“Consistency” the word that plagued the Panthers for the past two seasons after their historic crumble in the Super Bowl. The Panthers did not look like the same team that went 15-1, had an MVP off of a historic season, and a great young core. Cam Newton got hit over and over again in the 2016 season, causing him to miss time due to injuries and later having to get his torn rotator cuff repaired. The Panthers spent the pick from their hangover from the Super Bowl on Christian McCaffrey. Newton was not the same in 2017 as he struggled to be accurate after his surgery while McCaffrey struggled to pick up momentum in the running game. The result of this was an 11-5 season, a traded receiver, and a new offensive coordinator that would change the outlook of the Panthers future. While 11-5 doesn’t sound like a bad season (it’s not) the Panthers looked far from their 2015 historic selves while playing inconsistently in nearly aspect of the game. In 2018 the Panthers are not only playing smarter on the field, but they are making all the right decisions off the field.
The NBA has been gaining popularity over the past several years thanks to a plethora of drama between star players (and sometimes even the teams) through social media. The play continues to get better and more exciting each year, and the egos grow three sizes each time a super-max contract gets signed. The Steelers would fit right in with the rest of the NBA, they just need to sign Jimmy Graham, George Fant, Connor Barwin, Julius Peppers, and Antonio Gates and they’ve got a starting five that would be absolutely fascinating to watch for about one quarter. This season has been a constant rollercoaster for the Steelers, it’s a shame that they weren’t the stars of Hard Knocks or All or Nothing, imagine being a fly on the wall for any of the conversations surrounding Le’Veon Bell this season. Le’Veon Bell was franchise tagged again by the Steelers, who have offered the Swiss army knife of a running back a $42 million deal with $13.3 AAV, which he turned down. It seems the Steelers want to hold off on paying Bell his asking price(a floor of $14.5 million or so) for as long as possible because they have to worry about paying everyone else on the team and Bell is one dirty piss test away from another suspension. There’s no doubting Bell’s talent on the field, he’s averaged 128.9 yards from scrimmage in his career, the largest since the merger. He plays nearly every down, can block well, like I said he’s a swiss army knife. In the waning years of Big Ben’s career, it would be best to have a top tier running back to help bring a young quarterback once Ben rides into the sunset with his walking boot in tow, but that doesn’t seem to be the Steelers game plan. In all likelihood, I expect this to be Le’Veon Bell’s final season in the steel city. Even after his inevitable return just before the deadline of week 10, something tells me they might not even play him, I have zero facts to back this up though. This is a pure gut feeling, Mike Tomlin just seems like he’d be petty enough to keep a guy like that out of the lineup after this holdout. Now, it’s quite possible we never see how that scenario plays out because earlier this week the Steelers began taking trade offers for Bell. Here are my top five teams that should trade for Bell:
Head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach have shared a vision to create the fastest and scariest modern NFL offense. Their goal was completed once they traded up in the 2017 draft to nab Patrick Mahomes at pick ten. In previous seasons the Chiefs have had speed all over the field in order to spread their offense out, the problem was that Alex Smith was unable to take advantage of this. His arm strength wasn’t there, despite that the Chiefs reached the playoffs four times in the past five seasons, they just couldn’t get it done in the playoffs. Teams were able to figure out Reid’s productive offense by playing the short end of the field and run which is where Alex Smith previously excelled at; they could take away Alex Smith’s favorite targets in the middle of the field because they knew the deep field would not be a problem most of the time. Second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes solves this issue; his biggest strength is just that. His arm strength, he lives in the deep field, but that doesn’t mean he can’t work in the 20-yard range.
Baker Mayfield chants roared through FirstEnergy Stadium during an ugly first-half showing against the Jets on Thursday Night Football. Tyrod Taylor wasn’t getting the job done in Cleveland while fans waited patiently to see their quarterback of the future play. Towards the end of the second quarter Taylor went down with a concussion; Baker was given the opportunity to win the Brown’s first game in nearly two years despite being down 14-0. Baker did exactly that. On his first drive, the young quarterback quickly moved the ball down the field to get into field goal range to get some points on the board going into halftime. After halftime, the training wheels fell off and Baker found a home in the Browns offense. He electrified the crowd with his leadership and his fantastic play. In the end, the Browns won the game under Mayfield’s 201 yards on 73.9 completion percentage and a play that saw him catch the ball in the end zone on a two-point conversion.