Barkley captures Pepsi Rookie of the Year

New York Giants running back SAQUON BARKLEY has been named the 2018 PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR, Pepsi and the NFL announced today. Barkley was recognized online at nfl.com/rookies and this morning during Pepsi’s Rookie Brunch Party in Atlanta, which featured a trophy presentation by ESPN’s Sam Ponder, a DJ set by Grammy-winner Lil Jon (who is also featured in Pepsi’s Super Bowl LIII commercial), and a performance by Pepsi’s Sound Drop artist Bryce Vine.

The No. 2 selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, Barkley led the NFL with 2,028 scrimmage yards and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and Edgerrin James (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history. A 2019 Pro Bowl selection, he recorded 91 receptions in 2018, including a single-game franchise-record 14 catches in Week 2, tied for the most by a rookie running back in league annals. Barkley became the first Giants rookie to rush for at least 1,000 yards (1,307) and his 15 scrimmage touchdowns were the most by a rookie in team history.

Barkley was one of five finalists nominated for this honor. The other finalists were Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay and Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

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Willie Roaf: Chiefs can build a dynasty with Mahomes

For the Kansas City Chiefs, the 2018 season did not end the way they expected. They had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, they had the highest scoring offense in football, and they had the best player in 2018 in QB Patrick Mahomes, but their defense could not hold up, and Tom Brady and the Patriots would defeat the Chiefs 37-31 in OT in the AFC title game.

While losing this game hurts for Kansas City, the Chiefs can be excited about the future. Mahomes has proven that he has the goods, WR Tyreek Hill is explosive, and Travis Kelce is an elite tight end. All this talent has Hall of Famer Willie Roaf, who played for the Chiefs from 2002-05, very excited about the future.

“They got Mahomes, who is a different quarterback than anybody,” Roaf recently said on the Go4it podcast. “The offense has a bunch of guys and the best tight end in the league…

“I will tell you this; the Chiefs will be back, a lot coming up in the future. If they add pieces to their defense and get more running backs… Mostly draft defense. The Chiefs will be knocking on the door, and with that young quarterback, Mahomes, they will be building some type of dynasty. So, this is this kid’s first year starting, and he is just now figuring things out, so when you put more weapons around him, and Sammy Watkins was out most of the year. And then, they lost (Kareem)Hunt going into the playoffs, and he(Mahomes) was still able to go up and down the field.

“So, you give me some more weapons, and you keep that young group intact… They got a chance to win a couple of rings with that young boy in Kansas City.”

Last week, the Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton and hired former Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo to lead their defense. Spagnuolo was in charge of the Giants’ defense that beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

Chiefs fans should be excited about the future, but in the NFL, they’re no guarantees, so we’ll see if the Chiefs can improve their defense, and continue to build a great offense in 2019.

Listen below as Roaf talks the future of the Chiefs at the 07:10 mark:

 

Bills’ Alexander explains why Nathan Peterman struggled in Buffalo(AUDIO)

Nathan Peterman had a very forgettable time with the Buffalo Bills. In two years and eight games with the Bills, including four starts where he was 1-3, Peterman threw three touchdowns and 12 interceptions. To say Peterman was terrible, is an understatement. Ultimately, the Bills saw enough and released Peterman back in November.

Fortunately, for the 24-year-old Peterman, he was able to get another chance. Jon Gruden and the Raiders signed Peterman in December. Now, Peterman, who was picked in the fifth-round by Buffalo in the 2017 NFL draft, will get another opportunity to showcase his skills.

Recently, Bills LB Lorenzo Alexander, who was a guest on the Go4it podcast with Paul Gant, explained why the second-year QB struggled in Buffalo.

“I see a guy that is a professional. He works hard,” Alexander told Paul Gant.  “Obviously, he probably doesn’t have the physical tools, on paper, as some of these other guys, but he is a guy that is going to continue to work. You don’t necessarily have to have those physical tools to be successful in this league.

“Obviously, he got a chance in Oakland. Obviously, (Jon)Gruden saw something in him as well that maybe he can help groom and work with, and be a viable backup when Derek Carr is not available. If not, maybe eventually become a starter somewhere down the line, but yeah, he didn’t perform well. Some of that is on Nate as he will acknowledge, and accept, and be accountable for, and some of it was his teammates.

“Obviously, quarterbacks, they get all the love, but I think sometimes when they are not doing as well, we continue to point the finger at them. When they’re probably the most dependent position on the field, and that’s for the great ones and the ones that struggle. You gotta have o-linemen blocking for you, you have to have running backs picking up blitzes; you have to have receivers getting open, and obviously, it’s their job to get the ball out on time and do it, but if you don’t have all of that going right, especially for a young guy, who may not be quite ready to play at this level. He is going to struggle, and that’s part of it, but if you have great pieces around him, I think it’s a little bit more easier for those guys to transition and grow. And we just did not have that; we weren’t ready to do that in Buffalo for Nate Peterman, especially being such a young football team this year.”

Buffalo did have some struggles in 2018, but they were a playoff team in 2017, and when Peterman got his opportunity against the Chargers that season, he threw five picks in the first half. It’s incredible that Peterman will get another chance in the NFL, especially when you consider that Colin Kaepernick has not played an NFL game in two years.

Hopefully, Peterman can take advantage of this opportunity in Oakland, and turn his career around.

Listen as Alexander talks Peterman at 09:34 mark of the interview, and make sure to check out the Go4it podcast on Iheart.com:

 

Anthony Barr: ‘I love Minnesota, but I’m willing to play anywhere’

The Minnesota Vikings will have a decision to make in this offseason on Pro Bowl LB Anthony Barr. The 26-year-old Barr will be a free agent in the next few weeks, and there will be a market for the four-time Pro Bowler.

‘I love Minnesota, but I’m willing to play anywhere that I find fits, that fits comfortable, that I would have a role on a team with, and help win, so my possibilities are open,” Barr told TMZ Sports.

Based on his comments, Barr seems open to anything, including leaving Minnesota. Last offseason, the Vikings gave extensions to LB Eric Kendricks, WR Stefon Diggs, and DE Danielle Hunter, but not Barr.

In 2018, Barr had 55 tackles and three sacks in 13 games with Minnesota.

Recently, NFL.COM said the following about Barr: “It’s a bit of a concern that a great defensive coach like Mike Zimmer didn’t consistently get more out of him.”

Does Minnesota try to re-sign Barr? Do they franchise him? Do they let him walk? Should be interesting to see how they handle Barr in the offseason.

 

How Dee Ford reacted to going offsides against Patriots(VIDEO)

In the NFL, one play does not lose a game, but for Chiefs LB Dee Ford, there is one play he would love to have back. With the Chiefs leading New England 28-24 late in the fourth quarter, Kansas City’s Charvarius Ward picked off an errant Tom Brady pass that would have sent the Chiefs to Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta. Unfortunately, LB Dee Ford was offsides.

The Patriots would eventually score on that drive and would eventually win in OT 37-31 to advance to Super Bowl 53.

Here is how Ford reacted after the play:

 

 

Jaguars’ Calais Campbell named to Pro Bowl

Jacksonville Jaguars 11th-year DL Calais Campbell has been named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster, the NFL announced today. Campbell is replacing Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt, who is unable to participate due to injury.

This marks Campbell’s fourth career Pro Bowl selection (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018). He’ll join CB Jalen Ramsey as the two Jaguars players selected to this year’s Pro Bowl, both of whom are making their second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance. Campbell finished the 2018 season with 72 tackles (53 solo), including 20 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. He also added 22 QB hits, two passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Campbell’s 20 tackles for loss were tied for the third-most in the NFL, and according to Pro Football Focus, his 43 run stops were the most ever by an edge defender in a single season. For his career, he has totaled 631 tackles (474 solo), 141 tackles for loss, 81.5 sacks, 47 passes defensed, 12 forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to represent my family, the Jaguars organization, my teammates, my coaches and all of our incredible fans at this year’s Pro Bowl,” said Campbell. “Although this season didn’t go as any of us had planned, the Pro Bowl provides one final opportunity to throw on the pads and lace up the cleats before turning the page to a new chapter. I’m grateful to be returning to Jacksonville for the 2019 season and I know that we have the people and the mentality to get this turned around and bring playoff football back to Duval County.”

This season, Campbell was also recognized by his peers around the league as the Bart Starr Award winner for his outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. Campbell is the first player in Jaguars history to win the Bart Starr Award. In addition to his stellar play on the field, Campbell is very active in the community, running the CRC Foundation named after his late father, Charles Richard Campbell. The foundation strives to educate youth on critical life skills through sports, vocational platforms, financial training and health and nutritional awareness, among other programs. The award was first presented in 1989 and the list of recent award winners includes Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Thomas Davis and Jason Witten. He will receive the award on Feb. 2 in Atlanta at the 32nd annual Super Bowl Breakfast.

In his first season with the club in 2017, Campbell broke the team’s single-season franchise record with a career-high and AFC-leading 14.5 sacks, en route to first-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press. After posting 10.5 sacks during the 2018 campaign, he became the first player in franchise history to post double-digit sacks in consecutive seasons. Campbell is one of eight players to post at least 10.0 sacks in each of the last two seasons.

Campbell, 6-8, 300, originally joined the Jaguars after he was signed as an unrestricted free agent on March 10, 2017, following a nine-year career with the Arizona Cardinals. Campbell joins Tony Brackens (1999) and Yannick Ngakoue (2017) as the only defensive ends to be named to the Pro Bowl in franchise history.

Vermeil on Andy Reid: ‘If he sticks with it long enough, he’s gonna win it(Super Bowl)’

Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs had another disappointing playoff loss on Sunday when they lost to the Patriots 37-31 in overtime at Arrowhead. With the loss, Reid falls to 1-5 in conference championship games.

It was a tough loss for the Chiefs as they had a game-clinching interception wiped away in regulation when LB Dee Ford was called for offsides.

For Former Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil, this loss really stings.

“Kansas City, I’m just sick. I woke up three times during the night thinking about that ballgame,” Vermeil told TMZ Sports.  “I was so disappointed because I’m so respectful and admire Andy Reid for the job he’s done; how consistently he’s coached great football teams and produced great assistant coaches that became good head coaches. And to lose that one at home like that, it’s just sick. Now, he has to wait a whole year to get back and try again.”

Naturally, after this loss, people are going to talk about whether Reid is the right guy to bring a championship to Kansas City, but according to Vermeil, Reid is one of the better coaches in the league.

“He’s better than ninety-nine percent of them. (coaches in the NFL) Believe me,” Vermeil said. “He’s as fine of a coach that has ever coached a game.”

Ultimately, Vermeil believes Reid and the Chiefs will eventually win a Super Bowl.

“There’s no question in mind they will get there, and there’s no question in mind. if he(Reid) sticks with it long enough, he’s gonna win it,” Vermeil said.

The Chiefs have their quarterback for many years to come in Patrick Mahomes. Obviously, they have to fix their defense. It let them down on Sunday and has let them down this whole season. That could mean they go in a different direction with defensive coordinator Bob Sutton(Fired on Tuesday). It’s tough to get this far and lose, but the future is still very bright in Kansas City.

 

NFL announces matchups for the five international regular-season games in 2019

The National Football League today announced the matchups for its five 2019 international regular-season games – four in the UK and one in Mexico.

The quality of the 2019 international offering is apparent in three division games and five playoff participants, including the NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams.  Two of the four London Games will feature teams playing in the UK for the first time, while Mexico City will host a meeting of long-time AFC West division rivals.

​​The 2019 international games:

​Country Visiting Team Home Team
Mexico Kansas City Chiefs Los Angeles Chargers
UK Carolina Panthers Tampa Bay Buccaneers
UK Chicago Bears Oakland Raiders
UK Cincinnati Bengals Los Angeles Rams
UK Houston Texans Jacksonville Jaguars​​

Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium will host a matchup between the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams, who finished the 2018 regular season with identical 12-4 records, will be playing in Mexico City for the first time.

The AFC South champion Houston Texans – who face the division-rival Jacksonville Jaguars – and the Carolina Panthers – who face their NFC South foes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – will both make their London debuts. It will bring the total number of NFL teams to have played in the UK to 31 in 28 regular-season games by the end of the 2019 season. The Jaguars will be playing a home game in London for the seventh consecutive season.

The Rams, who will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, will host a London game for the fourth time when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals, while the Oakland Raiders will return to London for the second straight year, facing the NFC North division champion Chicago Bears.

The NFL will play two games at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, with two at Wembley Stadium.

Dates, kickoff times and venues for all international games will be announced in conjunction with the release of the full NFL schedule this spring.