Welcome to the offseason Blitzers. I’m back after a couple weeks off to recover from the massive hangover that the Super Bowl gave me. I refuse to mention the word Champions and New England in the same sentence that refers to them as the best team so hopefully mixing up the order of the words accomplishes that. It's been a few weeks since the guys have put out a show so there’s nothing new for me to report. Coach probably still is on an epic rant about Tom Brady and the %^$&# Patriots (or all the other teams who couldn’t beat them). Seriously, thanks Chargers, Chiefs and Rams. Stats Guy is still drinking in the corner from his team’s recent acquisition of the former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, while poor Rookie is lost in the shuffle of having to deal with both of them at the same time. Since it's been a while, you can catch their latest podcast here to wet your whistle until this week’s edition comes out:
Free Agency took the NFL world by storm recently and just at the right time. We needed a boost of football and the whole Antonio Brown/Le’Veon Bell drama just wasn’t doing it for me. Scouring the waiver wire and recent signings, I’ve decided to highlight some of the best signings that may make the biggest differences for their new teams in 2019 and beyond.
Free Agent Studs
Nick Foles QB (JAX)
4 years, $88 Million
Finally, Nick Foles is free from the Carson Wentz shadow and is back as THE man of an NFL team. Jacksonville desperately needed to upgrade the quarterback position after suffering through too many years of the Blake Bortles experiment. Nick Foles is an instant upgrade that brings a much-needed offensive leader with playoff exerience to an extremely talented team that severely under performed in 2018, mostly due to the offensive ineptitude. The question remains, however, is if Nick Foles is up to the task to succeed for an entire year in a quarterback-driven league. Foles’ best year came back in 2013 with Philadelphia where he passed for 2,891 yards with 27 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions in 13 games. While taking care of the ball is great and all, those stats don’t exactly jump off the page. The reality is, it’s his most recent success with Philadelphia while filling in for the oft-injured Carson Wentz that finally landed him that big payday. Beating New England in the Super Bowl will do that for you. The NFL will see if he’s truly up to the task.
Blitzed Bartender Prediction: 3,800 yds, 32 TDs 12 INTs
Mitch Morse C (BUF)
4 years, $44 Million
Quick, raise your hand if you know who lead the league in rushing for quarterbacks last year? Anyone? It was Josh Allen. He ran for 631 yards while only starting in 11 games (that ranked 31st for the entire league). That’s not something you want out of your franchise quarterback who’s biggest asset is his cannon for an arm. The majority of those yards came because of the breakdown of the offensive line in front of him and Allen running for his life. Brandon Beane and company needed to fix the worst offensive line in the league and they targeted a young, talented center out of Kansas City from the get go. In 11 games played last year, Morse was in for 739 snaps and over 530 of those snaps were passing protections. He was credited with giving up only 5 pressures on the quarterback all year, flagged only 5 times for penalties and gave up zero (0) sacks. Plus word on the street is the guy loves wings. So this was a tremendous signing and great way to start rebuilding that wall in front of the face of their franchise.
Blitzed Bartender Prediction: (effect on Josh Allen stats) - 3,650 yds, 600 yds rushing 28 TDs, 16 INTs
Dee Ford DE (SF)
5 years, $85 Million
Seen above here checking in on how Andrew Luck's surgically repaired shoulder is holding up. Everyone says the same thing- “He only had one good year, which was this past year and he cashed in on it.” A- that’s wrong. In 2016, he actually had 12 sacks and pressured the quarterback 42 times. He had a down year in 2017 but didn’t receive starter snaps while dealing with some injuries. This past year, Ford went off. He had 13 sacks and a ridiculous 69 quarterback pressures. His greatest strength is his quickness and speed to the quarterback. He averaged 3.74 seconds to the quarterback per sack last year. That’s generally not enough time for a quarterback to snap the ball, drop back and find an open man before Ford is on top of him. Now San Francisco has paired him with Deforest Buckner on the defensive line and offensive coordinators are going to have an unbelievably difficult time stopping both players from getting to their quarterbacks. This was another great free agent pick up and this bartender believes he will be well worth the money the 49ers ponied up to pry him away from KC.
Blitzed Bartender Prediction: 58 TKL, 16 sacks, 3 FF, 1 FR
Le’Veon Bell (NYJ), Mark Ingram (BAL), John Brown (BUF), Jesse James (DET), Trent Brown (OAK)
The teams above made a big splash the past couple weeks with free agents deciding to play in their new homes respectively. Oakland was making waves all over the place, signing free agents (not to mention linebacker and CTE poster child Vontaze Burfict) but also by landing the mercurial Antonio Brown via trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers. What amazed me most was that Oakland was able to land one of the best wide receivers in the league for only a 3rd and 5th round draft pick. That means they still were able to keep all three of their 1st round picks acquired this past season for Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. I may have thought Jon Gruden was a bit loose in the head making these moves but he is beginning to look like he is putting together quite the team in Oakland before they head over to Vegas. Because of that, I have decided to give the guys a rather different drink this week called the Oakland Black Magic Cocktail. Lets face it, they’ve definitely performed some sort of magic to turn over that roster thus far.
Oakland Black Magic Cocktail
3 ½ oz. Guinness Stout
1 ½ oz Bulleit Bourbon
2 tsp Grenadine
1 tbsp Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
Blitzed Build: Add the blackberries, bourbon, grenadine and lime juice into a cocktail shaker. Muddle the blackberries thoroughly. Half fill the shaker with ice and shake hard for 30 seconds. Pour into a rocks glass filled with ice. Stir in the Guinness. Enjoy.
The key to all this magic Gruden seems to be pulling off lies within those three 1st round picks. If they nail them and pick players that develop into all pros, Oakland comes out on top. Between Trading for Antonio Brown, signing Trent Brown and having three top 32 picks in this April’s draft, things are certainly looking up for the Oakland-soon-to-be-Vegas Raiders.
That’s all for now Blitzers. I’ll be back again soon with another drink for the guys and more offseason chatter. As always, remember to always take Brady’s name in vein, tip your bartenders on the way out and if you’ve had too much to drink, give your keys to a friend.