Posts Tagged ‘julio jones’

Lets rewind to 2012 when Atlanta finished the regular season 13-3.  They claimed the NFC’s Number 1 playoff seed, knocked out Seattle in the divisional round of the playoffs, and just fell short of going to the Super Bowl.  So when the 2013 season started a lot of analysts had Atlanta to make another deep run in the playoffs and possibly make a Super Bowl run.  The Falcons entered the season with a fearsome passing attack and an upgrade to the run game by adding Steven Jackson from the Rams.

By the time the season started we already started to see some concerns with the Falcons.  Roddy White was hobbled by a high ankle sprain which made it harder for Julio to get receptions.  By the time Roddy was getting his groove back; Julio had broken a screw in his surgically repaired left foot and missed 11 games.  Steven Jackson fell early to injury as well and missed 6 games and Jaquizz Rodgers filled in.  Matt Ryan made the best out of a bad situation by utilizing Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas, but it was very interesting to see how different that offense was without two of its big play makers.  Lets not forget that the defense was missing Sean Weatherspoon and Kroy Bierman.  The defense ended up averaging 27.7 points a game allowed against them.

Now the Falcons are looking to rebound, and I think a lot of people are expecting them to return to glory as well.  It is a big loss not having Tony Gonzalez come back, but they will have Julio Jones and Roddy White coming back strong.  Matt Ryan knows how to utilize his targets and with both of them healthy it should really spread out the offense which will help create running lanes for Steven Jackson and the running game.  The Falcons spent the offseason drafting lineman to protect Matt Ryan; and they spent a lot of money signing crucial players to the roster.  The Falcons did also bring in Devin Hester which will add depth with the receivers and help amp up special teams.  Where the Falcons really need to step up is the defense.  Weatherspoon is coming back from an injury, but he should make an immediate impact along side Paul Worrilow who totaled up 127 tackles last year. 

As long as this team can stay healthy it would not surprise me if they went 12-4 and made a playoff push.  Coach Mike Smith has only had one losing season since taking over as head coach of the Falcons so it should be an interesting year of football in Atlanta.

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This is one of my favorite categories because its much like fantasy football; you just never really know how a player will perform.  Remember what the term comeback means.  More often than not a QB will take the Comeback Player of the Year Award mostly because of they can exceed expectations from a previous year.  Such as Phillip Rivers; he had a very bad season in 2012 mostly due to a bad team effort.  But in 2013 the talent got better around him and he was able to better his play.  Its is much harder for a RB to win the award because more often than not they need to comeback from a terrible injury or explode with a new team.  Its much of the same with WR as well; they need to produce outrageous stats to be considered for this award.

With that in mind; I feel there are a lot of players who could be in the running for the 2014 Comeback Player of the Year.  Some of my possibilities are QB; but there are a bunch of other positions that very well could win it as well.  There were a lot of injuries in 2013; and during free agency this year we saw a lot of players go to new teams.  So it should be very interesting to see who emerges out of the pack to win this award.  Below are my top selections in no particular order.

Robert Griffin III Redskins – Obvious first choice going into the season.  The Redskins have surrounded him with talented players and an upgraded offensive line.  One of the big stories was the Skins picking up DeSean Jackson in free agency which adds a lot of speed to the offense.  Pierre Garcon is healthy and Alfred Morris will be a big part of the pass game now as well.  RGIII should be healthy and ready to go when the season starts and I think the bar will be set pretty high for him in 2014.

Percy Harvin Seahawks – Harvin is another top candidate because after his showing in the Super Bowl; we all got to see his potential when he is healthy.  Now with Golden Tate gone there should be a lot of action in store for Harvin.  Now that is taking into account that he will stay healthy for a full season; we all know he has had some issues with that.  He has all the tools he needs to have a killer 2014 season; lets see if he uses all of them.

Julio Jones Falcons – Julio Jones is amazing anyway and he was on track to have a career year in 2013 until he got a foot injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season.  Jones is going to be healthy by the time the season starts and the Falcons brought in Hester from the Bears to hopefully take some of the pressure off Jones.  Roddy White will be playing the opposite side so there is no reason why Julio should not just explode.  

Rob Gronkowski Patriots – Two years ago it was impossible to stop Gronk, now for the last season he has had injury after injury that has slowed his progress.  No TE has ever won the Comeback Award; but if there is a TE to do it; it would be Gronk.  Tom Brady is still delivering the passes; so as long as Gronk can stay on the field he actually has a chance to get this award.

Aaron Rodgers Packers – He is a former league MVP so we all know his capabilities; now he is healthy he should return to form.  He still has weapons around him like Cobb and Nelson, and now the Packers have a strong run game with Lacy so it makes sense that Rodgers should be able to pass often and make a good run to winning this award.

Michael Crabtree 49ers – After being sidelined for most of the 2013 season with an injury; Crabtree came back with a vengeance and was a big impact on the 49ers.  Now being healthy and with other WR options for Kap; it should free up Crabtree to show his full potential.  He wont be putting up Julio Jones numbers; but he still can show how much he has recovered from a serious injury.

There are some others that might have a chance at this award too like Larry Fitzgerald, Randall Cobb, Eli Manning, Michael Vick, and Jake Locker; but they have some stiff competition to get there.  I know I didnt put any defensive players on here and thats because there have only been 3 defensive players to ever win this award and I dont see it happening in 2014.  I may be wrong though; you never know.

 

Whenever I see a ranking of NFL players I normally get skeptical because it is normally based purely off stats or it is made up by a few people instead of a large group.  I prefer it to either be a fan vote; or a large panel of experts that decides a ranking.  In this ranking this is purely based off the fans.  NFL.com did a large poll on who the most popular players in the NFL are for 2013.  Now in this day and age it is very important to be a popular player because it helps your image as a player, helps to get fans to the stadium to watch you play, and of course; merchandise.  Now NFL.com did the top 100; I am going to show you the top 20 players that were voted on by the fans.

20. Clay Matthews LB Packers
19. Rob Gronkowski TE Patriots
18. Julio Jones WR Falcons
17. Russell Wilson QB Seahawks
16. Von Miller LB Broncos

Just in the first five I was kind of shocked.  I would have thought that Clay Matthews would have been higher.  He has been in commercials. I see his jersey everywhere, and everyone flexes when they see him.  I also noticed a lot of young players too like Wilson and Julio.  That is a good sign for their career that they are young and popular; as long as they keep the bad publicity away from them then this can only help their careers.  I also thought that Gronkowski would have been placed higher now that Welker and Hernandez is out of New England; maybe after he plays a few seasons with no injuries he will be bumped up.

15. Ray Rice RB Ravens
14. Andre Johnson WR Texans
13. AJ Green WR Bengals
12. Larry Fitzgerald WR Cardinals
11. Robert Griffin III QB Redskins

Once again a few young players on here and that is impressive.  What’s interesting here is that RGIII sells the most jerseys; but he is not the most popular player….interesting.  Seeing players like Fitzgerald, Johnson, and Ray Rice should be a nice reminder that there are classy players in the NFL that can play for a long time.  Most of the players we have listed on this list so far have had no publicity and they handle themselves with class.  There has not been one real troublemaker on this list and that should go to show that being classy and dependable will get you a long ways in the NFL.  Now it is time for the top 10!

10. Patrick Willis LB 49ers
9. Marshawn Lynch RB Seahawks
8. Arian Foster RB Texans
7. Drew Brees QB Saints
6. JJ Watt DE Texans

Once again; classy players and young players.  I am also noticing numerous Texans on the list too.  Another thing that all of these players have in common is that they put up good numbers every game they play.  They may have off games; but for the most part you can rely on these guys to come through when you need them.  I think that is another reason why people voted these guys to be the most popular.  Now for the Top 5!

5. Aaron Rodgers QB Packers
4. Tom Brady QB Patriots
3. Peyton Manning QB Broncos
2. Calvin Johnson WR Lions
1. Adrian Peterson RB Vikings

All 5 of these top 5 players have something in common too.  They all are on their way to the Hall of Fame.  Rodgers is one of the best passers in the NFL right now; he is so good he is making people forget about Favre.  Brady has won numerous championships with the Patriots and has turned the club into a dynasty.  Peyton has been one of the most outstanding passers in the NFL for awhile and has achieved everything a player could ever want to have.  Calvin is going to be around for awhile and has already been breaking records.  Adrian Peterson is a freak…that’s alli can say about him.