NFL

Bortles vs Tampa Bay Evaluation.

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(Photo by the Associate Press)

By: James Johnson

As we all know, August 3  was the official kickoff to the NFL preseason starting off with the Hall of Fame game. The Jacksonville Jaguars however, took the field this past Friday night at Everbank Field against one of their in-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With anticipation high, the Jags answered the call taking the victory over the Bucs with a score of 10-16 as their defense showed great improvement from where they were a year ago…But make no mistake about it, the fans number one priority was to see the man that Dave Caldwell pulled the trigger on in the first round of this years draft to be the teams future franchise QB…. And that mans name is Blake Bortles, who had a rather impressive night in his first NFL game. Below we’ll take a look at his highlights of the night and break down the things he did well and the things he’ll need to improve on in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

Ranking the NFL’s WR Cores.

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(Image by USATSI)

By: Zack Hochrien

It’s been a while as we all have been on a bit of a hiatus from IES due to our busy schedules and working on a new site. But as promised we do plan to occasionally post on here from time to time and that’s exactly what I’m here to do today. Here is our latest post by Zack as he takes a look at each of the WR units in the NFL and ranks them. Hope you all enjoy it. 

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Early Jags 53 Man Roster Predictions By Zack.

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(Image by Jacksonville.com )

By: Zack Hochrien 

As of recently, a hot topic in the Jaguars hashtag of Twitter has been early roster predictions, and though I have yet to check out any of the links on Twitter with these projections, our own Zach Hochrein sent me his early roster projections and I must say…it’s a rather interesting write up. And yes, we’re are well aware we are months away from final cuts, but here at IES we like to keep things interesting. That said, enjoy. 

2014 Post Draft Depth Chart Predictions – Jacksonville Jaguars

Total number of active players: 53 with 1 projected to the PUP list.

QB
1. Chad Henne
2. Blake Bortles
3. Stephen Morris
RB
1. Toby Gerhart
2. Storm Johnson
3. Terrence Cobb

4. Denard Robinson
WR

1. Allen Robinson
2. Marqise Lee
3. Ace Sanders
4. Cecil Short III
5. Allen Hurns
6. Damian Copeland
7. Tandon Doss (Special Teams Ace)

TE
1. Marcedes Lewis
2. Clay Harbor
3. Marcel Jensen

OL
LT – Luke Joeckel
LG – Zane Beadles
C – Brandon Linder
RG – Tyler Shatley
RT – Austin Pasztor
OL Depth

Patrick Lewis, Jacques McClendon, Luke Bowanko and Cam Bradfield
LEO
1. Chris Clemons
2. Jason Babin
3. Andre Branch
4. Chris Smith
1T
1. DeAndre Coleman
2. Jordan Miller
3T
1. SenDerrick Marks
2. Ziggy Hood
5T
1. Red Bryant
2. Abry Jones
WILL (Weakside LB)

Dekoda Watson
MLB

Paul Posluszny
SAM (Strongide LB)

Geno Hayes
LB Depth

Telvin Smith, Spencer Shuey and Ryan Davis
CB 1

Alan Ball
CB 2

Dwayne Gratz
Nickel

Will Blackmon
FS

Winston Guy
SS

Jonathan Cyprien
DB Depth

Demetrius McCray, Craig Loston, Rashaad Reynolds, Jeremy Harris,
K

Josh Scobee
P

Bryan Anger

Notable PUP Players 

Aaron Colvin


 

I guess I’ll start with the QB’s as I believe both Henne and Bortles make the teams (shocker, right?). I highly doubt Morris does, though, being that teams don’t really keep 3 QB’s on their roster anymore . I think it’s more likely he’ll be on the practice squad when it’s all said and done.
I was also surprised to see that Zack had Shorts as the #4 WR on the roster. According to reports, the Jags have been interested in extending him and for what he’ll get paid, I can’t help but think he’ll be one of the top two wide-outs on the roster. Also, I don’t think Hurns and Copeland will both make the roster as one will likely go to the teams practice squad if the other makes it.
On the offensive line I was surprised to see Shatley starting at RG over Linder who was at center. I personally don’t think Linder has the strength to hold up against the nose tackles of the league and would prefer him at RG over C. As for Shatley, I do think he makes the roster as Zack does (possibly as a starter, but likely as a backup).

Now on the defensive end I noticed that Roy Miller wasn’t on the roster. To me he wasn’t exactly spectacular though he has battled through several injuries. It wouldn’t surprise me if he is cut during the teams final cuts before week 1 of the regular season, but due to the fact that the team would have to rely on an undrafted rookie in Deandre Coleman to man the middle the whole season, I think they will lean towards keeping Miller. It would likely take a very spectacular training camp for Coleman to win the starting NT job over Miller, though I do think he’ll make the roster as a backup. Unlike Zack, I also believe Tyson AluAlu will stick around. I feel as he’d compliment Red Bryant perfectly as the teams second five-technique as opposed to Abry Jones.

At the LEO position the depth chart is a little crowded to say the least. Chris Clemons was signed by the team, and they also brought back veteran pass-rusher Jason Babin. Below the both of them are Andre Branch, who most would say flashed a bit last season and a former undrafted DE in Ryan Davis. The team also recently added Arkansas DE Chris Smith through the 5th round of the draft this year, giving the position 5 players fighting for a spot. That said, I’d like to keep all 5 personally, but I think that maybe highly unlikely in the end. When it’s all said and done, I think the team may reluctantly pull the plug on Davis, who is the youngest and least experienced of the the veterans, to make a spot for Chris Smith. Zack, on the other hand believes Davis may be able to change positions to OLB, but I personally don’t know if that position fits his skill-set.

Aside from the positions above, I agree with Zack’s projections for the most part. In all likelihood, we could both be way off however as there is a lot of time for the roster to shape up. One thing that is for certain though, and that’s the fact that the Jags are going into this season’s training camp with a lot more experience and talent than last year, and that into consideration you can put some money on it that this will be the most interesting training camp we’ve seen in a while.

Feel free to give us your feedback and roster projections, and also stay tuned as we’ll have more of these projections to come in the next few months leading up into the season.

And as usual we appreciate the views. Feel free to follow Zach as he can be found on Twitter under the handle of @ZhochZeus.

Ravens Offseason Recap.

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By: Charles Booth

(Image by USATSI)
(Image by USATSI)

Last month I did a post or two on some possible offseason moves the Jaguars could make in free agency, which has now come and gone. One of the teams that had to make some crucial offseason moves of their own was the Baltimore Ravens, and lucky for our viewers we have the right person to talk about it in our latest contributor Charles. Here he breaks down the top additions of the Ravens offseason, and the top in-house moves the organization made as well. I must say I enjoyed this one myself as it was very insightful, and in all likelihood you all will too….unless your a bitter AFC North rival.  

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EXCLUSIVE: IES Gridiron Season Podcast with Draft Guru Tony Pauline.

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(Disclaimer to this image)

By: James Johnson and Nick Trist

It was an IES and Draftinsider.net collaboration of epic proportions yesterday as draft guru Tony Pauline dropped in with Nick and I to talk some 2014 Draft prospects. Topics included the Houston Texans and who they could pick first overall, the Jacksonville Jaguars and who they could pick third overall, as well as discussions on a few specific prospects like  Jadeveon Clowney, Blake Bortles, Sammy Watkins, and Tajh Boyd to name a few.

In part two of the show Nick and I elaborated on some of the latest risers and fallers of this class, then finished the show off with an interesting discussion on a couple payer-to-team pairings we’d like to see come May 8th. To hear it simply click on the Soundcloud link below (if it doesn’t start on it’s own that is).

Also, feel free to check out Tony on Twitter under his handle of @TonyPauline and most importantly on Draftinsider.net for the latest in draft buzz! And of course Nick and I can both be followed under the handles of @IES_Don and @NickTristIES

Browns Position-By-Position Review: RB’s.

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(Image by ClevelandBrowns.com)

By: Shane Mink

As promised, Shane sent me yet another contribution as he continues with his position-by-position breakdown of the Cleveland Browns. This week, he drops a bit of knowledge on the Browns RB situation which Cleveland put a lot of effort into addressing this offseason. Hope you all enjoy! 

The Browns running game was atrocious last year…. There’s no getting around that. At the start of the season, former first round pick Trent Richardson was the starter at RB and Chris Ogbonnaya, a converted RB, started at FB. This lineup lasted a whole two (yes, TWO) weeks. After Richardson’s horrible first two games in Cleveland, former Browns general manager Michael Lombardi, traded him to the Colts for their first round pick of this year draft (which is now the 26th overall). At the time many Browns fans were outraged and thought the season was doomed, but after seeing Richardson’s horrible season in Indianapolis, most have changed their minds as they now feel the trade looks to be very smart on the Browns part.

As for Chris Ogbonnaya, I personally feel he should have never been declared the teams starting fullback. Throughout the course of the season he displayed great abilities as a pass-catcher and consistently gained good chunks of yardage, but blocking, however, is not his strength. The teams second string rookie FB/TE/Wildcat QB MarQueis Gray, filled Ogbonnaya’s job admirably in his absence due to injuries . I fully expect to see him playing an H-back role next year, as well as occasionally playing in the backfield.

After Richardson was traded, the Browns signed former Broncos RB Willis McGahee. Ultimately, he was slowed by age and finished the season with 138 carries for 377 yards and 2 TDs. That’s a 2.7 yards per carry ratio. The only two players with a worse average were Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce of the Baltimore Ravens. In the end, McGahee finished the season with an average of 31.4 yards per game.

The Browns signed several RBs and released several over the season such as Bobby Rainey, who later had success in Tampa Bay, and Dennis Johnson who joined the Houston Texans. None of them had as big of an impact as Edwin Baker however, who was signed off of the Broncos’ practice squad. Even though he never eclipsed more than 100 yards rushing in a game, he provided a spark that made a noticeable impact in the last three games of the season.

Fourteen Browns players attempted various runs last season that totaled 1,383 yards in all. Of that fourteen, eight of them played at positions other than RB. Jason Campbell, Josh Gordon, Travis Benjamin, Brandon Weeden, MarQueis Gray, Josh Aubrey, Brian Hoyer, and Armanti Edwards all attempted at least one run in 2013. Of those players, Travis Benjamin ended the season with the longest Browns run, which was 45 yards.

As a team, the Browns ended the season with a total of 348 attempts of those 1,383 yards. That equals 4 yards per carry which was greatly skewed by Travis Benjamin’s run, as well as Josh Aubrey’s (34 yard run) just to name a few. The Browns had 9 runs of over 20 yards and only 4 touchdowns. Those 4 touchdowns were all scored by two players. Two from Willis McGahee and two from Edwin Baker. As a whole, the Browns finished the season with a 86.4 yard per game average.

This offseason the Browns signed two players that will almost certainly impact the running game in former Texans RB Ben Tate and former Bengals FB Chris Pressley. Tate, rushed for 771 yards and 181 carries while playing in all but 2 games for Houston. What’s amazing about those numbers is he did it while playing with broken ribs for the most part. Considering his toughness, and the fact that he ran for more than half the total yards that the Cleveland Browns did as a whole is very encouraging for a run game in need of a jolt. As for the other big signing in FB Chris Pressley, he has a reputation for making big hits and paving some nice running lanes. When looking at his measurables (5-11, 260 lbs) it’s easy to see why he’d have such a reputation.

The Browns will most likely target a RB at some point in this upcoming draft. Good players can be found at all levels. Players like Bishop Sankey and Carlos Hyde would both be good early round options, while players like Charles Sims and Terrance West would be interesting mid round options. Lastly, players like Jerome Smith and David Fluellen strike me as potential late round pickups. When looking for potential RBs for this team, there are certain traits Cleveland will look for in their new scheme. Those traits are good vision and the ability to hit the whole with authority, much like Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins (I highly recommend that Browns fans look up some tape on him to see what I mean). He embodies the ideal RB that Kyle Shanahan will to move forward with in this offense.

For more statistics on the Browns and their run game, go to websites like Clevelandbrown.com or ESPN.go.com.

Want to learn more about the Browns? Follow @afc2nfc, @mikekrupka, @joshfin, and @brendanleister . I’ve learned a lot from them and I’m sure you can too!

And lastly for those having trouble finding game film on draft prospects? Draftbreakdown.com and their crew do a wonderful job providing us with videos of all the top prospects and some you’ve probably never heard of!

As usual, we appreciate each and every one of our viewers. Also special thanks to Shane. Please feel free to follow him under the Twitter handle of @ShaneMink to give your his thoughts on this post and to interact with him for any sports related matters. Shane will have more Browns and Vikings posts to share with us in the coming days for our viewers so be on the lookout for more. 

Breaking Down the Alex Mack Situation From a Browns Fans P.O.V.

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(Image From Cleveland.com)

By: Shane Mink 

This past Wednesday, April 9th, rumors came out about Alex Mack signing an offer sheet with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The total numbers and structure of this contract are unknown, but there are indeed some rumors out there about it.

Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported that Mack was signing an offer sheet. He reported that the deal would be 5 years. Later others came out with contract details. There have been a few different rumors, but by far the most circulated one has the Jaguars giving Mack $20 million guaranteed in the first two years and $7 million the next year. There have also been reports that there is an opt out clause, which would allow Mack to leave the team he ultimately signs with.

Early Thursday morning Adam Schefter reported that the Browns are planning to quickly sign the offer sheet made by Jacksonville. Is this the right move?

If they did sign the offer sheet at the reported prices, they would be putting over $20 million in cap on just two offensive lineman next season. That would have an affect on contract negotiations with arguably more important players such as Joe Haden and Josh Gordon in the future.

If they decided not to sign the offer sheet, they will be going into the draft with a great need on the offensive line. The Browns already need to add an RG and RT to replace Shawn Lauvao (signed with the Redskins) and Mitchell Schwartz (not a scheme fit). Whoever the Browns name as the teams starting QB would probably begin next year with three rookies protecting him. That is not the ideal situation.

Should they make this move? There have been reports flying around all offseason that Alex Mack does not want to be a Cleveland Brown any more. There was also a report out there that the Browns told Mack after they tagged him that if he wanted to leave, they would not try to stop him. If they match the offer, they must be confident that Mack is willing to return.

Cap space-wise this deal is easy for Cleveland. With the most cap space in the league, unless the Jaguars structure their offer very oddly, the Browns will be able to match with cap to spare.

It would be rather awkward to sign Mack after he wanted out, but ultimately it is the best thing to do. The cap space may have an affect on signing other key players, but not dismantling the offensive line is very important right now if you ask me, especially if the Browns decide to draft and start and rookie at QB.

Update: Per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the offer sheet that the Jags will send to Mack Friday is a 5 year deal worth $42 million, $18 million of which will be payed to him in the first 2 years. Mack will also have the option to opt out after year two if he’d like and the deal also has a stipulation where he can’t be tagged after year two as well.

Update:  Looks as if the Jags gave the Browns a lot to think about as they were almost sure to match the deal, but are now having second thoughts.

Dating from Friday the Browns would have until Wednesday to match the offer sheet.

Update: As you all likely know by now the Browns matched the Jags offer and the figures on Mack’s end are as followed.

http://overthecap.com/cap.php?Name=Alex%20Mack&Position=C&Team=Browns

For more on this situation as it unfolds please feel free to follow Shane under the handle Twitter of @ShaneMink, myself under @IES_Don, and NFL insider Ian Rapoport under @Rapsheet . Shane will also have more updates and posts on the matter as the situation unfolds.