Genius or Gone

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By Stefan Anderson

Chip Kelly, known for his coaching tenure at the University of Oregon, was given a five-year contract worth 32.5 million in 2013 to right the ship for the Philadelphia Eagles after the divorce of long time coach Andy Reid. Since then Kelly brought his fast paced offense to the NFL and opened eyes in the league while bringing Philadelphia back to the postseason, and reassuring the future of the City of Brotherly Love.

Since January, Kelly has been given the keys to the organization to make personnel moves and now has traded and released pivotal players to his system. The likes of Desean Jackson, Lesean McCoy, Jeremy Macklin and now his first successful experiment in the NFL, Nick Foles have all been removed from the Eagles roster.

Although losing those play makers, the Eagles have now inherited the talents of Sam Bradford and one of Kelly’s former players and 2013 DROY Kiko Alonzo, but what talent does the offense have. With the word of Kelly trading up to get his prized possession Marcus Mariota ,it shows weakness in Kelly’s coaching ability.

Kelly was the mastermind that transformed Nick Foles into a Pro Bowl quarterback and following up with the resurgence of Mark Sanchez, but it was the pieces around Foles that made the system free flowing.

I do not like the fact that Chip Kelly has traded for his former players to run his system, however I disagree with as well, it does not show great versatility as a coach. Great coaches often get maximum potential all players not just the players they are accustomed to coaching.

The former Pac-10 Coach of the Year, has shown his wits once before and has to do so once again. Philadelphia, unlike most cities has one of the hardest fan bases and quickly will ask for Kelly’s exit if he doesn’t show the method to his madness.

Let’s hope this madness works out for the Ducks, I mean the Eagles sake.

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Carpe Diem: Free Agency Winners

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By Stefan Anderson

The NFL Free Agency period has begun and many teams were put in unfortunate situations and some teams were in better positions also. With that we have seen many big names hit the free agent pool unexpectedly and some that were bound for their big pay day. Teams were who watched the Seattle Seahawks hoist up the Vince Lombardi trophy this winter were all dreaming of having their team witness the same nostalgia , following up with the champagne and confetti showers.

Although the Seahawks built their team through the conventional way of drafting the majority of their team, they also had to fill in the necessary spots with veteran free agents and players that could fit their schemes well. So far throughout the offseason, these few NFL teams have made their steps in route of righting the ship or tightening the loose on ends of their franchise by making the blockbuster and under the radar moves for this upcoming season.

  •  New England Patriots: After suffering the defeat their arch nemesis Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos during this year AFC Championship, the Pats are on their reign for dominance once again. The Pats went out and signed WR Brandon Lafell to give Tom Brady another target, while resigning one of his favorite targets Julian Edelman. The Patriots also boosted their defense by acquiring defensive backs Brandon Browner (formerly of the Seahawks) and former arch rival Darrell “Revis Island” Revis to withhold a secondary that just lost their star corner Aqib Talib.  The two aggressive corners in Bill Belichick’s defensive scheme will be a great one to watch as they try to take the Broncos from their AFC throne.
  • Denver Broncos: Still tasting the bitter taste of their Super Bowl defeat , for use of better words, the Broncos were very active this offseason adding talent to their already talented roster. After releasing their future hall of famer, Champ Bailey, GM John Elway went forward to sign defensive backs Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward to help the team’s secondary. Also on defensive they went to sign the recently cut pro-bowler Demarcus Ware to pass rush alongside Von Miller, scary site right? The Broncos continued their efforts after stacking up their defense by adding WR Emmanuel Sanders to replace Eric Decker who recently signed with the New York Jets. Still feeling the hangover of Super Bowl 48, Denver looks to return the same place and bring a championship this year instead.
  • New York Giants: The Giants looks to have a promising season against their competition and return the NFC playoffs. After a horrendous season where the fell from their prominence shown in years before, the Giants look to rebound after their free agent additions. They started on the Defensive by signing Dominque Rogers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond to help their already good pass defense that ranked 10th last season. Also on the offensive side by bringing in running back Rashad Jennings and re-signing Peyton Hillis to help one the league’s worst rushing attacks last year.
  • Oakland Raiders: Yes, I know I said the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have been one of the most active teams this offseason, under the radar but working diligently. Adding veterans with Super Bowl pedigree like Lamar Woodley and Justin Tuck to add to the defensive side of the football, the Raiders look to compete in the tough AFC West division. Also signing OT Austin Howard and resigning Khalif Barnes and also adding WR James Jones. Oakland is looking to look to acquire a QB that holster their offense this season, names like Michael Vick, Matt Schaub and Mark Sanchez are on the Raiders target list.

Carpe Diem is to urge someone to make the most of the present time and give little thought to the future and these few teams have done so by becoming the NFL’s biggest winners during Free Agency.

Cut Costs, Cut Your Losses

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By Stefan Anderson

Cut costs and budget properly, an economical statement that applies to many facets of life, is now taken place in the National Football League. With free agency starting beginning yesterday, many teams are aligning themselves to stock up on their roster and compete for this year’s upcoming NFL season. Also with the collective bargaining agreement and salary cap laws team have to remain under the salary cap.

The 2014 salary cap is currently, 133 million per team, but that doesn’t mean every team’s spending power is the same. Teams can choose to carry over unused cap space from the prior year, as 29 teams did this year. That carryover from each team’s salary cap are combined with final calculations of incentives, escalators, bonuses and other factors that will give teams the option of their  own unique spending limit.

With the new spending limit teams will make big rosters as some teams already have done:

Notable signings:

  • Denver Broncos have acquired Aquib Talib and T.J. Ward
  • New Orleans Saints have signed Safety Jarius Byrd
  • Philadelphia Eagles added safety Malcolm Jenkins
  • Tampa Bay brought in Alterraun Verner along with Micheal Johnson

Along with the teams adding stars to their team, there is another aspect of free agency that is groundbreaking this year. With so many teams in fear of going over the salary cap, many teams are forced restructure their star player’s contracts or ultimately release them.  With that comes a lot of perennial pro bowlers are faced with something some have not been faced with in years, Free Agency.  The list of players that now have to face free agency to cut costs on their teams include: Demarcus Ware, Darrell Revis, Julius Peppers, Jared Allen, Champ Bailey and Michael Vick just to name a few.

Nothing wrong with the players having to face the difficult situation, I believe that this gives the league a balance.  Now with so many high profile free agents out there teams that could get a Darrell Revis or Demarcus Ware, could now go out and weigh their options into acquiring the big name talents. It is a great thing for the thing league and gives every team the opportunity to build up their rosters with not only draft picks but good free agents.

With the upcoming draft and a lot of great free agents hitting the market, the 2014 NFL season should be a great one to watch.