NFL slows down Chip Kelly’s Fast-Paced Offense

chip-kelly-offenseFew teams had more hype entering this season than the Philadelphia Eagles. And much of this hype stemmed from new head coach Chip Kelly and his fast-paced offense.

Kelly’s offense, which puts opposing defenses through a track meet by quickly running plays and speeding up the game, was hailed as revolutionary. Two games into the year, an anonymous offensive coordinator told NFL Media columnist Michael Silver that it would work all season.

ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski said that the Eagles’ 33-27 Week 1 win over the Redskins “changed the landscape of the NFL from a philosophical, schematic approach to how the game is played.” Jaworski added, “What Michael Vick did to London Fletcher on numerous reads was take his strength and make it a weakness. An aggressive, downhill, smart, intelligent player was pretty much rendered useless early in the game because all of the options within this scheme that Chip Kelly has designed. So I think it is here to stay.”

nick-foles-eaglesAnybody who watched Philadelphia’s Week 7 game against the Cowboys saw anything but what Jaws described. What they witnessed was Vick standing on the sidelines with an injury…Nick Foles scrambling around in the pocket and making horribly inaccurate throws…LeSean McCoy rushing for a meager 55 yards on 18 carries….DeSean Jackson catching three passes for 21 yards….and worst of all, Philadelphia putting just three points on the board against a below-average Dallas defense.

Now does this mean that Kelly’s offense is a complete failure? Certainly not because his team has put up 30 or more points in four out of seven games. However, it’s not quite the revolutionary scheme that will have half the league quick-snapping the ball every play next year.

While inventive and tough to prepare for, Kelly’s fast-paced offense isn’t nearly as dominating in the NFL. He doesn’t have a sizable talent advantage in the pros like he did at Oregon. And it’s much tougher to run the read option when 6’3″, 260-pound linebackers who boast a 4.6-forty are shadowing the quarterback. Plus the idea of running plays as fast as possible loses its effect when you’re going 3-and-out half the time like Philadelphia has been doing.

When the Eagles get Vick healthy again, Kelly’s offense will certainly look better. And with nine regular season games remaining, there are still some big offensive performances left in this team. But as for the preseason hype that the fast-paced offense would take the league by storm, well, it’s been nothing more than hype so far.

NFL Power Rankings for Week 7 (Oct. 15th, 2013)

justin-houston-chiefsAnother week of NFL action, another unbeaten falls. The New Orleans Saints saw their unblemished record take a hit when they fell to the New England Patriots by a score of 30-27. Now only the Broncos and Chiefs remain undefeated as we enter Week 7. Taking this into account, their November 17th showdown will be quite entertaining and offer plenty of regular and live wagering opportunities. Now let’s take a look at where all of the teams sit as we move closer to the midway point of the season.

1. Denver Broncos (6-0); beat Jacksonville 35-19, retains same ranking – The Broncos made sports betting history by being a four-touchdown favorite against Jacksonville. However, this gaudy line didn’t materialize as the Jags were actually able to move the ball against this mediocre Denver defense. However, we’ve yet to see a team that can stop the Broncos offense, even when they’re not playing perfect.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (6-0); beat Oakland 24-7, moves up 2 spots – Questions about Alex Smith’s arm strength aside, Kansas City has been as dominant a team as any. They’re beating opponents by an average of 14.5 points and might boast the league’s best defense.

3. New Orleans Saints (5-1); lost to New England 30-27, drops one spot – A 3-point loss on the road to the Patriots isn’t anything to be overly concerned about. This is still a great, well-rounded team that’s tabbed by many to make it to the NFC Championship.

4. Seattle Seahawks (5-1); beat Tennessee Titans, retains same ranking – With Percy Harvin’s return approaching, Seattle’s offense is definitely due for a boost. But they’ve still been doing well regardless, with Marshawn Lynch gaining 155 all-purpose yards and Russell Wilson adding 318 total yards last game.

5. New England Patriots (5-1); beat New Orleans 30-27, moves up one spot – For the stevan-ridley-patriotsfirst time since Shane Vereen got injured in Week 1, the Patriots showed a consistent ground game. Is Stevan Ridley finally back in Bill Belichik’s good graces?

6. San Francisco 49ers (4-2); beat Arizona 32-20, drops one spot – The 49ers grabbed a nice home win over an improving Cardinals team. With the focus shifting towards Frank Gore and the ground game, San Francisco looks like a different and better squad.

7. Green Bay Packers (3-2); beat Baltimore 19-17, moves up one spot – Green Bay got bad news about Randall Cobb since he’ll be out for several weeks. With their top receiver injured, expect Eddie Lacy to get a few more carries heading forward.

8. Chicago Bears (4-2); beat New York Giants 27-21, moves up one spot – This isn’t the Bears’ most impressive victory – especially when they got gashed by ancient running back Brandon Jacobs. But Jay Cutler and the offense continue to rack up points while the defense forces turnovers.

9. Indianapolis Colts (4-2); lost to San Diego 19-9, drops two spots – After an incredible stretch that saw the Colts win road games in both Seattle and San Francisco, they drop a tough road contest to the Chargers. Concerns about Trent Richardson are growing because his stats are subpar (191YDS, 3.1YPC in four games) since coming over from the Browns.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2); beat Buffalo 27-24, retains same ranking – Despite playing against a practice squad quarterback in Thaddeus Lewis, Cincinnati let Buffalo back in this game. Still, they escape with a win and remain on top of the AFC North.

11. Detroit Lions (4-2); beat Cleveland 31-17, retains same ranking – An ill-advised Brandon Weeden flip pass sealed the victory for Detroit. Matthew Stafford threw three second-half touchdowns to spark a turnaround.

12. Dallas Cowboys (3-3); beat Washington 31-16, moves up two spots – Dallas moves back into the upper echelon after making it look easy against their division foe. It wasn’t an entirely good day, though, since both DeMarcus Ware and DeMarco Murry were lost in this game. Both are expected to miss multiple weeks for the Cowboys.

13. Miami Dolphins (3-2); bye week, drops one spot – Miami will look to stop a two-lamar-miller-dolphinsgame skid as they host Buffalo. The Dolphins have to make more of a commitment to Lamar Miller and the running game to remain a multi-dimensional offense.

14. Baltimore Ravens (3-3); lost to Green Bay 19-17, drops two spots – Baltimore staged a nice late-game rally, but couldn’t do enough to pull ahead. The running attack is in disarray, with Ray Rice averaging less than 3 yards per carry.

15. San Diego Chargers (3-3); beat Indianapolis 19-9, moves up five spots – Credit the Chargers defense with slowing down Andrew Luck (202YDS, 0TD). Philip Rivers also did a good job of managing the game and leading the Chargers on some time-consuming scoring drives.

16. Arizona Cardinals (3-3); lost to San Francisco, moves up one spot – At this point of the rankings, it’s all about who lost to better teams. Arizona hung tough with the Niners for three quarters, but ran out of gas as they were outscored 10-0 in the fourth quarter.

17. Tennessee Titans (3-3); lost to Seattle 20-13, moves up one spot – The Titans have proven to be a very competitive team, even without Jake Locker. Despite the loss, they’re only one game behind Indianapolis in the AFC South.

18. Cleveland Browns (3-3); lost to Detroit 31-17, drops two spots – Browns fans have to be disappointed after their team was outscored 24-0 in the second half. Brandon Weeden played fairly well (292YDS, 2TD, 2INT) – save for throwing one of the worst interceptions ever. Somebody needs to tell him that shovel passes aren’t meant to be thrown over to the sideline.

19. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3); beat Tampa Bay 31-20, moves up three spots – Welcome back to relevancy Philadelphia! The Eagles kept pace with Dallas in the NFC East with a road victory against winless Tampa. Nick Foles might lock down the starting role for good if he keeps playing like this (296YDS, 3TD).

20. Houston Texans (2-4); lost to St. Louis 38-13, drops five spots – Fans have been calling for Matt Schaub to be benched, and now they get their wish after his right ankle injury. But it only gets uglier from here with T.J. Yates now starting under center.

21. New York Jets (3-3); lost to Pittsburgh 19-6, drops two spots – This was supposed to be an easy victory for the surprising Jets. However, rookie QB Geno Smith (201YDS, 2INT)  looked lost against a Pittsburgh defense that’s been in shambles all season.

22. Carolina Panthers (2-3); beat Minnesota 35-10, moves up three spots – Carolina cam-newtonis a tough team to figure out. Two weeks ago, they score just 6 points against Arizona; last game, they put up 35 on the Vikings and stifle them. Of course, it seems that Cam Newton’s swingy play decides the fate of the Panthers.

23. Atlanta Falcons (1-4); bye week, drops three spots – The Falcons were already struggling in the win-loss category. Then they found out that Julio Jones is done for the season and Roddy White might be out for 1-2 games. Harry Douglas is now their go-to receiver.

24. St. Louis Rams (3-3); beat Houston 38-13, moves up four spots – After suffering through a miserable three-game losing streak, the Rams are back to .500 with wins over Jacksonville and Houston. Nobody’s expecting St. Louis to make the playoffs in a division with Seattle and San Francisco, but they’re at least showing some heart.

25. Washington Redskins (1-4); lost to Dallas 31-16, drops two spots – The good news is that Washington didn’t get torched by Tony Romo, as many people expected. The bad news is that they got beat in just about every facet of the game.

26. Oakland Raiders (2-4); lost to Kansas City 24-7, retains same ranking – A very rough game for Terrelle Pryor, but they won’t all be as tough as playing in Arrowhead. Denarius Moore really seems to be developing as a nice target for Pryor.

27. Minnesota Vikings (1-4); lost to Carolina 35-10, drops three spots – This was a tough game to play for Minnesota following the death of Adrian Peterson’s son. When Josh Freeman learns the Vikings playbook, this team might bounce back with some victories.

28. Buffalo Bills (2-4); lost to Cincinnati Bengals 27-24, drops one spot – Thaddeus Lewis is a definite upgrade over undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel. If Lewis can continue playing like he did on the road against Cincinnati, he’ll produce some wins against weaker opponents.

29. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4); beat New York Jets 19-6, retains same ranking – Holding Geno Smith and the Jets to 6 points won’t bring back Steel Curtain comparisons. But this is still a nice performance by Pittsburgh’s defense.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5); lost to Philadelphia 31-20, retains same ranking – Ownership spent too much money in the offseason for a winless start. It’s looking less and less like Greg Schiano will make it through the season.

31. New York Giants (0-6); lost to Chicago 27-21, retains same ranking – With David Wilson knocked out of the game with an injury, Brandon Jacobs rumbled for 106 yards and two touchdowns. It’s too bad that Eli Manning threw another three interceptions.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6); lost to Denver 34-20, retains same ranking – The way they stayed with Denver through three quarters, this team could actually win a game with Chad Henne at QB.

New York Jets QB Disaster: Sanchez injured, Smith has 3 INT’s

mark-sanchezGoing into the 2013-14 NFL season, nobody expected the New York Jets to have a dominate passing game. The incumbent starter, Mark Sanchez, has failed to make this HIS team, thanks to mediocre numbers over a four-year career. The other candidate, Geno Smith, is a rookie who’s raw and doesn’t seem quite ready to start an entire NFL season.

And if anybody had forgotten about how dismal the Jets’ quarterback situation was, they were issued a full reminder in the New York Giants game last night. Smith didn’t look like he was ready to start for an Arena League team as he tossed three interceptions, and stepped on the back of the end zone for a safety.

Later in the evening, Rex Ryan decided to insert Mark Sanchez in during the fourth quarter. Letting him play in meaningless garbage time was a baffling decision, especially since Sanchez still had an opportunity to win the starting quarterback battle. Plus he had backup lineman blocking for him who were just trying to land a roster spot.

geno-smith-jetsRyan’s poor decision was thrust onto center stage when Giants backup defensive tackle Marvin Austin nailed Sanchez’s right shoulder and sent him out of the game. There’s no word on the severity of the injury because the fifth-year veteran just had X-rays, and he’ll undergo magnetic resonate imaging today.

Following Saturday night’s debacle, Ryan seemed extremely annoyed at all of the questions sent his way regarding the QB situation. “We will make the announcement of the starting quarterback when we think it’s the appropriate time,” he said. “Not when you, not when this person, or this person, or this person (thinks it’s time). I can say anything I want – beauty of this country.”

The Jets headman received further questioning regarding his decision to play Sanchez in the fourth quarter. “That was my decision – that was coach’s decision all the way,” he said. “If it wasn’t important, then I wouldn’t have put him in there. I would have not put Mark in there if it wasn’t important. Well, after the injury you always have reservations. I understand being second-guessed and stuff when an injury happens – certainly I understand that – but that’s football.”

If Sanchez’s shoulder injury turns out to be anything really serious, fans will be questioning Ryan every step of the way. This is even truer if Smith opens the season as the starter and fails to produce solid results.

When New York picked Smith with the 39th overall selection in the draft, they were selecting a guy whom they thought could quickly overtake Sanchez and become a franchise player. It’s still quite early to tell if the Jets’ hopes will come to fruition. After all, there’s another preseason game left to play, and based on Sanchez’s injury, Smith could get a second start to prove his worth.

His first preseason start didn’t exactly yield desirable results since he completed 16-of-30 passes for 199 yards, one TD, three INT”s, a safety, and just a 45.7 passer rating. Hopefully Smith can come out next week and provide some assurance that he’s ready to start in the NFL if he gets the nod over Sanchez.

2014 NFL Futures and Chad Johnson blazing on a Treadmill

peyton-manningWe’ve still got a couple of months until the 2013-14 NFL Season kicks off. However, that hasn’t stopped GTBets.eu from releasing lines on NFL futures and prop bets.

Among the most intriguing bets are odds on which team will win the 2014 Super Bowl. All 32 teams have been given odds on winning next year’s Super Bowl, and there’s quite a wide range from top to bottom. You can see this by looking at the best 5 and worst 5 clubs in terms of odds below. Also, be sure to read about free agent wide receiver Chad Johnson’s insane treadmill run.

Top 5 Teams (2014 Super Bowl Champion Odds)
1. Denver Broncos – 9-to-2
2. San Francisco 49ers – 13-to-2
3. New England Patriots – 15-to-2
4. Seattle Seahawks – 8-to-1
5. Houston Texans – 10-to-1

Bottom 5 Teams
T1. Arizona Cardinals – 150-to-1
T1. Jacksonville Jaguars – 150-to-1
3. Oakland Raiders – 125-to-1
T4. Buffalo Bills – 100-to-1
T4. Cleveland Browns – 100-to-1
T4. Tennessee Titans – 100-to-1

Interestingly enough, the defending champion Baltimore Ravens don’t rank in the top five among teams with the best odds to win the title. But their 25-to-1 odds of winning the 2014 Super Bowl do rank within the top half at least.

colin-kaepernickAnother noteworthy point is how the Denver Broncos are currently being given the top chance to win next year by GTBets. Of course this makes sense because they had the NFL’s best regular season record at 13-3. But they lost a narrow double-overtime game (38-35) to the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional round of the playoffs. Ending the year in such a disappointing fashion will no doubt have the Broncos fired up for the upcoming season.

Aside from the 2014 Super Bowl futures, GTBets has a number of other interesting options. People can bet on the over/under wins for each team, who’ll win the AFC Championship, who’ll take the NFC Championship, and which teams will win each division.

If you’re excited about the NFL and can’t wait until the preseason to start betting, make sure to check out the futures and prop wagers at GTBets.eu.

Chad Johnson runs Blazing 24 MPH on Treadmill

chad-johnson-dolphinsChad Johnson hasn’t played in the NFL since 2011, when he managed a disappointing 15 catches for 276 yards and one TD. Plus he recently spent 30 days in jail for head-butting his ex-wife, reality TV star Evelyn Lozada. That said, you might think he’s ready to quit this football thing and start exploring other possibilities.

However, retirement is the furthest thing from Johnson’s mind since he’s been working hard in hopes of making an NFL roster. And he showed this hard work off by running at a pace of 24 MPH on a treadmill. Have a look at the video:

Johnson is a little ways off the world record of 27.49 MPH, which was set by Usain Bolt when he broke the 100 meters record with a time of 9.58 seconds. Plus, as you can see from the video, he only ran at 24 MPH for a few seconds.

But in his defense, the treadmill was at a 2.5% elevation, and this is after all, a treadmill. Not too many people are willing to risk running their fastest on a rubberized belt going at a dangerously high speed.

Crazy treadmill stunts aside, Johnson will be hoping to land on an NFL team again this season. He got cut by the Miami Dolphins in the 2012 preseason following his arrest for the aforementioned head-butting incident. This was televised on HBO’s Hard Knocks, and you can see the footage below:

NFL eyes Professional Rugby League

Barkley EmerickRugby isn’t exactly the most popular sport in the United States. However, it figures to get a huge boost in the US thanks to what is America’s most popular sport in football.

The NFL has partnered with the Premier Rugby League in an effort to start a pro rugby league in the US. The collaboration is already paying off because an exhibition game will take place between the London Irish and “US Barbarians” (international stars) at Gillette Stadium in August. This is no small deal either since the game will be televised on the NFL Network in front of millions of viewers.

Obviously it’ll take more than a single televised game to pique serious interest from American fans. After all, rugby is predominantly a European sport which has very few fans in the United States. However, rugby is gaining more attention on an international level and will be included in the 2016 Rio Olympics. That said, it could eventually reach the status of a smaller “major” American sports league like the NHL or MLS.

nfl-rugby-1So what benefit does the NFL gain from introducing rugby to a US audience? According to Forbes, the advantage essentially lies in controlling the sport’s introduction and growth from the very beginning. Forbes wrote the following:

By being a key investor in the the sport from its onset, the NFL assures itself the opportunity to manage the growth of rugby within the states and more specifically can insure that such growth does not come at a cost to the leagues own market share. Furthermore, an established professional rugby league offers the NFL an opportunity to extend its brand into a sport with numerous commonalities  and that offers a number of synergies to the league’s already existing operational infrastructure and media assets.

Another point worth mentioning here is that a rugby league wouldn’t be in direct competition with the NFL. Chris Lencheski, who’s ran several marketing campaigns for US rugby recently, discussed this by saying, “With NFL stadiums sitting largely empty during the spring and summer months, there is a tremendous opportunity to use a new national rugby league to fill unused seats and create fresh live content for the leagues network during the off-season.”

maurice-clarett-buckeyesWhat’s ironic about this whole story is that NFL cast-off Maurice Clarett could provide a boost to US rugby – provided he stays out of trouble. The former Denver Broncos third-round pick has been training at Tiger Rugby Academy in hopes of making the US Olympic team.

Despite being out of football for a few years, Clarett definitely impressed Tiger Rugby coach Paul Holmes. “He’s ridiculous. That’s all I can say,” Holmes said. “His footwork is phenomenal. He’s nowhere near conditioned for rugby, but that will come….the stuff he’s doing in the gym right now, he’s just ridiculous.”

With a professional rugby league now coming to the US, it looks as if Clarett will have another opportunity beyond the Olympics. And the 29-year-old would most likely be the league’s biggest name if he could make a roster. Taking this into account, you can be sure that some intrigued football fans would tune in just to see Clarett take the field.

Tim Tebow hated by Belichick, Rest of NFL

tim-tebowIn theory, Tim Tebow embodies what the stereotypical pro athlete/role model is supposed to be: hard-working, selfless, team-oriented and a proven winner. Nevertheless, this rare combination has earned Tebow nothing but disrespect and contempt from the majority of the NFL.

Terrell Suggs called him “terrible.” Kordell Stewart said Tebow playing QB is a “slap in the face” to other great quarterbacks. Most recently, Bill Belicheck said he “hates” Tebow as a player. Even his own teammates turned on him as anonymous Jets players completely ripped number 15.

tim-tebow-1The borderline hatred that this collection of high-profile NFL names have spewed generally reflects what the entire league thinks of Tebow. Players, coaches and the media despise the constant attention he receives and feel as if his mere presence on an NFL roster cheapens the profession. Furthermore, they can’t stand the media circus that accompanies Tebow wherever he goes.

So is all of the hate and disrespect warranted? The truth is that Tebow has never really done anything wrong from a moral standpoint. But his peers have tired of the clean-shaven, straight-laced, Captain America persona he emits. Furthermore, they can’t stand his cult-like following or how he practically rubs religion in the world’s face. But above all, it’s Tebow’s awkward, unconventional style and awful throwing mechanics that has the talking heads bashing his every move.

tim-tebow-2In the eyes of media members and coaches, there’s nothing more wrong than Tim Tebow throwing a football. His accuracy is bad, the delivery is off, and he can’t find anybody downfield. But through it all, Tebow has found success…when he’s actually seen the field.

After the Denver Broncos defied logic by taking Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the devout Christian responded by throwing for 654 yards, 5 TD’s, 3 INT’s, and rushing for 227 yards and another 6 TD’s in three starts.

The following season was even better as he took over a 1-4 team and led them to the playoffs. During this dream run, Tebow passed for 1,729 yards, 12 TD’s, 6 INT’s, and ran for 660 yards and 6 TD’s. Perhaps more important than all of this is that he actually led Denver to a playoff victory – something which even Peyton Manning didn’t do.

tim-tebow-3The only time that Tebow didn’t manufacture wins was in New York, where he warmed the bench for Mark Sanchez. For all of the hype surrounding Tebow entering 2012, he produced a measly 75 passing yards, 102 rushing yards and zero touchdowns.

Many fans called for Tebow to see the field after Sanchez struggled mightily in a season that saw him produce 13 TD’s, 18 INT’s, 14 fumbles and a 54.3% completion rate. But when it came time to replace the inconsistent Sanchez, it was seventh round draft pick Greg McElroy calling the signals – not Tebow.

After the failed experiment in New York, Tim Tebow is a free agent looking for his next home. However, the question is, who will give him another shot?

Much of the league seems to be anti-Tebow, so his available choices are quite limited. With Belichick not a fan of his play, perhaps the San Francisco 49ers or Jacksonville Jaguars could be potential stops for Tebow. The Niners are a good option because they already have an unquestioned starter in Colin Kaepernick – unlike the Jets with Sanchez – and Tebow wouldn’t come in with any expectations.

In Jacksonville, Tebow could even see significant playing time because the Jags have no clear starting QB. Plus this is right in his backyard, near where he starred with the Florida Gators.

Whatever the case may be, it’ll be interesting to see what NFL team, if any, decides to take on the Tim Tebow experiment.