NFL’s Top 5 Safeties Entering the 2014 Season


NFL’s Top 5 Safeties Entering the 2014 Season
M.D. Wright
8.16.2014

The thing about creating lists is that they are 1) highly subjective and hence, 2) produce tons of debate, counter-arguments, conjecture about omissions, and scrutiny regarding ranking one player over another. To be sure, there is no way to cleanly separate opinions, tastes, inherent biases (opinions) apart from film, team schemes and individual ability (facts), but one thing is for certain: numbers don’t lie, particularly those that cannot be massaged to suit one’s argument over another.

And as such, here are the Top 5 Safeties Heading into the 2014 Season:

1. Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks.
Earl Thomas 1
What DOESN’T Thomas do? He covers sideline to sideline in pass defense, he stuffs the run. He covers slot receivers at times. He takes on tight ends. He hits guys who have 40-50 lbs on him as if they were small WRs. And he has great hands to pick off passes and return punts. All at a supremely high level. Earl Thomas is unquestionably the best safety in the NFL.

2. Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs.
Eric Berry 1
Eric Berry is not far behind Thomas. He does everything that Thomas does, and has just as much top end speed. There isn’t much separation between the two, although Thomas is a bit more versatile, overall.

3. Jairus Byrd, New Orleans Saints.
Jairus Byrd 1
When guys play in Buffalo for years, they tend to fly under the radar. The Bills have consistently churned out talented individual defensive players and now have a collection on defense that is pretty damn good — except Byrd is now a member of the New Orleans Saints. Along with Kenny Vaccaro, he is expected to form a very tough tandem of hard-hitting/ball-hawking safety play. He is routinely atop the NFL leaders in interceptions for very good reason.

4. Antrel Rolle, New York Football Giants.
Seattle Seahawks v New York Giants
Rolle was the best player for the Giants in 2013, and has brought a swaggering presence somewhat similar to that of Richard Sherman (although not always backing it up as Sherman does, but plays harder and smarter than anyone on the defensive side of the football for the past four seasons). He still flat out makes plays at every level: in the box, blitzing, down short in coverage and playing centerfield. The quintessential safety, even at the age of 32.

5. Kam Chancellor, Seattle Seahawks.

Kam Chancellor 1
Enough said.

Honorable Mention:
Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers.
Bernard Pollard, Tennessee Titans.
TJ Ward, Denver Broncos.
Aaron Williams, Buffalo Bills.
Devin McCourty, New England Patriots.

2014 Unofficial* NFL Standings Predictions


2014 Unofficial* NFL Standings Predictions
M.D. Wright
8.16.2014

  • Official standings predictions will be posted following final cuts on August 31, and prior to Week 1 of the regular season, on September 5.

Obviously, these will probably change come final cuts, and half of them will likely be wrong even at season’s end.

American Football Conference
AFC East
New England           13-3
NY Jets                      9-7
Miami                         8-8
Buffalo                       7-9

AFC North
Cincinnati                  11-5
Pittsburgh                    9-7
Baltimore                     8-8
Cleveland                    7-9

AFC South
Indianapolis                11-5
Jacksonville                  9-7
Houston                        8-8
Tennessee                   7-9

AFC West
Denver                         14-2
San Diego                    11-5
Kansas City                    9-7
Oakland                        6-10

National Football Conference
NFC East
NY Giants                         9-7
Philadelphia                      8-8
Washington                      7-9
Dallas                              5-11

NFC North
Green Bay                        12-4
Minnesota                         10-6
Detroit                                 9-7
Chicago                              7-9

NFC South
New Orleans                      11-5
Tampa Bay                          9-7
Carolina                               8-8
Atlanta                                 7-9

NFC West
Seattle                                14-2
Arizona                                11-5
San Francisco                       9-7
St. Louis                                8-8

 

NFL’s Top 5 Wide Receivers Entering the 2014 Season


NFL’s Top 5 Wide Receivers Entering the 2014 Season
M.D. Wright
8.16.2014

The thing about creating lists is that they are 1) highly subjective and hence, 2) produce tons of debate, counter-arguments, conjecture about omissions, and scrutiny regarding ranking one player over another. To be sure, there is no way to cleanly separate opinions, tastes, inherent biases (opinions) apart from film, team schemes and individual ability (facts), but one thing is for certain: numbers don’t lie, particularly those that cannot be massaged to suit one’s argument over another.

And as such, here are the Top 5 Wide Receivers Heading into the 2014 Season:

1. Calvin Johnson.

Calvin Johnson 3
Despite a myriad of minor, nagging injuries in the past three seasons, Johnson continues to be a match-up nightmare for every single team in the NFL. When no team — not even the Seattle Seahawks — can cover you without at least two defenders, and it is a sentiment that cannot be held for any other WR in the NFL, you are the unequivocal best. Johnson hasn’t lost much in the way of speed, and he is still 6’5″ 240 lbs. He almost always beats press coverage with ease, and winning jump balls from the side-winding Matthew Stafford (whose throws often sail as a result of this throwing motion) have become yawnworthy for Calvin Johnson. The only downside for him other than the aforementioned nagging injuries is his propensity to sometimes drop the easiest of passes at times.

2. Larry Fitzgerald.
Larry Fitzgerald 11
Much like Johnson, Fitzgerald has been plagued by minor, nagging injuries in recent seasons. However, his productivity has waned more or less due to the lack of talent surrounding him since Kurt Warner’s retirement (although Carson Palmer was certainly serviceable enough in 2013). As Larry is into his 30’s, the expectation is for him to lose a step or so — he was never a burner to begin with — but he still has arguably the best set of hands of all WRs, and runs the crispest routes; which will enable him to play into his late 30s if he so desires.

3. A.J. Green.

A.J. Green “got next.” As Johnson and Fitzgerald are pushing 30/in his 30’s, respectively, A.J. Green certainly does it all: short, intermediate, and excels probably beyond all receivers on every type of deep ball. Considering the grossly overrated (and now, overpaid) QB that he has throwing to him, this is even more impressive. Imagine if he played with Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady?

4. Andre Johnson.
Andre Johnson 80
Some may suggest that Andre Johnson is on the decline, as he is indeed 33 years of age and entering his 12th NFL season. There have been few WRs in the history of the NFL who have been as consistently great as Andre in the same timeframe; especially considering that his team has either been a perennial loser or choker the entire time he has been in the league, with below average to moderately above average (at his best, Matt Schaub) QBs, often without a complimentary WR to distract coverages. When you think of all of this collectively, it is hard to put anyone other than the three dynamic WRs ahead of him on this list.

5. Victor Cruz.
Victor Cruz 80
Cruz, entering his 5th NFL season, burst onto the map in a preseason game in 2010 and has not looked back. He routinely exploded past nearly every team’s defense in 2011 — including famously the Jets’ defense pictured above on a Christmas Eve game in 2011 for a 99-yard touchdown; beating all-world CBs Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie (who still runs a 4.3) in the process. Even with the ups and downs of Hakeem Nicks in 2012 and 2013, and the too-gradual progression of Rueben Randle, Cruz has become the favorite target of QB Eli Manning, and only stepped his game up even further after receiving his first major contract before the 2013 season. The difference between Cruz and the other WRs on this list is that he is not 6’3″-6’5″ and 220+ lbs. At 5’11” 205 lbs, he does everything those guys do (and not just short and intermediate routes like some of the other slot WRs specialize in only) as well as makes the big-time deep play when the Giants need it.

Honorable Mention:
Brandon Marshall.
Dez Bryant.
Demaryius Thomas.
Josh Gordon.
Jordy Nelson.

Link

Passing Thoughts Regarding the Ass-Backwardsness of Most Black People Today


Passing Thoughts Regarding the Ass-Backwardsness of Most Black People Today
M.D. Wright
8.12.2014

I’ll always rock what Rugby I have left. I don’t care that the store has been closed for 18 months. Ralph saw the demographics who flooded those stores and shut it downnnnn-uhhh (Bill Walton Accent).

However, I will point out something. At least with the two main Rugby stores that I shopped at:

The one on University near NYU was mostly preppy kids up until about ’09 when VADO was on Boss of All Bosses with Cam’ron, always giving Ralph free drops (without a deal???) I had been shopping at Rugby since about ’05, ’06 and from ’09 until closed in February ’13, I never saw so many Black/Latino young cats in a high-priced clothing store in my life — other than Genesis on Lex, and you can’t get but so many cats in that small boutique as it is ha.

The one in Short Hills was only accessible by bus from Newark, Irvington and Union, so you didn’t see QUITE as many, but still a good number. Even saw VADO in the Short Hills store about 4 years ago.

What bugs me out is how cats won’t support Slowbucks, and talk trash about him, but will go out of their way to pay top dollar for Ralph Lauren, Gucci, D&G and Louis… and BRAG about paying top dollar for these things.

The only thing I brag about is never paying full price for anything in retail since I was 19 or 20 ha.

 

Link

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Drafted Roster

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2014 NFL Fantasy Football Drafted Roster
M.D. Wright
8.4.2014

My NFL.com 2014 Vets Fantasy Football Team is as Follows:

OFFENSE:
QB: Eli Manning.
RB: Chris Johnson.
RB: Reggie Bush.
WR: Michael Floyd.
WR: Keenan Allen.
TE: Jordan Reed.
W/R: Steven Jackson.
W/T: Antonio Gates.
Q/R/W/T: Reggie Wayne.
Q/R/W/T: Terrance Williams.
R/W/T: Rueben Randle.

WR: Robert Woods.

SPECIALS:
K: Steven Gostkowski.

DEFENSE:
DL: Jason Pierre-Paul.
DL: Cameron Jordan.
DL: Kyle Williams.
LB: D’Qwell Jackson.
LB: Alec Ogletree.
DB: Alterraun Verner.
DB: Stevie Brown.
DB: Antrel Rolle.
DP/DB: Eric Reid.
DL: Michael Bennett.
DB: Kenny Vaccaro.
DB: Aaron Williams.

 

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