Robert Woods Jersey

Prior to Sean McVay’s arrival, the Los Angeles Rams hadn’t won an NFC West title since 2003. They also went 12 years without making the playoffs, failing to post a single winning season since going 12-4 in 2003.

Under McVay, though, they’ve won back-to-back division titles, won 24 regular-season games – the same number as they won in the previous four years combined – and reached the Super Bowl once. They’re eyeing a third straight division title in 2019, which the Rams haven’t done since 1977-79.

Robert Woods knows it won’t be easy, especially with the aggressive moves some of their division rivals have made this offseason. During an appearance on NFL Network’s “Total Access,” Woods was asked to name the Rams’ biggest threat in the NFC West.

He gave a political answer by complimenting all three teams.

“Going undefeated in the division, everyone’s going to be coming for us, every single team,” he said. “They’re matching up. You see what Arizona’s doing on the defensive side, adding (Terrell) Suggs. I know the 49ers are getting a lot of offensive weapons back, they played us pretty well. And Seattle, they always play well – great linebackers, great leaders.”

Host Scott Hanson tried to get an answer out of Woods by asking who will finish second in the division, but the wideout wasn’t giving anything away.

“Who cares about second? Who cares about second?” he said with a big smile and laugh.

The 49ers’ offseason has consisted of trade talks surrounding Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr., as well as the acquisition of Dee Ford. The Seahawks lost Earl Thomas but retained Frank Clark on the franchise tag, and always have Russell Wilson to carry the load. Arizona signed Terrell Suggs and a host of free agents early in the process and could select Kyler Murray first overall to pair with Kliff Kingsbury.

The NFC West is always competitive and while the 49ers and Cardinals had rough 2018 seasons, Jimmy Garoppolo is returning and Arizona should have a new-look offense. All three teams will be gunning for the Rams, attempting to knock them off the hill atop the division.

This is the week that was for Ross. Two years ago this Saturday the Bengals took Ross with the ninth pick and both he and the team are looking for him to take off like he took off with the NFL scouting combine 40-yard dash record. The 4.22 seconds has translated into 21 catches and while his seven touchdowns are maybe one of the most overlooked stats of last season, Ross wants more.

“I overlook it myself because I feel like the touchdowns I was scoring weren’t really for someone of my build,” Ross said. “I was scoring (six) touchdowns in the red zone. I’ll take it, of course. It helps the team, and I definitely want to continue do that and other things and (make) bigger plays.”

He thinks he’s in the right offense for that, although he began the Taylor Era Tuesday like he began his career two years ago. On the sidelines for spring ball. But that’s the only similarity. Two years ago he didn’t get on the field until training camp because of shoulder surgery. Yet he may be back out there before the end of this camp because he says they’re just keeping an eye on after he developed some tightness in the wake of a stepped-up off-season conditioning program.

“I had to up my workload,” Ross said. “I’ve been grinding it getting into shape … I have to … Each year it gets bigger for me.”

Ross is looking to make the same kind of leap wide receiver Tyler Boyd did in his third season last year when he went from part-timer to a clutch 1,000-yard man. Throw in Hall-of-Famer A.J. Green and no wonder Ross has been looking at Rams tape since Taylor got hired. After all, the Rams, with Taylor as the quarterbacks coach, went to the Super Bowl with wide receivers Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks each getting more than 1,200 yards. Quarterback Andy Dalton agrees that this can be a Ross revival.

“You see everything that the Rams did, not that we’re going to be identical to the Rams,” Dalton said. “But they had three guys that were going to get 1,000 yards until (Cooper) Kupp got hurt. You see the skill set that (Ross) has if you compare him to a couple of those guys. Cooks probably has more straight-line speed than Woods does, but John has got that straight-line speed and he’s got some shiftiness. It will fit really well.”

With the Bengals unable to talk playbook with their new coaches until two weeks ago, Ross had been immersing himself in Rams video. It’s all he had and he liked what he saw.

“Something new is always exciting. Especially coming from where (Taylor) came from. I think a lot of us are excited. A lot of big plays. Not just from one player. A lot of people,” said Ross, who saw two things stand out on the tape. “Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. Those are two great receivers that do their jobs really well. They play with a lot of energy and effort. That’s something for sure I know I can bring.”

While the helmetless Ross and Green (toe) shadowed receivers like Boyd and Auden Tate Tuesday during team work and seven-on-seven, their mates brought enough for Taylor to note and compliment.

Aqib Talib Jersey

Heading into the 2018 season, the Los Angeles Rams were one of the most exciting teams in the league. Their busy offseason bolstered an already strong roster, giving them a truly elite offense under Sean McVay.

As of now, the Cleveland Browns look like a similarly hyped team. After adding Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon, and building on the success found with Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb, the Browns could be playoff contenders. The Rams will pay them a visit in Week 3 on Sunday Night Football, checking in to see just how legitimate the new-look Browns are.

Aqib Talib knows they look good on paper, but he’s still skeptical. On NFL Network’s “Total Access” segment titled “Buy, Sell or Hold,” Talib said he’s holding on Cleveland.

Image result for Aqib Talib

“I’m gonna hold. As of right now, I think it’s still on paper,” Talib said. “I’d like to see it with my own eyes, on the field, on TV or something – more than just on paper. As of right now, they had a losing record last season, so I gotta hold and see it with my own eyes, and then I’ll buy it.”

That’s a reasonable take from Talib. It’s hard not to be intrigued by the Browns after they put together a solid 2018 season behind Mayfield, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be successful next season.

The talent is absolutely there, but like Talib said, it’s still on paper. Games aren’t won and lost in March or April. There’s still a long way to go before the regular season begins in September, and until that point, Talib will have reservations about the Browns as AFC North contenders.

The slow period of the NFL offseason is officially winding down. The draft is right around the corner, and Wednesday night we’ll know the Los Angeles Rams’ full schedule for the 2019 season.

The league is releasing the schedules at 5 p.m. PT, pulling back the curtain on all 256 regular-season games. The Rams already know who their opponents will be, the only thing left to figure out is when they’ll be playing each one. The Rams have plenty of big games on their schedule, but perhaps the biggest one is a rematch of last year’s NFC championship game against the Saints.

The game caused a huge uproar, of course, because of the controversial non-call in the final few minutes. That non-call was the impetus for the league to change its rules and make pass interference calls reviewable.

The Saints have been hyping up the rematch for a while now, and are very much looking forward to their chance for revenge. It’ll be one of the most anticipated matchups of the entire NFL season, and Saints pass-rusher Cameron Jordan said recently he didn’t want it to happen too early.

“Let me get a couple games in so give me time for our unit to be super cohesive, know we’re battle-ready, sharpened up. I’m going to say game, like, five or six,” Jordan said.

Aqib Talib disagrees. The Rams cornerback did an interview on NFL Network’s “Total Access” Monday and said he doesn’t want to wait.

“They want to play us, we ain’t have no problem playing the guys, so let’s start it off Monday night or however,” he continued. “Put us under the lights and let’s get to it.”

Talib made it clear that the Saints aren’t the only ones looking forward to the rematch. New Orleans might be looking for revenge, but the Rams will be highly motivated as well. A lot of people tried to put an asterisk next to the Rams’ win because of the non-call, which surely angered many members of the team.

Talib isn’t one to back down from a fight, and he clearly wants to make a statement right away. He essentially one-upped the Saints and their trash talk, and it’ll be interesting to see if the schedule makers agree with Talib. General NFL fans will be hoping the matchup comes sooner rather than later. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait much longer to find out.

Aqib Talib has spent 11 years in the NFL and will make it a dozen in 2019 with the Los Angeles Rams. He’s earned about $64 million in his career, which is obviously a huge sum of money. If he remains with the Rams through next season and retires in 2020, he’ll have made about $72 million.

When you compare that figure to the contracts some MLB players are signing, it looks significantly smaller. Just this offseason, Bryce Harper signed a 13-year deal worth $330 million, all of which is guaranteed. Mike Trout also signed a 12-year, $430 million contract with the Angels, making him the richest player in MLB history.Aqib Talib has spent 11 years in the NFL and will make it a dozen in 2019 with the Los Angeles Rams. He’s earned about $64 million in his career, which is obviously a huge sum of money. If he remains with the Rams through next season and retires in 2020, he’ll have made about $72 million.

When you compare that figure to the contracts some MLB players are signing, it looks significantly smaller. Just this offseason, Bryce Harper signed a 13-year deal worth $330 million, all of which is guaranteed. Mike Trout also signed a 12-year, $430 million contract with the Angels, making him the richest player in MLB history.

Marcus Peters Jersey

Marcus Peters has made the playoffs every year he’s been in the NFL, playing on some of the best teams in the league. His teams have won at least 10 games each season and while they’ve all come up short in the postseason, the Chiefs and Rams both had success with Peters on the roster.

Although he didn’t have his best season in 2018, he was a big part of the Rams’ postseason run after he stepped up when Aqib Talib returned in Week 13. He admits he didn’t have a great year statistically, but he believes it was one of his best seasons in the NFL because of what the team accomplished.

“This year has been fun as [expletive] and I’m glad I’m a Ram now,” Peters said last week at his Fam 1st Family Foundation football camp. “With me, it wasn’t the best one statistically, but it was one of my best seasons because I made it to the Super Bowl. This had to be the best team that I was on, that really truly loved and cared about the whole outcome for the team.”

Related image

The Rams are a very close-knit team with both veteran leaders and young stars like Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald. Their chemistry is obvious on and off the field as all the personalities have meshed together perfectly without so much as a hint of animosity in the locker room.

Peters has an outgoing personality and is never afraid to speak his mind, resulting in entertaining press conferences and media sessions. One of the best of 2018 came when he spoke to reporters after the Rams’ Week 9 loss to the Saints when he called out Sean Payton.

Andrew Whitworth, who’s arguably the best leader on the team, commended Peters for standing up for himself after Payton took a shot at him for being a favorable matchup against Michael Thomas.

“After I finished talking to the media or whatever, ‘Whit’ was like, ‘Hey that’s how you stand up as a grown man. You take it for the good and the bad,’” Peters said.

The presence of leaders like Whitworth helps bring together a locker room, which helped make it possible for the Rams to add strong personalities like Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh in the same offseason. Peters mentioned how the Rams are “a genuine family” with “good people,” which makes him so excited to be a part of the team.

Some thought it would go horribly wrong for the Rams, but they proved without a shadow of a doubt that the personalities they acquired weren’t an issue at all.

“There was only two ways about it: Either it was going to explode or it was going to be good — you feel me?” Peters said.

The Rams exploded, but in a good way by breaking through and making it all the way to the Super Bowl. Their next goal is to win a Lombardi Trophy of their own.

Last offseason, the Los Angeles Rams made a splash move to acquire Marcus Peters via trade. The confident cornerback was traded from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Rams for a 2018 fourth-round pick and the Rams’ second-round selection in 2019.

He will have the No. 29 choice this year after the Chiefs came within an overtime of beating New England and reaching the Super Bowl. But he also has an additional second-round choice from the trade of volatile cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams, and that means ample opportunity to get creative.

“The fact we have a one and two twos, and then a one and two twos next year, puts us in a position to be aggressive from now until the start of the season,” Veach said. “Looking toward not just next season, but for the next two, three, four, five years, if you’re not proactive in your approach then you’re always chasing your tail.”

Veach is one of the more open GMs in the league, willing to offer his opinion on just about any subject. But when it comes to discussing details, he’s as savvy and coy as a card shark.

Then again, it doesn’t take a genius to realize help on defense will top his draft to-do list.

The Chiefs fired coordinator Bob Sutton, ditched his 3-4 system and hired Steve Spagnuolo to put in a 4-3 scheme. They’ve already made a series of moves to create better fits for their personnel, but they still need help getting to the passer and in the defensive backfield.

The Chiefs signed Alex Okafor and traded for Emmanuel Ogbah, but they still need help. They hope Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell could fall to them late in the first round, and Montez Sweat of Mississippi State and TCU’s L.J. Collier are also possibilities.

The Chiefs released longtime but injury prone Eric Berry and signed Tyrann Mathieu in free agency, but they may not be done at safety. Jordan Lucas and Daniel Sorensen have some experience and Armani Watts made great strides before a season-ending injury as a rookie, but quality depth remains important. Someone like Maryland’s Darnell Savage might fit nicely.

Kendall Fuller excelled in his first season in Kansas City, and Bashaud Breeland joined in free agency. But things are thin beyond those two, making CB arguably the biggest need in the draft. Georgia standout Deandre Baker, Greedy Williams of LSU and Rock Ya-Sin of Temple all have the kind of size and athleticism that the Chiefs value on the outside.

Brandin Cooks Jersey

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks has been praised by coaches and players throughout his career and Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia joined in on the praise.

Patricia used Cooks as an example in the film room and knows Cooks well after the two spent a season together with the New England Patriots two seasons ago. The Rams were lucky enough to trade for Cooks and get him away from the Patriots prior to the 2018 season.

Moments earlier, he’d shown a terrific catch by Rams receiver Brandin Cooks, from a game against the Saints. Patricia and Cooks overlapped in New England in 2017, and the Lions’ coach recalls what it was like watching Cooks in practice. Cooks “catches three balls on every play, whether it’s thrown to him or not” — a straightforward throw to his numbers, an over-the-shoulder catch like the one we just saw him make against the Saints, and then an even more difficult attempt.

Image result for Brandin Cooks

“He’s made that catch 1,000 times in practice,” Patricia says, pointing up to the video board. “Now, he may only have gotten it thrown to him twice (in a game), but he’s made it 1,000 times because he practices it every single day.”

The Lions wide receivers corps is talented, but it speaks volumes of Cooks’ talents seeing as his a coach on another team is using him as an example. Cooks is a fantastic speedy pass-catcher with some of the best hands in the league so it’s completely understandable why Patricia would use him to show his players how they can tweak their game.

After two years in a row consisting of being traded in the offseason, Brandin Cooks seems to finally have a set team in the Los Angeles Rams.

Around this time last year, the Los Angeles Rams were enjoying the excitement of acquiring Brandin Cooks from the New England Patriots in a trade that seemed to come out of nowhere.

After the Rams decided to let Sammy Watkins hit free agency instead of using the franchise tag on the speedster, Sean McVay and company seemed set on Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp handling most of the responsibilities in the passing game.

Other notable happenings from that game include the Seahawks being called for an offensive pass interference also courtesy of Kearse while the Saints were able to run a couple of successful pick plays that looked worse than Kearse’s infraction but were not flagged. One such play even led to a touchdown for the Saints.

Outside of Graham being gone, neither teams look much the same outside of their star quarterbacks. The matchup predates the arrival of Alvin Kamara for the Saints and features Tim Hightower as their primary back. The Saints defense was not young and revitalized yet and Brandin Cooks still caught passes from Drew Brees. For the Seahawks, the Legion of Boom was still intact. In fact, Earl Thomas returned a Mark Ingram fumble for a touchdown.

Christine Michael led the Seahawks in rushing yards and also scored a touchdown since current starter Chris Carson was still attending classes at Oklahoma State University. In addition to that, wide receiver Tyler Lockett was still hampered by an MCL issue and caught just four receptions for 32 yards. The often-injured C.J. Prosise led the team in receiving with four catches for 80 yards and also provided 23 rushing yards on four carries.

As you can tell, these teams have undergone significant changes in personnel over the last three offseasons. The Seahawks have rebuilt a Super Bowl contender from that season who would miss the playoffs the following year into a young, hungry playoff team in 2018. And the Saints have risen from a laughing stock on defense to Super Bowl contenders over the last two years.

In fact, it’s interesting this marquee NFC matchup with two dynamic offenses with very philosophies but similar styles wouldn’t be a primetime matchup, especially considering the history between the two sides with Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Quake being the standout memory. After all, these are two 2018 playoff teams meeting up.

Instead, it’ll be an afternoon game in week three, which doesn’t seem to do it justice.

The full schedule will be released at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Keep posted for any other scheduling reveals before then.

The 2014 draft yielded six players, none of whom are still with the New Orleans Saints. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks got off to an impressive start in his rookie season before suffering a season-ending thumb injury and validated that with impressive back-to-back 1,100-yard plus receiving seasons in 2015 and 2016.

Ndamukong Suh Jersey

The Rams will not return veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to the defensive line in 2019. In his sole season in horns, Suh started in all 16 games and tallied 4.5 sacks, 59 total tackles — four for a loss — 19 quarterback hits, and recovered two fumbles.

The three-time All-Pro had a particularly strong postseason, picking up 1.5 sacks, five quarterback hits, and two tackles for loss, along with a stifling effort against the run in three games.

Without Suh heading into 2019, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has some decisions to make concerning the void at the nose of his unit, and he might not have to look far for the answer.

Image result for Ndamukong Suh

“Now that I’ve kind of got comfortable paying at defensive end, you know I like playing that position, but if I have to play nose, I will do that too,” defensive tackle Michael Brockers said on the first day of the offseason program. “I told them that whatever I can do for this team, I will do it, so that’s the most important thing.”

Brockers is an in-house candidate to play the nose position in Phillips’ 3-4 defense in 2019. The 2018 team captain and seven-year Rams veteran played the nose in a 4-3 for the majority of his career, before the 71-year-old’s scheme was put in place in Los Angeles. Brockers took snaps at nose for a handful of games in 2017, before sliding down the line to get after quarterbacks as a five-technique defensive end.

Positions post-Suh are hardly set on the D-line, especially taking into account the Rams’ seven picks in next week’s NFL Draft, as well as how young members of the defensive line might contribute — like John Franklin-Myers, who saw solid playing time in 2018, and Sebastian Joseph-Day, who Brockers cited on Monday afternoon when discussing the position gap.

Regardless of who it is, the engine of the Rams’ most imposing position group for much of the 2018 campaign isn’t worried about next season sans Suh.

“We are just going to keep doing our job. We’ve got some great players that can come in and help us,” defensive tackle Aaron Donald said. “Suh was a good player for us and whatever the situation is, is his business, but no matter what happens, we are just going to do our job and do what we’ve been dong.”
The majority of free agents have already signed on the dotted line this offseason, but there is one big name still available on the market that doesn’t seem to be making the headlines – Ndamukong Suh.

Suh is no doubt one of the more polarizing players in the NFL; while many have lauded his play on the field over the years, he has earned a reputation as being a player who toes the line between playing hard and playing a little too over-aggressively. Be that as it may, he has been a consistent force on the interior over recent seasons, and he is one of only six players at the position who have recorded 80.0-plus overall grades in each of the last four campaigns.

Suh is also one of the more durable players in the league and has been a pinnacle of health throughout his career, averaging 935 snaps per season including the playoffs. He has only missed two games over his nine-year career and has finished with at least 40 quarterback pressures in every single season since 2010.

The 2018 season may not have been a banner year for Suh, but his performance throughout the Rams’ campaign is proof that he can still be a difference maker in the NFL. The ninth-year interior defender played the third-most snaps of any defensive tackle during the regular season, and when it was all said and done he had earned an 82.6 overall grade – the third-best mark of his career. His career-best overall grade (85.6) came just a season prior season with the Miami Dolphins, which perhaps shows that his play isn’t falling off as much as people think.

Over the last three seasons, Suh has been one of the most productive run stoppers in the entire NFL. He’s earned a run-defense grade of 91.1 over that span, sixth among qualifying players at the position, while his 83 run stops are tied for the seventh-most.

He obviously doesn’t come without concern, as the 32-year-old is coming off his lowest-graded season as a pass rusher, but even that resulted in a cool 57 pressures last year, while he also managed to tally nine pressures in the postseason, two more than even teammate Aaron Donald.

Unfortunately for the Rams, they seemingly don’t have the cap space to re-sign Suh, but he would be a solid addition to another team as a rotational impact player who can be a disruptive force against the run who can also contribute to the pass rush. Signing him to a one-year deal was a good move for the Rams last year, it could be so again for the next team that steps up.

Dante Fowler Jersey

Although considered to be voluntary workouts, players that skip their team’s early offseason programs are often criticized in the media. With the Los Angeles Rams seemingly encountering a similar issue, both cornerback Marcus Peters and pass rusher Dante Fowler have remained absent from the start of the team’s offseason activities.

The defending NFC champions opened their offseason program on Monday, without a pair of key defensive players present.

Coach Sean McVay acknowledged to reporters that linebacker Dante Fowler and cornerback Marcus Peters did not attend. McVay didn’t fault them for being absent, pointing out that the workouts are “voluntary” and that they “had communicated well ahead of time.”

“Certainly, it is voluntary and we understand that,” McVay said. “But as long as we just know they’re in a good place or what’s going on with them. . . . [Fowler and Peters will] be here once they get some of those things taken care of that they had to do.”

McVay also expressed hope that cornerback Troy Hill and linebacker Cory Littleton, both unsigned restricted free agents, will soon join the team.

“I think once they come in, you’d like to be able to get those guys to sign,” McVay said. “That’s something that we’re navigating through right now. Cory was the other guy that he communicated to us that he had something going on. We don’t expect anything to be different. Those are guys that we hope to be on our team and looking forward to working with.”

For a team that is known for its offense, the L.A. defense also has significance. After all, it held the Patriots to a mere 13 points in Super Bowl LIII, a thin silver lining in what ultimately was a 10-point loss.

Justis Mosqueda recently released an article for Bleacher Report where he outlines one offseason move every NFL team could regret. The transaction Justis chose for the Los Angeles Rams was re-signing edge Dante Fowler Jr to a one-year $12m contract that could reach $14m depending on incentives:

The Los Angeles Rams came close to winning their first Super Bowl since 1999 last season, though Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots ruined the party, beating them 13-3.

But coming into the 2019 campaign, expectations remain high.

The core of the Rams remains intact under head coach Sean McVay, led by quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley and arguably the best player in all of football, defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

Gone are Mark Barron, John Sullivan, Rodger Saffold, Ndamukong Suh and LaMarcus Joyner. In are Eric Weddle, Blake Bortles as the backup quarterback and Clay Matthews. Dante Fowler Jr. re-signed, while the team will get star wide receiver Cooper Kupp back from injury, giving them a dynamic trio at wide receiver alongside Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks.

While his teammates in EDGE Rusher Rashean Gary and linebacker Devin Bush are more highly touted for their potential, it should be mentioned that Winovich actually put up the statistics, as he led the team with 17 tackles for loss in his senior season. His 109 pressures in his final two seasons ranks fourth in the NCAA, according to Pro Football Focus.

While those numbers are all well and good, Winovich’s draft stock was raised recently due to his impressive combine numbers, including a 4.59 second 40-yard-dash with a 10-second split of 1.57, which is just .01 seconds slower than former top-5 picks such as Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah, Dante Fowler Jr., and Dion Jordan.

Perhaps the most impressive stat Winovich put up at the combine was his 20-yard-shuttle (4.11 sec) and 3-cone-drill (6.94 sec), which both place in 90th percentile of those respective categories among these years prospect. Those specific numbers are very encouraging when compared to other NFL legends, as The Ringer’s Robert Mays covered last week:

As the Rams prepare for the NFL draft, The Times will examine their roster. Part 1 of 8: Linebackers.

Seeking an edge-rushing presence, the Rams made a savvy trade-deadline deal for Dante Fowler last season.

The former first-round draft pick helped the Rams make a Super Bowl run, and — after assessing the market — the franchise signed the pending free agent to a one-year, $12-million contract.

They signed veteran linebacker Clay Matthews, attracting him with a winning culture and the chance to return to Southern California. The six-time Pro Bowl player, along with Fowler and third-year pro Samson Ebukam, are expected to provide the Rams with formidable threats while flanking star tackle Aaron Donald.

Ebukam, a starter in 2018, had an offseason knee procedure. He will be brought along slowly during offseason workouts in hopes he will be ready for training camp.

“You feel good with Dante, Clay and Samson,” coach Sean McVay said. “Samson’s history of being able to play both sides gives us some flexibility that we really like.”

C.J. Anderson Jersey

Allen Park, Mich. – The Detroit Lions announced today that they have signed unrestricted free agent RB C.J. Anderson. Additional contract terms were not disclosed.

Anderson comes to Detroit after splitting the 2018 season between the Carolina Panthers, Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Rams, appearing in 11 games (three starts) and totaling 67 carries for 403 yards (6.0 avg.) and two touchdowns. He spent the previous five seasons of his career with the Denver Broncos (2013-17), playing in 58 games (36 starts) and producing 693 carries for 3,051 yards (4.4 avg.) and 20 touchdowns during that span.

Anderson originally entered the NFL with the Broncos as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2013 out of California. He helped the Broncos capture Super Bowl 50 and topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark in 2017.

Related image

If not for C.J. Anderson, the Los Angeles Rams may not have reached the Super Bowl. He helped them secure a first-round bye with 100-yard performances in the last two games of the regular season before racking up 123 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams’ win over Dallas in the divisional round.

He filled in admirably for the injured Todd Gurley, looking like a Pro Bowl back behind the Rams’ outstanding offensive line. As good as he was, his stay in L.A. might have been brief. Anderson is a free agent and has yet to be re-signed by the Rams, who matched the Lions’ offer sheet for Malcolm Brown to bring him back next season.

Anderson tweeted last week that he had yet to receive a single offer from a team this offseason, seemingly generating little interest on the open market. On Thursday, he shared two cryptic tweets that suggest the Rams won’t be bringing him back in 2019.

Hours after that tweet was posted, Anderson shared this message, as well. He says he just wants the chance to play all 16 games as the starter without teams making excuses.

He doesn’t want to hear about how coaches and general managers “like this guy” instead. Anderson wants the chance to play all 16 games so he can show what he’s capable of.

The Detroit Lions signed C.J. Anderson with a thought of him playing a big role for the team’s running game, and they got Anderson to come to town on a big deal with which to do so. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Anderson will be cashing in on a $1.5 million dollar contract which includes a $200,000 signing bonus.

“The Lions gave veteran RB CJ Anderson a 1-year deal worth nearly $1.5M, source said. He got a $200K signing bonus,” Rapoport tweeted. “The max CJ Anderson can earn with incentives is $3M,” he also said.

After the move to sign Anderson was made official, veteran columnist Mike O’Hara revealed some serious facts as it relates to Anderson’s stats in the league thus far, namely, the fact that the runner has never averaged below 4.0 yards per-carry in a season.

“Six reasons to like the Detroit Lions’ signing of veteran RB C.J Anderson,: 5.4, 4.7, 4.7, 4.0, 4.1, 6.0. Those are his yards per carry in all six of his seasons. Never below 4.0,” O’Hara tweeted.

Stats like that only prove how much Anderson could be worth the money in the end for Detroit, and on the whole, the contract is very palatable for the Lions, who could stand to gain a ton if Anderson plays like he has in the past for them.

Before joining the Raiders and Rams, Anderson spent five total seasons in Denver, rushing for 3,051 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also brought in 103 receptions for 859 yards and five touchdowns. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2014 when he ran for 849 yards and eight touchdowns. Although his best statistical rushing season came in 2017 when he ran for 1,007 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the production, the Broncos opted to release Anderson the following April right before the 2018 NFL Draft. John Elway would go on to draft running back Royce Freeman from the University of Oregon and sign Phillip Lindsay as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Colorado.

The former Broncos runner later signed a deal with the Carolina Panthers following his release, but he was only on the team until November 12th after Christian McCaffrey’s continued emergence pushed him to the sidelines. Anderson finished his brief stint in Carolina with 24 carries for 104 yards and one reception for 24 yards and a touchdown. Following his release by both the Panthers and Raiders, Anderson’s time in the NFL appeared to be over, but the Los Angeles Rams brought him to town and reaped serious benefits.

He rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals and then finished off the regular season with 132 yards and another score against the 49ers. Once the playoffs arrived, he turned another corner and became even more productive. In the NFC Divisional victory over the Cowboys, Anderson piled up 123 yards and two touchdowns while running through this vaunted defense with ease. Admittedly, Anderson was less effective in the NFC Championship (44 yards) and Super Bowl LIII (22 yards), but much of this was owed to overall offensive dysfunction. The Rams struggled to get into a rhythm in both games, resulting in fewer touches for both Anderson and Gurley. Before his deal in Los Angeles, the Lions looked at signing Anderson. Clearly, they still liked what they saw from the durable back.

Anderson has been durable, solid and available, which figures to be a dream combo for the Lions, who would like to see him continue to hammer out the yards. He will do so, and the team hopes he earns every bit of his money in 2019.

Eric Weddle Jersey

Monday marked the first day of work for the Los Angeles Rams as players reported for the start of offseason workouts. They’re completely voluntary so players can’t be punished from skipping them, but the vast majority of the roster was in attendance.

Among those participating in workouts were the Rams’ newest acquisitions, including Eric Weddle, Blake Bortles and Clay Matthews. They put on their new practice jerseys for the first time, debuting their numbers in the process.

Though the roster hasn’t officially been updated, it seems Weddle, Matthews and Bortles will all keep their jersey numbers from their previous teams. Weddle was wearing No. 32, Matthews had on No. 52 and Bortles was in No. 5.

Quarterback John Wolford, who the Rams signed from the AAF, was also seen wearing No. 9 on Monday.

It’s no surprise to see Matthews in 52 and Bortles still wearing No. 5, considering neither of those numbers was occupied by other players on the roster. However, Troy Hill, who’s a restricted free agent and has yet to sign his one-year tender, has worn No. 32 since 2016.

Perhaps Weddle worked out some sort of deal with Hill for the number, or maybe he’ll just wear it until the young cornerback arrives, but it’s not possible for both players to wear it during the season.

Before the free agency period even officially started, the Rams signed safety Eric Weddle to a two-year deal after Baltimore cut the veteran in early March.

In his introductory press conference, Weddle talked about being a good scheme fit under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips because he’s familiar with the system — having played in a variation of it during his many years with the Chargers.

Weddle just turned 34 in January, but has still shown plenty of ability to play at a high level. Using NFL GamePass, here are a few examples from the 2018 season in this film breakdown.

When you think about a free safety, the first thing you probably think about is his coverage ability. That’s where we’ll start with Weddle, who broke up a key deep pass to Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones in Week 13 of the 2018 season.

It’s 1st-and-10 from the Falcons’ 25 in the first quarter, with the Ravens up 7-3 (they’d end up winning 26-16 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium). Baltimore showed a two-deep safety look pre-snap, with Weddle toward the bottom of the screen.

In a deep pool of free-agent safeties available, Eric Weddle seemed to find himself near the top of the list for many teams. He reportedly had 11 teams interested and whittled the list down to five before signing with the Rams a little over a week ago.

He joined Los Angeles on a two-year deal worth $10.5 million, a bargain by just about every measure. The Rams were supposed to be his last stop on the free-agent circuit but the team made a strong play to get him in the building first, which may have made all the difference.

From a talent and leadership perspective, the Rams couldn’t have asked for a much better replacement for Lamarcus Joyner at that price. Weddle will come in right away as a starter and a leader in the locker room, completely embodying the Rams’ “We not me” slogan.

“Every decision I’ve ever made is always thinking about the team and thinking about what’s best for the defense. A lot of people think when I play on the field and I do some wild stuff, it’s never about me. It’s never about what makes me better or what I can do to make some stats. It’s always about making the defense as best as possible within the play, within that down, how can I affect the game, how can I set up my teammates to make a play for them to help our defense, to help get the ball back to the offense,” Weddle said at his press conference recently. “That just epitomizes what I’m about – I’m about my team. I love this game to death and I cherish it. I know it can end at any moment, so I don’t live with regrets. I don’t live with, ‘I wish I would have done this, I wish would have not said that.’”

Weddle has always been viewed as a strong leader in the NFL, from his days with the Chargers to his time in Baltimore. Les Snead got a taste of that when the Rams signed Weddle with agents reaching out on behalf of players to express just how great of a teammate the safety was.

“This is a first, probably – when we signed Eric, I had at least four agents reach out to me,” Snead said. “This time of year, a lot of agents are reaching out to you, you’re thinking they’re going to obviously, maybe sell their client to the Rams. But each one of them basically said hey, they represent a teammate who played with Eric and they just wanted to share with me that, ‘Hey, their clients thought Eric was one of the best teammates they had ever had.’ I’ve never had that occur really. Pretty neat for your legacy, Eric.”

Austin Blythe Jersey

The Los Angeles Rams made a deep run into the playoffs, reaching Super Bowl LIII. Of course, they came up short against the New England Patriots, but that’s not to say it wasn’t a successful season.

The Rams built one of the best rosters in football and uncovered a hidden gem at right guard in Austin Blythe. He took over for Jamon Brown, who was suspended two games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Blythe never relinquished the starting job, playing all 16 games, just as the other four starters did on the offensive line.

He was a huge part of the Rams’ success on offense, shoring up the weakest spot on the offensive line from 2017. Blythe finished with an overall grade of 71.0 from Pro Football Focus, good for 12th among all guards in the NFL.

He thoroughly enjoyed playing for the Rams, too, saying they helped him enjoy football again.

“I think that’s what makes the Rams so special, that everyone is so connected,” Blythe said. “I was telling (offensive line coach Aaron Kromer) that I enjoyed playing football this year — it wasn’t a job, it was a game again — and it was a lot of fun, a lot of fun playing with the guys that we have on the team and unfortunately not everyone is going to be here next year, but hopefully we’ve got a lot of the same guys back because they are great guys. Like I said, I’m already looking forward to the offseason.”

Blythe was merely a backup in 2017, coming in to fill in for John Sullivan at center from time to time. However, he showed great versatility and had no problem playing guard in place of Brown.

That proved to be a great move for the Rams, finding a diamond in the rough after claiming him off waivers in May 2017. Now, they have a long-term starter at right guard for a very low cost.

Bortles steps in as Jared Goff’s backup, replacing Sean Mannion. That’s an upgrade for the Rams, and at $1 million, Bortles is likely to be cheaper than Mannion, too.

Malcolm Brown is in danger of leaving for the Lions, which would cause the Rams to become fairly thin at running back. C.J. Anderson is always an option to return, but without Brown, it’d be up to John Kelly and Justin Davis.

No changes were made at wide receiver, nor at tight end. It’s still the same group at both spots with Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett being interchangeable as the “starter.”

The offensive line looks dramatically different. Andrew Whitworth is fortunately back, but Saffold is gone, as is John Sullivan. Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen figure to step in at left guard and center, respectively, to plug those holes. Noteboom would also probably be Whitworth’s backup if the season started today. Thankfully, it’s only March.

Austin Blythe can play center and guard, as can Aaron Neary. Overall, there’s a good amount of versatility up front.

Austin Blythe and Cory Littleton aren’t easily recognizable names, but to the Los Angeles Rams, they’re incredibly valuable players. Blythe took over for Jamon Brown last season and started all 19 games (including postseason) for the Rams, playing at a very high level in his first year as a starter.

Littleton stepped in after Alec Ogletree was traded and made the Pro Bowl as a special teams player, blocking two punts in 2018. Both he and Blythe were big parts of the Rams’ success and they were rewarded handsomely.

The NFL announced the top 25 players in performance-based pay and both were among the top earners. Blythe was second in the NFL with a bonus of $380,060 last season, while Littleton earned $371,379 – fifth in the league. Ravens center Matt Skura topped the list at $395,660.

The purpose of the league’s performance-based pay program is to reward players who outplay their salary. It accounts for playing time compared to base salaries, which is why Littleton and Blythe were toward the top of the list.

The NFL also paid out bonuses from the veteran pool, adding to Blythe’s and Littleton’s pay in 2018. Blythe earned an added $133,556 (fifth) with Littleton taking home $130,864 (seventh). In total, Blythe made $513,616 and Littleton added $502,243 to his bank account, which ranked second and third in the NFL, respectively.

Rob Havenstein Jersey

The Los Angeles Rams handed out contract extensions like candy last offseason, signing Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, Brandin Cooks and Rob Havenstein to lucrative deals in a very short span. They all look like wise decisions up to this point, and while Donald is the best of the bunch, Havenstein’s deal looks like a bargain.

The big right tackle signed a four-year, $32.5 million extension in August and absolutely delivered in his first season on the new contract. He’s turned into one of the best offensive tackles in football, leading all linemen in 2018 with a run-blocking grade of 84.5 from Pro Football Focus.

Havenstein wasn’t viewed as an elite tackle prior to 2018, but he’s become one in short time. Looking at his stats over the past three years, he’s improved significantly and truly become one of the best tackles – not just right tackles – in football.

In 2016, he allowed nine sacks for 92 yards and was called for four penalties. In 2017, he improved by allowing just five sacks for 30 yards, though he did have six penalties for 50 yards. Last season, all of those numbers plummeted, and in a good way.

He was called for just one penalty and surrendered only two sacks for 18 yards in the regular season and postseason altogether. That’s 19 total games without missing a single snap and allowing just three penalties and sacks combined.

Havenstein’s performance this past season really puts his contract into perspective as far as it being a bargain. Sure, his average salary of $8.125 million per year ranks fourth among all right tackles. However, he’s 22nd among all offensive tackles in terms of annual salary, which makes his deal look even better.

If Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams take down the New England Patriots Sunday in Super Bowl LIII, providing a narratively taut bookend to the Pats’ dynasty, they will do so in no small part thanks to the quiet contributions of Rob Havenstein.

You likely don’t know that name, unless you’ve spent any time wandering the halls, or the gym, or the weight room, or the locker room, or the coaches offices, or basically allowed your eyes to be open anywhere inside Linganore High School’s property line. There are trophies and photos, but there are also news clips, just about anywhere you look, celebrating Havenstein’s success.
Right tackles have become increasingly important, too, with some of the best pass rushers lining up on the left side of the defensive line, facing right tackles. This past season alone, Havenstein faced the likes of Von Miller, Cameron Jordan, DeMarcus Lawrence and Khalil Mack, holding his own against each guy.

As a lead blocker, it’s simply not fair, either. His power and athleticism make him dangerous in the open field with a ball carrier trailing him.

The Rams got ahead of his breakout season by signing him in August and it’s looking like one of the best decisions Les Snead has made. Havenstein is going to be a huge part of the Rams for a long time at a very reasonable cost.

Offensive line continuity scores were originally developed by Jason McKinley in the early days of FO (when FO Almanac was still Pro Football Prospectus) and we have since gone back and calculated it for every team since 1999. The continuity scores are based on three variables: number of starters used; number of week-to-week changes in starting lineups; and the longest starting streak of any one five-man unit. A team can earn a maximum of 16 points in any one category (one point per game), meaning a team that started the same five linemen in all 16 games would get a perfect score of 48; the 2018 Los Angeles Rams last year became the 38th team do so, as the quintet of Andrew Whitworth, Rodger Saffold, John Sullivan, Austin Blythe, and Rob Havenstein started ever game, including the playoffs. (This is no doubt a large reason they were able to post the highest adjusted line yards of any offense on record.) Hypothetically, if a team started five brand new linemen every week of the year, they would get a “perfect” score of -57, though of course nobody has ever come close to that.

7 teams that have to ace the 2019 NFL Draft after a quiet free agent period – SB Nation
Washington’s most notable move this offseason was signing Landon Collins for a whopping $84 million. He’ll serve as an upgrade over an underwhelming Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but he can’t fill the club’s other myriad of problems. New arrival Case Keenum could be an improvement over Colt McCoy at quarterback if he returns to his 2017 peak, or he could be responsible for another lost season if he plays like his 2018 regression. Jamison Crowder and Maurice Harris both left the receiving corps, while Preston Smith, a useful edge rusher, took a massive salary bump to be part of the Packers’ newfound spending strategy in Wisconsin. Dan Snyder’s team is in a tough spot. Last year’s squad did just well enough before Alex Smith’s potentially career-ending injury to push Washington to the 15th pick in this year’s draft, and it’s also out a fourth-rounder thanks to the Clinton-Dix trade last season. It’s been four years since Washington drafted a player who’d go on to the Pro Bowl — a trend the team needs to reverse after sending out more talent than it took in in free agency.