Welcome to NFL hype week

Good day, fellow football enthusiasts. I am here to share something with you: excitement. You can’t see it because I am expressing these feelings with the written word, a dying form of communication as the world turns to 90-second videos that you’ll only watch 20 seconds of before clicking on something else.

But if I can have your attention for just a little bit here I’d like you, dear media consumer, to join me in getting excited about a very select group players who will make the 2017 NFL season worth watching.

He added, Then the first couple weeks, you see Paxton people were talking about it but then the last couple of weeks where he was just out there lighting it up. It was likOoh, where did that come from?’ It’s going to be good competition. I’m excited about it.

The Broncos go into the season under new head coach Vance Joseph. The defense, led by Von Miller, was good as everybody expected last season. It was the offense that had trouble getting going, which has been a constant struggle since the 2015 season where they still managed to win a Super Bowl.

Last season, Siemian completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 3,401 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in 14 games. He suffered a couple of injuries over the season a shoulder injury early on, and then a sprained foot towards the end of the season.

In the three games he saw the field, Lynch had two touchdowns and one interception on 83 pass attempts.

Even if the Broncos offense doesn’t quite get things together this season, we’ve seen how far they can go when their defense is playing out of their minds.

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Michael Floyd suspended first 4 games of season due to extreme DUI

When the Vikings signed free agent wide receiver Michael Floyd, they did so knowing he may miss a chunk of the 2017 season thanks to disciplinary action from the league. On Friday, the team announced they’ll be without the receiver for the first four games of the season.

Floyd will be eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. He’s slated to return on Oct. 2. His first game back will be Oct. 9, when the Vikings take on the Bears on Monday Night Football.

Behind the three roster locks, roles are not as clearly distributed. Second-year players Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones have seen lots of practice reps during minicamp, while Justin Coleman served as the starting slot cornerback in 2015. Three undrafted rookies C D.J. Killings, Will Likely, Kenny Moore are also part of the equation.

And according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the team might add yet another body to the competition:

Former Chargers and Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers is visiting Arizona on Wednesday, per league source. Also been talking with the Patriots.
Flowers was released by the now-Los Angeles Chargers earlier this offseason after ending both the 2015 and the 2016 campaigns on injured reserve (knee, concussion). He originally entered the NFL as a second round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008 and grew into a very solid cornerback for the team. However, in the summer of 2014 and coming off his first Pro Bowl season, the Chiefs released Flowers due to schematic and financial issues.

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Dolphins sign veteran CB Alterraun Verner right before training camp

Romo lost his job last season after suffering a broken bone in his back during the preseason. Dak Prescott came in, and led the Cowboys to a 12-4 record as one of the NFL’s most exciting teams last season.

Yet after his retirement, Romo was able to pull a Dak and stepped in to immediately replace Phil Simms in the broadcast booth at CBS. Sure, it’s not how Romo envisioned his career ending, but he sounds like he’s opened up to it and is ready for the opportunity.

I’m pretty happy and excited about the opportunity that was presented to me, Romo said. I got coach [CBS play-by-play man] Jim Nantz teaching me all the tricks of the trade that I’m going to be behind on, but I’m improving fast. I’m excited about it. It gives me a chance to compete, get better and improve. I get to be passionate about the game, hopefully teach a little bit, hopefully make it a little bit entertaining along the way. It’s going to be fun.

Romo was one of the most criticized quarterbacks during his career. That’s likely going to carry over into the broadcast booth.

Even though Romo claims he’s done, there’s no telling what goes on in his mind. If he’s half as indecisive as Brett Favre was, this isn’t over.

In one of the more under-the-radar free agent signings, the Dolphins have signed a potential starting cornerback in Alterraun Verner, the team announced Tuesday.

Verner, released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the final year of his four-year, $25.75 million contract, hasn’t quite lived up to the money he signed for but has still been a fairly steady cover man in his own right. With seven years pro under his belt at age 28, Verner has experience that many big names on the free agency market this offseason simply could not offer.

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Jared Allen’s patience is tested by his caddy

Every time a golfer hits the links, they take their best friend along for the ride: their caddy. The trust and bond between these two must be so great for them to succeed as a team, and with that in mind, I figured it would be the quickest ticket to friendship with living legend Jared Allen. I joined Mr. Allen (as he hated to be called) for an 18-hole jaunt around the Edgewood Tahoe golf course during the American Century Championship in hopes of proving that I’m a man worthy of holding his [golf] balls, as well as his heart.

Conner, an All-American at Pitt, fulfilled his dream of making it to the NFL when he was drafted 105th overall by the Steelers. But that accomplishment pales in comparison to what Connor did in 2016. He beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He tore his MCL during Pitt’s first game of the season, and during the rehab process, doctors discovered a lump in Conner’s chest. It was diagnosed as Hodgkin’s in December 2015. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treatable, but it can be deadly. Conner underwent treatment, and by May 2016, he was cancer-free.

Just four months later, Conner was back on the field for the Panthers. In Pitt’s first game of the season, he scored two touchdowns. He finished his final season at Pitt with 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Only two can follow in Dak Prescott’s and Joey Bosa’s footsteps and win the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards, though.

This isn’t a list of each team’s best rookie, but rather a look at the most likely award winner from the draft class of 2017. No offensive lineman has ever won the AP’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award. There’s more diversity on the defensive side where linebacker is the most common recipient, but every standard position from tackle to safety has earned the honor at least once.

Here’s a look at the rookies on each team likely to make a big splash on the field and with voters this season.

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Marshawn Lynch is saving an Oakland soul food institution by buying it

Scend’s Restaurant and Bar has been a soul food institution in Emeryville, Calif. since 1967, and this could have been its last year until Marshawn Lynch stepped in. The Raiders’ running back couldn’t sit back and watch one of his favorite restaurants disappear, so he’s taking over.

After three devastating seasons in the league and an impressive turnaround in Oakland, the Raiders star has signed the endorsement deal he’s waited for his whole life. The quarterback-crushing linebacker is now a spokesman for America’s most famous manufacturer of 18-wheel tractor-trailers.

The partnership all started with a cold call from the linebacker to the company. According to NFL linebacker Mack, fellow Bay Area superstar Draymond Green was the genesis of the partnership, making the obvious connection between their names. That idea wasn’t lost on the young athlete.

[Green] just texted me one day and said, ‘You should do a deal with Mack,’ said Mack. Ever since I was a kid, just hearing my dad talk about Mack Trucks, it always stood out to us and made us feel like we were connected to something important. Something bigger than ourselves.

Every time I’m on the field, it’s just a part of my thought process. I’m a Mack Truck running through whoever is in front of me.

Mack took the premise to his agent, and the iconic trucking brand was receptive to the idea.

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Teddy Bridgewater Ditches Knee Brace For Drills

Hat tip to the folks from The Viking Age, who had this one before we did.

We’re pleased to reach an agreement on a five-year contract with John to continue leading our football operations, Ellis said. During these last six seasons, John’s clearly established himself as one of the best general managers in all of sports. He’s demonstrated impressive football instincts, a strong business acumen and a consistent ability to build competitive teams.

There’s no doubt John means a great deal to the Broncos, our fans and the entire community. It was important for us to reach this long-term agreement, and we’re all excited to now turn our full attention toward the 2017 season.

The announcement came after weeks and months of speculation in the media and worry among the fans that there could be a potential permanent break between the two sides.

As it turns out, Elway and Ellis had always intended to stick to their encouraging words that something would be worked out. And something did get worked out.

The East Carolina product immediately rewarded Tennessee’s faith. He ran for more than 1,200 yards his rookie year, then shattered that mark by breaking away for 2,006 more the following season. Johnson is one of only seven players in league history to break the 2,000-yard barrier.

His Titans tenure included four more 1,000-yard seasons, but it appeared his time as a featured back was winding down in 2013. Johnson averaged just 3.9 yards per carry in his final year with the club, raising questions about his viability as a No. 1 runner in the league. He signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Jets after being released by Tennessee but spent just one season as the team’s part-time starter before having his option declined for 2015.

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The Chargers’ home opener is against the Dolphins

The San Diego Los Angeles Chargers are joining the Rams in the nation’s second biggest television market, and they’ll do it in front of a grand total of about 30,000 fans on Sundays. The StubHub Center, which usually hosts soccer games, will be the Chargers’ temporary home, even though it’s hilariously small compared to every other NFL stadium.

It’s not a bad idea, though. The Chargers are playing second fiddle to the Rams in LA and don’t have much of a built-in fan base in their new home. But selling out 30,000 seats is easy and, wow, is it going to be fun to be at Chargers games for a few years.

Imagine dealing with a parking lot with half as many cars and being twice as close to the action on the field. Just getting a ticket that gets you in the door will guarantee you have a seat that provides a better view than about 70,000 people get for Cowboys games at AT&T Stadium.

The Chargers’ home opener is against the Dolphins, and the 30,000 people there will be the first to get an NFL experience that nobody has ever had before. And I’m betting it will be a great one. Adam Stites

My job is to go out there and earn it and play and stay healthy, Watkins told the Bills’ official team site. And that’s my goal this year.

Staying healthy has been his biggest problem, though.

When healthy, Watkins is one of the league’s most explosive players. He combines a 4.4-second 40-yard dash speed with elite acceleration, allowing him to separate from defensive backs and then carry the ball across the goal line.

Having the kind of player who can bail you out on third-and-14 is a boon for quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Watkins’ strong hands and compact physique allow him to bully defenders and get to the ball first, making him an easy target downfield. At 24 years old and headed into his fourth season as a pro, he should be nearing his peak as an NFL receiver, too.

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Watching Skip Bayless debate Skip Bayless is the catharsis you need

By now, Skip Bayless has said so much ludicrous and inane crap that naturally the snake was going to eat its tail and we’d end up at this point. What we didn’t know, however, is just how beautiful watching Skip debate Skip would be.

The focus of this video is Aaron Rodgers’ legacy, with Skip 1 and Skip 2 going back and forth from different parts of the FS1 host’s career. It shows that, in the mind of Skip Bayless, Rodgers is both the greatest quarterback in the league and totally overrated, earning the moniker Errant Rodgers.

Cassie Nickelson, owner of Scend’s, is turning 80 years old, and announced that she planned to retire in August. With no clear succession plan in place there was a chance the restaurant would disappear without Nickelson there to oversee the business, but Lynch, who’s been frequenting Scend’s since he was a kid, is making sure its legacy continues.

Turning over a legacy like this is difficult, but Nickelson is okay with Lynch continuing her restaurant. She remembers a young Marshawn coming to Scend’s to get a $1 meal as a child.

When he was 9-years-old, he came across the street to get a hamburger and French fries. 25-cent French fries and a 75-cent hamburger, Nickelson said.
New ownership always comes with an inherent risk. Will the restaurant change? Will the food stay the same? Marshawn has no plans to change anything about the place he loves. Everything will remain identical, and one of Nickelson’s sons, who is a cook at Scend’s will continue.

Marshawn Lynch coming home has been the best dang story in the NFL this offseason.

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Unconvincing Chad Johnson imposter arrested for trying to buy $18K of Louis Vuitton

The concept of pretending to be a famous person isn’t new, but a man in Aspen was impressively brazen in his attempt to pass himself off as former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson. Mervin Cabe, who is 25 years old, walked into a Louis Vuitton store and attempted to purchase $18,000 worth of merchandise, before he was arrested for identity theft and unauthorized use of a financial transaction device.

The program shifted to blocking, including hand work and then circuit training. What I found the most interesting was the coaching coming from not only the original owners of HOP but from Bennett, who is now a part owner in the business. He selflessly teaches and trains at the same time, offering instructions and the reasons why the techniques will help their play. He would coach one-on-one and also speak to the group collectively. Much of the work was on hand and body placement to increase their leverage. When you’re 6’7 like Armstead and Buckner are, getting low and getting as much leverage as possible is paramount.

The players all worked together, no matter the team, learning, improving and sweating in the warehouse setting where the facility is located. With the humidity being what it is in Hawaii you can imagine the environment when the roll-up doors come down at the start of the session.

I spoke to all four 49ers after the practice so I’ll have more on this visit throughout the week, including more videos and pictures of the workouts. Aloha!

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Marshawn Lynch is dominating the entire western U.S. in jersey sales

New sales data from NFLShop.com was released on Wednesday and now we have a good look at how jerseys are selling around the country. Marshawn Lynch joining the Raiders was popular like, really, really popular.

Lynch isn’t just owning the west coast, he’s taking over a good chunk of the country. His new Raiders jersey is the biggest seller in 14 states, bested only by Tom Brady’s 17 states but it should be noted that the Patriots fanbase basically ensure he’ll naturally get six states from New England alone.

The Saints have a pair of first-round picks who could make an immediate impact with cornerback Marshon Lattimore and offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk, but Kamara plays a position RoY voters typically give preference to. The former Tennessee talent is a dynamic threat out of the backfield as both a runner and receiver, and he’ll have plenty of opportunity to shine in a New Orleans offense known for taking off the restrictor plates and letting it fly.

Reddick went from unranked walk-on college prospect to one of the nation’s most productive linebackers, recording 9.5 sacks, 22.5 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles in his senior season at Temple. He also lit up the NFL Combine, putting up running back-style numbers at the event. His combination of athleticism, strength, and ability to grow will help him make an instant impact in his first season with the Cardinals.

Thomas, who gets his quick feet from Irish step dancing in his teens, is a versatile defensive end who can scramble passers and tailbacks with equal aplomb. He’s a big presence who can record the kind of sack numbers to sway voters this season. San Francisco’s rebuilding defensive depth chart should afford him plenty of pass-rushing chances.

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