct approach. But, I recognize that it is not possible to have COMPLETE control of every situation. Sometimes, I can’t accomplish something because key choices involved in the accomplishment are not mine to make. It sucks when a situation doesn’t work out because of the doing of someone else. It’s like working in a group when a group member doesn’t do what they are supposed to for the team to run smoothly. Fear drives us. However, I write the NFL news without fear:

  1. Dallas Cowboys LB Rolando McClain did not travel with the team to California for training camp. An explanation for this has yet to be delivered to the public, but it IS possible that McClain could be headed out the door soon in Dallas. He is already suspended for the first 10 games of this season, and this certainly doesn’t make it seem like he is committed to football.
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell plans to appeal his four-game suspension for violating the league policy on substances of abuse. Much like New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, I doubt the appeal will amount to anything for Bell. Honestly, I’m getting really tired of NFL players appealing their suspensions. If they hadn’t made mistakes in the first place, they wouldn’t be suspended. So if they want to avoid suspensions, they need to stop doing stupid things that they know they aren’t supposed to do!
  3. New York Jets WR Brandon Marshall challenged Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown to a high-stakes bet today. If Marshall ends the season with more receiving yards, he wants Brown’s Rolls Royce. If Brown ends the season with more receiving yards, Marshall has offered to get him a Porsche. Brown has yet to accept the bet, saying, “He [Marshall] don’t really wanna do that.” That’s a lucky statement for Marshall, who likely won’t come close to Brown’s receiving totals, despite having QB Ryan Fitzpatrick back in the building. Back out while you can Marshall! Brown is just more productive than you.
  4. The Minnesota Vikings have extended the contract of head coach Mike Zimmer. The length of the contract has yet to become available to the public, but I think it’s a great deal for both parties. The Vikings really don’t need too much more talent to get to the Super Bowl, the team is really good right now and has the youth to compete for many years to come.

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment on the daily quote, and/or the daily news and/or anything that’s on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like. Have a pleasant tomorrow.

Weekend in Review: July 10, 2016

(Very minor language in the following scene)”When life gives you lemons? Don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad!” -Cave Johnson, Founder of Aperture Science

For those of you who have played Portal 2, you likely remember the EXACT moment this was said in the game. It is a FANTASTIC rant. For those of you who haven’t played Portal 2, I HIGHLY encourage you to give it a shot. It is a very well-done game and it’s loads of fun. I actually have played through the solo campaign AT LEAST 15 times. I once played it so many times in a row, that I memorized it, and finished the whole campaign in about 3 hours. (Hey, I’m proud of it! I don’t care how nerdy it is! It’s fun!) Even for those of you who aren’t gamers, you will likely find something fascinating throughout this game. I LOVE this rant. He’s SO right. Life throws a lot of crap at us that we don’t want, and we don’t deserve. Don’t just take it. Fight back. It’s like bullying. If you are the victim, the best way to stop the bully is to fight back and beat him/her. So fight back against life. Show life that the crap it throws at you is beneficial for you. There is a positive for every negative, and all you have to do is find it and embrace it. For example, the death of my beloved television was one instance of life giving me lemons. But I didn’t just take it. I fought back with a NEW television. A BETTER television. So my Madden, Portal 2, and Star Wars (I got an AWESOME new Kylo Ren lightsaber over the weekend!) marathon experiences now have a sharper picture! Take THAT life! Getting mad isn’t even the best way to do it. If you can beat the crap that life throws your way without letting it get to you, you are even better off. Again paralleling bullying, the bully (life) wants to affect you to hurt your self-esteem. If you don’t let it affect you, it will stop bullying you. There is always a way to succeed. Life will NEVER beat you when you STOP it. Now the news:

  1. Former NFL QB Michael Vick posted a photo-shopped picture of himself wearing a Golden State Warriors jersey today. I really only have one word for that: No.
  2. University of Oregon WR Devon Allen has booked his flight for the Rio Olympics. He placed FIRST in the US qualifying finals of the 110-meter hurdles yesterday night. INCREDIBLY impressive for a college athlete. Good for him, and best of luck at the Olympics. Bring home the gold for the US!
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell has been injured since tearing his MCL and PCL in Week 8 of last season. He believes he is on track with his rehab, and claims he will be ready for training camp. Though most players exaggerate how well they are doing in rehab, this is GREAT news for the Steelers. Bell is one of the best RBs in the NFL today, and the Steelers are FANTASTIC when their big three of Bell, QB Ben Roethlisberger, and WR Antonio Brown are all healthy.
  4. Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley came out and said that he “couldn’t ask for better QB” of rookie Rams QB Jared Goff. Goff appears to be doing all the right things so far in gaining the support of prominent teammates like Gurley. How well he performs as a QB at the NFL level won’t be displayed until he hits the field in REAL games. If Gurley is right, the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks will need to watch their backs in the NFC West sooner, rather than later.
  5. There has been a lot of controversy lately regarding which WRs are the best in the league due to some questionable rankings in the “Top 100 Players of 2016” list. Personally, I believe Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown is the top dog in that group due to his consistent production every season. The next two are (supposedly) WR Odell Beckham Jr (duh) and WR Julio Jones? Beckham has the best hands in the league by far, so I believe he should be number 2 over Jones. I don’t believe Jones is number three. Who is, then? Chicago Bears WR Alshon Jeffery? Definite possibility because he has been putting up big numbers with JAY CUTLER as his QB. He was also good enough to push WR Brandon Marshall and TE Martellus Bennett out of town. Cincinnati Bengals WR AJ Green? He has been the lone wolf receiving threat in Cincinnati (until TE Tyler Eifert’s emergence last season) and has put up big numbers. Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant? Played well even in the absence of starting QB Tony Romo. Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas? Has played VERY well despite receiving from QB Tim Tebow, and past-prime QB Peyton Manning. Okay, for last season ALONE, Jones definitely has a shot at the number three spot. However, personally, I would go with WR AJ Green. He really allowed for the emergence of both QB Andy Dalton and TE Tyler Eifert last season. Why did I bring this up? I bought an awesome statuette of New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr over the weekend! If you haven’t heard of McFarlane Figures, check them out because they make a lot of NFL player statuettes. So, I now have my OBJ one on my desk next to my New York Giants WR Victor Cruz one. Hopefully, the New York Giants starting offense this season will have the same duo.

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment on the daily quote and/or the daily news and/or anything that’s on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like (quick shout-out: my last post received quite a few likes, so thank you all VERY much for that and PLEASE tell me what you liked so much so that I can continue to improve like count 🙂 ). Have a pleasant tomorrow.

Day in Review: July 28, 2015

Today was a juicy one, so let’s get started:

1. The NFL has decided to uphold QB Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension following his appeal. The suspension was given as punishment for ‘Deflategate’, and is more than reasonable, so the league ABSOLUTELY got it right this time. Props to you Goodell, and SUCK IT you SPOILED PATRIOTS FANS!

2. The NFL has decided to reduce the suspension of RB Le’Veon Bell from 3 games to 2 games. Bell got in trouble for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and while this likely wasn’t the right call by the NFL, it will result in more fantasy points for most of my fantasy teams! 🙂

3. The Atlanta Falcons worked out free agent OT Jake Long. Long spent the previous two seasons with the St Louis Rams (before being cut). and spent the five seasons prior with the Miami Dolphins. The addition of Long would be HUGE for an offensive line that couldn’t prevent QB Matt Ryan from getting hit many times last season.

4. The New Orleans Saints cut DT Brodrick Bunkley today. This comes shortly after the Saints’ release of LB Junior Galette, and proves once again that the Saints have no idea how to manage their cap space. Bunkley was with the Saints for three years, spent the year before with the Denver Broncos, and the five seasons prior to that with the Philadelphia Eagles.

5. DT Dontari Poe of the Kansas City Chiefs had surgery on a herniated disc. The surgery will result in him missing training camp and possibly the start of the season as well.

6. The St Louis Rams announced today that RB Todd Gurley will be on the active roster to start training camp. Gurley was the 10th overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft and is coming off of an ACL tear during his final season at the University of Georgia.

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, have a pleasant tomorrow.

NFL Poll

Here’s a question that I would like to hear some other opinions:

With the many substance-related suspensions over the past couple of days (coughcough… Le’Veon… coughcough… Victor… coughcough), do you believe the NFL’s punishments need to be increased on substance matters, decreased, or remain the same?

Day in Review: April 9, 2015

Today was not a kind day to the Pittsburgh Steelers:

1. Early today, the NFL announced that RB Le’Veon Bell is facing suspension for the first 3 games of this season for violating the league’s policy on substances of abuse.

2.The second piece of news applies to the Steelers and the entire NFL as the league lost an all-time great to retirement: S Troy Polamalu. After 12 seasons, the veteran decided to call it quits today after the Steelers showed little interest in resigning him. I hope all Steelers fans are in agreement that Polamalu deserves a shout-out for staying loyal to the Steelers by not going to another team, even though I believe he still has some football left in him.

3. Moving away from Pittsburgh and to Carolina, the Panthers signed CB Charles Tillman to a one-year deal, so he will have at least one more year to continue playing before considering retirement again. Tillman played 12 seasons for the Chicago Bears before becoming a free agent this offseason.

4. For a lesser-known signing, TE Rob Housler has signed with the Cleveland Browns after 4 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.

5. The last important piece of news today: The 2015 NFL Preseason Schedule was released today and you can check that out at 2015 nfl preseason schedule .

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, and (as Chevy Chase would say) have a pleasant tomorrow.