Coach Rob Wills: ‘Our goal all year was to win this division’.

Coach Rob Wills: ‘Our goal all year was to win this division’. 

This past Sunday, the Waterford Wolves clinched the IAFL-1 Championship title with victory over Munster rivals, the Cork Admirals. Despite being 12-0 down at half time, the Wolves clawed their way back in the second half to win 13-12 at Navan RFC to lift the trophy.

On what proved to be an exceptional day of football that also included the Belfast Trojans 2nd’s winning the IAFL-2 title, we caught up with Waterford Head Coach Rob Wills to get his thoughts on his teams historic moment.

A retired high school coach from Texas, Coach Wills has had a long but decorated career within American Football. He played football at Texas Tech (although he claims he was too dumb to know any better) before embarking on a thirty-two year coaching journey, which mostly included small areas within West Texas. He had coached a number of conference championship winning teams, but never won the state championship. He can however add the IAFL-1 championship to his CV.

‘It is very satisfying’, Coach Wills said speaking of his teams win. ‘To see the faces of the players after Sunday’s victory makes it all worth while’. 

The Wolves entered halftime of the game on the back foot, trailing by 12 points to a strong Cork outfit. Waterford had lost the last two outings against the Admirals, but in a final event; anything was possible.

10409555_743277559075124_5366394276082200726_n‘At the end of the first half even though we missed a great opportunity to score, I sensed that the momentum had shifted. All we had to do was make a few minor adjustments and we could get back in the game. The biggest obstacle was our confidence’. 

The Admirals were the form team throughout the season, finishing a solid (7-1) in regular season and had on paper the best offence and defence to any team in the division. So it was fair to say the Wolves were considered the ‘underdogs’ heading into the game. Coach Wills believed that the tag worked to their advantage.

‘We had nothing to lose but at the same time we had something to prove. The lopsided loss to them earlier in the year was humiliating but at the same time, it was the team’s motivation to make it to the finals for a rematch.’

Shutting down Steve Hayes and co. would have been of upmost importance during the game. With that under consideration, Wills was able to devise a plan that would ultimately stop the Cork offence.

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Photo by Greg Barret

‘We knew we had to make them beat us running the football. We thought we matched up well with them up front but we were out matched in the secondary due to the height difference. Therefore, we left two half safeties over the top and mixed man under coverage with zone under (cover 2). Then we played mind-games up front with our Defensive-Line to confuse their O-Line and put pressure on their QB. We executed it well and were able to hold them to only two scores.’

Many often wonder what goes on or what is said in the changing rooms at halftime during games in order to provoke a better second half performance. That is when the leaders in the team step up. Coach Wills firmly believed his team could win, but he trusted his players to find a response; and they did.

‘I quietly challenged them to step up and take the game. No that’s not true at all. I went off on them in a controlled, calculated “old school” fashion. My three sons who all played for me call it “vintage Coach Wills.” I can’t say that was the difference but I do know they responded. I told Ryan (Byrne) to stick with our script when he calls plays. I did not follow that rule and called a play on the goal line that cost us the go ahead TD early in the fourth quarter. That did not phase the team. They continued to play hard and were able to overcome my lack of judgement (stupidity) to come back and score late.’

So with the IAFL-1 championship in the bag, the Wolves can set their sights on an automatic return to the top flight to compete in the Shamrock Bowl Conference once again. The ‘Wolf Pack’ can now enjoy a well-deserved break from their hardships of a long but successful season, before they plan for life in the SBC next season.

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Photo by Greg Barret

‘Our goal all year was to win this division and get back to the SBC. We were not ready in 2014 to compete at that level. The year’s experience back down will help. Our biggest obstacle is numbers. We need a good recruitment drive during the offseason to get our numbers up. It would be really nice to be able to platoon instead of playing both sides of the ball. Depth is the key to success at the SBC level.

Congratulations to the Wolves!

NFL-Ireland’s MVP Awards 2015

2015 we hardly knew ye, all that is left now is Shamrock Bowl 29 and then we face into the bleak off season. Winter training, frozen fields, rain, wind and the true face of football in Ireland. The heroes of Summer are built in the Winter and with all but two teams now focused on 2016, we look now to the heroes of 2015. NFL-Ireland are proud to announce our inaugural Most Valuable Player Awards for the Shamrock Bowl Conference, IAFL 1 and IAFL 2.

2015 Shamrock Bowl Conference Most Valuable Player

James McKelvey

Photography by Dave Bradshaw
Photography by Dave Bradshaw

#1 is number one. The Trojans are with out a doubt the standard of the last number of years. The bar has been reset in recent times by the team from Belfast and while some have come close nobody has cleared that bar to date. At the helm of an offence that has scored 147 points more than the nearest rival (that is 21 touchdowns worth), there is no doubt that McKelvey is among the elite of Irish Quarterbacks. 20 Touchdown Passes sets #1 above all signal callers this season. His 3 rushing touchdowns by way of sneaks is the cherry on top of an extremely fine season. Andy Dennehy, Peter Loughran and Tom Donovan all deserve mention in conversations about the best quarterback but James has doubled all of their passing totals and carried with him perhaps the best offence assembled on this island. It is no surprise that in this run first league, McKelvey’s favourite target, Dave Richardson has topped all skill position players in touchdowns scored.


2015 IAFL 1 Most Valuable Player

Stephen Hayes

Photo by Declan Forrest
Photo by Declan Forrest

25 Touchdown Passes, we could honestly end our summary there. That is impressive enough. What is more impressive is that #12 is the offensive coordinator, play caller and he wrote the offensive playbook. If you are not the sort that is easily impressed, we offer up that Stephen is 23 years old and his offence has produced more than double that of the next best unit and a large proportion of that has come from the right arm of #12. Hayes is without doubt one of the brightest talents at any position in the country. He has earned his place in the National set up and to be achieving so much while still at such a young age defies logic. Unfortunately his quality couldn’t carry the Admirals back to the promised land of the SBC but Hayes has had such a fine season that falling at the last hurdle may prove to be the spark that pushes him and the admirals onto greater things in 2016’s campaign.


IAFL 2 Most Valuable Player

Johnathan Siri

Photo by Lyndsay McVeigh
Photo by Lyndsay McVeigh

Earlier in the year we asked some of his Trojan team mates about Johnathan Siri and our favourite response was ‘he’s like having cheat codes’ Mike Vick in Madden 2004. Bo Jackson in Temco Bowl and now we have Johnathan Siri in IAFL 2. Siri rushed for 10 touchdowns in the regular season and then put on his best Devin Hester and scored 5 return touchdowns on Special Teams. Oh yeah….he got one playing defence too. The only question remains is, has anyone asked him to play quarterback yet? Siri also had 2 touchdowns in the Bowl Game. Making his cameo in IAFL 2 perhaps one of the more dominating performances across a season that we’ve witnessed in the IAFL. Siris game changing ability on all sides of the ball is rare. Gifted players such as this often prove headaches for coaches as to where best to deploy them, the Trojan Coaching staff have gone for the ‘Everywhere’ option. As his eligibility for IAFL 2 expires Johnathan Siri is a name we expect to hear much more of in the Shamrock Bowl Conferences (and likely Shamrock Bowls) for years to come.

IAFL-1 Final Preview

IAFL-1 Final Preview.

With the IAFL-2 Preview done and dusted, we swiftly move onto the IAFL-1 clash between the Cork Admirals and the Waterford Wolves. In what we shall christen as “The Munster Mash”, or maybe a more serious name such as the ‘Munster Bowl’, will see the division leaders do battle against the semi-final winners. Both sides have faced against each other already this season, as Cork came out 33-6 and 42-0 victors, however all past results go out the window when competing in a final!

thumb_waterfordlogo Waterford Wolves @ Cork Admirals thumb_CAlogo  – Navan RFC, 4pm.

The Cork Admirals finished IAFL-1 leaders with a commanding (7-1) record as they rarely looked like surrendering their lead as the premier team in the division. The Admirals sailed to a great start, putting up on average 30+ points in their opening 3 games with victories against the Wolves, Minotaurs and Bulldogs, a points average that continued throughout the campaign. By this stage they had established themselves as the firm front-runners in the race for the playoff’s. The midway point of the season brought up some tough encounters, including the game against the Tyrone Titans that they won 22-7, but the Ad’s continued to bask in their form. Their only defeat of the season came against the Meath Bulldogs, but despite a minor setback the men from Cork comfortably sealed top spot in the division.

Steve Hayes led the division with 25 touchdowns. Photo by Declan Forrest
Steve Hayes led the division with 25 touchdowns. Photo by Declan Forrest

One of the prime candidates and key reasons for Cork’s success fell on the shoulders of Quarterback, Steve Hayes. Hayes quite simply has had a terrific year up to this point despite being an unknown quantity before the season commenced. He has featured heavily in our ‘Team of the Week’ articles, and for good reason too. The signal-caller threw an impressive 25 touchdowns this season to various targets in his receiving corp. Nick Coffi, Paul O’Driscoll and Simon O’Keefe contributed to a cool 24 TD’s in 8 games, with O’Keefe finishing as the top receiver with 10 touchdowns. Their defence can get somewhat overshadowed by the offences prowess, but they aren’t too bad either. They only conceded 78 points, whilst scoring 3 defensive touchdowns and 2 safeties.


Standing on the opposite sideline will be familiar foes in the Waterford Wolves. The ‘Wolf Packs’ season was met with mixed results and a concern for a lack of consistency, however as the season progressed and the playoff’s loomed, the Wolves were soon hunting! Defeats one week were met with victories the following as Waterford ground out key wins against the Mavericks and Minotaurs early in the campaign. They didn’t necessarily blow teams away on the scoreboard, but they did just enough to scrape threw and thats what counts! They did win 3 of their remaining 4 games, all of which were against playoff contenders. Huge performances against the Titans and Bulldogs secured them playoff football, in which they defeated the Bulldogs 13-9 to book their spot in the final.

Despite coming second overall in the IAFL-1, the Wolves finished with the second worst points difference

The Wolves will need a complete performance to stop the Admirals!
The Wolves overcame a tough Bulldogs side to reach the final.

with -54 as they scored only 66 points whilst surrending 120. The offensive production has always been a problem for the Waterford men, but their blood thirsty defence more than makes up for it. QB/CB Ryan Byrne has been a standout performer, coming up with several big plays that has altered the Wolves path this season. He’s scored 7 times consisting of passing, rushing and defensive scores making him an all-round playmaker. His partnership with Mark Dunphy has brought plenty of success recently and the Wolves will need big performances from the pair on Sunday.

When it comes down to it, the Cork Admirals will be considered strong favourites this weekend, considering their superior record this year and past results against the Wolves. However the Wolves have had the best form in the division in recent weeks and will be feeling very confident heading into Navan. The Admirals will need to click into gear quickly unless they fear a repeat performance against Meath, whilst Waterford will struggle to keep up with Cork if they get into their flow. Both teams have been rather quiet in regards to rushing threats this season, so it appears the battle will be done through the air. Cork have easily the best receiving trio in the division, maybe even the country, but the Wolves secondary is littered with ball-hawks so this will be an interesting showcase. Let the battle for Munster commence!

Can’t make the game? Never fear! The expert commentating of Greg Barret has you covered! He will be joined by special guests Neil Graham of the Belfast Trojans and South Kildare Soldiers own Shane Farrell at ringside.  

Listen to the game live this Sunday on the OpenTempo sports app for iOS and Android, or you can follow the game via the link www.opentempofm.com and click on the “listen” sports link!

IAFL-2 Final Preview.

IAFL-2 Final Preview.

Navan RFC will be host to the first championship games of the year as the IAFL-1 and IAFL-2 winners will be decided this Sunday. The IAFL-1 leaders, the Cork Admirals will face off against last years SBC outfit, the Waterford Wolves in the 4pm kickoff.

Before that takes place, the IAFL-2 final will take centre stage. The undefeated Belfast Trojans 2’s will take on the division veterans in the South Kildare Soldiers. The Trojans currently hold the bragging rights over their opponents, but the Soldiers wont back down from a challenge in a game that will decide who wins the war of the IAFL-2.

SKS South Kildare Soldiers @ Belfast Trojans 2’s thumb_BTlogo – Navan RFC, 1pm.

The Soldiers regular season performances showed solid improvement, picking up a few extra wins than they achieved in their debutant year. They started off in excellent spirit too, dispatching a dangerous UL Viking’s side in convincing fashion. They couldn’t translate that form into their next two games however, as last seasons sparring partners, the Galway Warriors handed them their first defeat of the season, which was followed by a 63-0 demolition job by the Trojans. They did finish out the year strongly however, winning 2 of their last 3 games. Both victories came against the Donegal/Derry Vipers, including the 54-36 score-fest at Cill Dara, the highest scoring game in the entire IAFL this year.

team of the week
Eoin Whelan scored 10 TD’s for the Soldiers

The Soldiers finished (3-3) a good effort in a much improved division. They narrowly ousted rivals the Warriors in the race for second, due to Galway losing their last remaining game; they have the Vipers to thank for that! The highest scoring player for the Soldiers was QB Eoin Whelan, who threw for 6 passing touchdowns as well as rushing for 4 touchdowns this season. Wide Receiver Lee Moore also contributed to 3 receptions as the Soldiers rounded out their 6 games with 97 points for and 157 against, a good sign of progression.


The Trojans have a roster stacked in ability that has easily translated over to the IAFL-2. The rookies and second string players have made strong cases for first team selection as they swept aside every challenger they faced in the division. They went about their business in commanding fashion, showing complete dominance in every aspect of the game by winning each of their 6 games (including the Rhinos which was considered a forfeit) as they eclipsed an unbeaten regular season, similarly to their teammates in the SBC. They have accomplished what’s been asked of them, so lifting the IAFL-2 trophy would cap off a terrific season.

The seconds accumulated a staggering 315 pts, averaging a mind-blowing 52.5 points per game. They

Jonah 'Cheat-codes' Siri has proven himself to be a dangerous return threat. Photo by Paul Talbot Photography
Jonah ‘Cheat-codes’ Siri has proven himself to be a dangerous return threat. Photo by Paul Talbot Photography

only conceded 40 points over that span, with the Vipers scoring 20 of them. Quarterback, Kris Donaghy connected for 9 touchdowns whilst the quartet of Jonah Siri, Matt Armstrong, Peter Robert and Donaghy contributed to 25 rushing touchdowns between them. Tight-End Tom Montgomery also came in with 4 receiving scores. Arguably the most electrifying player in sports entertainment, (not the Rock this time!) was Jonah Siri, who scored 5 special teams TD’s and proved seemingly untouchable.

The Belfast Trojans ‘B’ team will hoping to add to the clubs honours, by adding their first IAFL-2 title to the growing trophy collection. A win would also bring great momentum heading into the National Championship game on August 9th. The South Kildare Soldiers, a much rejuvenated side from last season will no doubt have the odd’s stacked against them but football can be very unpredictable, particularly in a final, so don’t expect them to bow down to their fierce enemies this Sunday. Anything is possible!

Coming up: IAFL-1 Preview – Waterford Wolves @ Cork Admirals.

NFL Cheat Sheet : Cowboys

Cowboys

Lots going on in the off season, not reading the MMQB every week? The NFL Cheat Sheet has you covered! Less than 500 words everything you need to know about the Off-Season

DALLAS COWBOYS

No major changes for the coaching staff in Dallas. O-line coach Bill Callaghan moved on to Washington, with Frank Pollack moving up to the main gig from his assistant spot. Interesting fact: if Jason Garrett makes it through the regular season, he’ll be the second longest tenured coach in Cowboys history…


PLAYERS OUT

  • Bruce Carter ILB          Free agent move to Tampa Bay
  • Justin Durant OLB        Free agent move to Atlanta
  • Dwayne Harris WR     Free agent move to New York Giants
  • Henry Melton DT           Free agent move to Tampa Bay
  • Jeremy Parnell RT           Free agent move to Jacksonville
  • George Selvie DE           Free agent move to New York Giants
  • Anthony Spencer            Free agent move to New Orleans
  • Sterling Moore CB           Free agent move to Tampa Bay
  • DeMarco Murray         DUBIOUS free agent move to Philadelphia

PLAYERS IN

  • Keith Rivers
  • Jasper Brinkley Backup linebackers/special teamers
  • Andrew Gachker
  • Greg Hardy Premier pass rusher, huge free agent signing, banned 4 games
  • Darren McFadden Rejuvenation project running back – former first rounder
  • Corey White Nickel Corner/safety from historically bad pass D in New Orleans
  • Efe Obada DE plucked from London O’s. Hope for all IAFL players yet!

DRAFT

  • Byron Jones – Athletic freak. Corner from UConn will also get time at safety. Has the length to succeed in the modern day NFL.
  • Randy Gregory – off-field issues saw him fall out of first to the bottom of the second round. Potential steal of the draft as he works alongside Greg Hardy and d-line guru Rod Marinelli.
  • Damien Wilson – athletic linebacker from Wisconsin could compete for starting SAM linebacker job.
  • Chaz Green – swing tackle from Florida could miss the start of camp with injury. Replaces Jeremey Parnell as backup tackle.

Overall

The Cowboys look well set to make another run at the NFC title. Franchise tag deadline day saw Dez Bryant finally sign his long term contract, solidifying his spot as possibly the best wideout playing the game.

Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory are huge additions to the defensive line, while Byron Jones has all the attributes to be a big player in the secondary. Given that the Cowboys season was ended by their inability to stop a gimpy Aaron Rodgers escaping the pocket in the frigid Green Bay air, they have addressed their issues well. DeMarco Murray’s loss could be big, but McFadden’s addition alongside Joseph Randle could well make up for it in a committee situation.

Lions RB Joique Bell & NFL Jerseys available in Ireland

NFL Jerseys

In 2013 the Detroit Lions signed Reggie Bush from the Miami Dolphins. Bush, a 7 year veteran still running with the explosion and cut back ability he’d shown from his time at USC and in the NFL with the Saints and Dolphins, was slated to be the feature back in Jim Schwartz 2013 Lions team. A player that could catch passes and run between the tackles. A former #2 overall pick in the 2006 draft who would give the Lions running game some credibility and force some attention away from Calvin Johnson.

Bush’s backfield team mate, Joique Bell had gone undrafted out of Wayne State University (a Div 2 school) and bounced around 5 teams practice squads in his rookie year. Finally catching on with the Lions in 2012, whom he’d spent time working as a security guard for while in College. Bush was supposed to be the man in Detroit, a piece to push them to the NFC North title and beyond. Bell was to a be a power back alternative to Bush when the superstar needed relief. Facing into the 2015 season, Bush has now moved to another team in the process of a rebuild and Bell, with a new contract, is the man in Detroit.

Joique Bell meeting young fan Owen Murray (5) in Elverys Intersport Dundrum Shopping Centre
Joique Bell meeting young fan Owen Murray (5) in Elverys Intersport Dundrum Shopping Centre

Thursday week last, Bell was in Dublin to promote Elverys Sports launch of  NFL Jerseys and NFL Merchandise. Trips across the atlantic are becoming more frequent for NFL players and this stop off in Dublin shows that the NFL is paying attention to the potential for support (revenue) here! The Lions Back answered some questions from fans, signed autographs and afterwards sat down with a group of journalists and bloggers to talk about his career, his diet and….his hair!

He spoke about Reggie Bush, Bush was in New Orleans when Bell arrived in 2011, and spoke about his admiration for the veteran. Bush was the first one to come up and introduce himself to the young back and Joique relished the opportunity to repay the favour when Bush arrived in Detroit. We asked him, now with Bush gone, does he see himself as the leader of the group of running backs? “Definitely, I’m the old guy in the room” Bell is 28. “I’m that guy now, obviously the young guys look to me for leadership”

Being the “old guy” forces athletes to look to life after football and Bell was asked had he any plans in that regard. Being a guy who perhaps the NFL wasn’t guaranteed for, Bell finished college and got his degree before attempting to get picked up in the NFL. “Thats the good thing about me, I’ve got options. I’m going back to school to get my masters. I might sit down for a couple of years and just follow my sons high school career. I might go back into coaching but going back into coaching means a lot of man hours and I want to be able to spend time with my family when I’m done playing. I might go back to my sons high school and coach, watch my son play, watch him live his dream” Bells son is a running back, and he takes obvious pride in letting people know.

Bell spoke about how he and Reggie spilt the bill when they took their offensive line out for dinner in London during last years international series. “That was like a half years salary” The relationship between a back and the o-line is not lost on the humble Bell, who also brings breakfast for his o-line the Saturday before every home game.

Joique Bell (centre)  tries a bit of hurling encouraged by GAA stars Tomas 'Mossy'Quinn (left) and Jackie Tyrell in Elverys Intersport Dundrum Shopping Centre
Joique Bell (centre) tries a bit of hurling encouraged by GAA stars Tomas ‘Mossy’Quinn (left) and Jackie Tyrell in Elverys Intersport Dundrum Shopping Centre

The diet of professional athletes is always the subject of much wonder and Bell, perhaps being a guy who had to work that little bit harder to make it in the NFL spoke about the lengths he goes to to stay in top condition. “I have a lot of hair, I go to a place that makes customised vitamin pills, I cut off one go my locks and give it to them, they’ll analyse my hair and tell me the exact things that my diet is missing and they’ll customise vitamin packets that I should take daily” he didn’t stop there ” I do blood work. I take my blood send it to these scientists and they’ll tell me what food causes inflammation in my body. What foods I need to avoid, what foods I can eat. Everything down from meats, grain, all the way down to spices. I take all that into consideration, I pass it along to my chef and my nutritionist. They team up and make a meal plan for me. Thats the diet I keep myself strictly on”

Bell also spoke about the progress of Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota. You can listen to the whole Q&A session here.

Bell is a back just hitting the prime and we’ll get another opportunity to see him play in London this season as the Lions take on the Chiefs, in the pick of the 3 games in Wembley on the on November 1st.

The purpose of Joiques trip was to promote Nikes Launch of NFL Jerseys in Elverys in Dundrum Shopping Centre in Dublin. The Jerseys were on sale here for €85 and included, Matthew Stafford #9 Colin Kaepernick #7 Aaron Rodgers #12 & Tom Brady #12. The AFC was a little underrepresented with only the Patriots and the Dolphins Jerseys available but Ryan Tannehills #17 Home Aqua Green Jersey was available.

Worth a note that €85 is likely the cheapest you’ll pay for a jersey outside the US and without the shipping cost it is a bargain for NFL fans in Ireland. What is even better, is if you are a 3 mobile phone customer (or you know one) Their Discount App the 3+ app available on iOS & Android includes a discount of 20% in Elverys making the Jerseys only €68 really making them the cheapest genuine Nike jerseys available anywhere!

NFL Cheat Sheet : Bears

Lots going on in the off season, not reading the MMQB every week? The NFL Cheat Sheet has you covered! Less than 500 words everything you need to know about the Off-Season

Chicago Bears

John Fox  in as HC is good news for the Bears. Fox will turn around this ailing defence and back to the fearsome unit it has been. Adam Gase in as offensive co-ordinator. The Bears are getting root and branch overhaul and Gase was in Denver with Fox. Vic Fangio is the new DC and to execute Fox’s plan. Things are looking good off the field for the Bears.


Players out

  • DJ Williams  lost to free agency, hasn’t been picked up elsewhere
  • Lance Briggs went in free agency and is still available
  • Charles Tillman is gone to the Panthers
  • Roberto Garza was released in April and given the Bears line play, it’s unsurprising, he’s still free.
  • Stephen Paea is gone to the Redskins
  • Darryl Sharpton now a Cardinal
  • Brandon Marshall at the Jets

Players In

  • Sam Acho, outside LB from the Cardinals…meh.
  • Antrel Rolle, Safety, didn’t have the best year of his career in New York last year, but who did?
  • Pernell McPhee, pass rusher from Baltimore.
  • Bear Pascoe, another iffy year at the Giants but things are rotten in New York and that’s not all down to the players
  • Will Montgomery, an upgrade on Garza and experience with this coaching staff….and Cheap too!
  • Mason Foster will add depths, not a starter, hopefully.
  • Eddie Royal a nice pick up from San Diego. Losing Marshall they need to replace that production.
  • Alan Ball injured most of last season but Darrelle Revis this is not

Draft

  • Kevin White, WR….please be better than Marshall…the official text of the phone conversation on Draft night.
  • Eddie Goldman  a big, fast moving, high motor DT. Will make a difference in Run Defence right away, may take time to refine the pass rush.
  • Hroniss Grasu snapping to Mariota and anchoring the Ducks zone run game. A bit tall and a bit light make leveraging those big Nose tackles tough for him but Montgomery likely to start and he’ll get time.

Overall

The Bears offseason story is all about the Coaching Staff additions, minor personnel moves shed some dead weight (Garza) and add some useful talent (White). John Fox was tremendously successful at the Broncos and likely was fired in advance of the rebuild that is soon to follow after Peyton Manning retires. The new OC and DC were tipped as head coach candidates elsewhere so this is a strong group off the field there is only one but…..Jay Cutler!

 

NFL Cheat Sheet: Browns

Don’t want to do the research? The NFL Cheat Sheet has you covered! Less than 500 words everything you need to know about the Off-Season

Cleveland Browns

Kyle Shanahan as with most of his offensive staff is gone. John DeFilippo is the new OC and he’s brought with him the best Wide Receivers Coach we’ve ever heard of, not because of his coaching but his name, Joker Philips. 


Players out

  • Brian Hoyer is gone to the Texans.
  • Jim Leonard retired.
  • Miles Austin is gone to the Eagles
  • Jordan Cameron is gone to the Dolphins (pause for crying from Browns fans)
  • Ahtyba Rubin is gone to Seattle
  • Jabaal Sheard now a Patriot
  • Buster Skrine at the Jets

Thats 5 starters if you’re counting!


Players In

  • Josh McCown, Yay!!
  • Brian Hartline, serviceable receiver WR from the Dolphins.
  • Dwayne Bowe, sounds better than it is, Zero TDs in 2014.
  • Tramon Williams, CB Packers couldn’t pay everyone.
  • Randy Starks, is in from the Dolphins, can play either Tackle spot and will add some teeth to the pass rush
  • Andy Lee if you’re going to trade for a punter, might as well be one of the best out there!

Draft

  • Danny Shelton, DT in the first round is an effort to fix their leaky run defence. Starks mentioned above is questionable in that department so Shelton will be called on to perform.
  • Cameron Erving  late in the first round is insurance if Alex Mack goes elsewhere at the end of this deal and a solid addition along the line regardless. The Browns need to improve their run game and a few of their linemen need to step up or be put on a bus. Erving will push those guys on borrowed time.
  • Nate Orchard will help the pass rush and fits the Mike Pettine mould. Good pick for a team adding guys that will make a contribution.
  • Xavier Cooper another pick to shore up the defensive line in the 3rd round. Cooper is raw but is an athletic freak and will develop given time.

Overall

If the Browns new offence can get the best out of McCown and develop Manziel, they should be in a position to compete in the AFC North. There is still glaring deficiencies on this squad, (Wide Receiver, Quarterback) but they are elite in places (Corner Back) They have taken steps to develop the hard nose AFC North defence of their rivals and the Browns are clawing their way out of punchline status in the NFL.

 

NFL Cheat Sheet: Buccaneers

The NFL season is little over 6 weeks away and over the next few weeks we’re going to go over all that has been going on with the NFL’s 32 teams this off season. We’ll bring you up to speed in easy to read bite sized chunks and without further adieu…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dirk Koetter in as Offensive Co-Ordinator. After Jeff Tedford had heart surgery in pre-season last year the Bucs were realistically without an OC all of last year….well 2-14 is what happened.


Players out

  • Big money OT Anthony Collins was cut after signing a $30m 5 year deal and offering about as much protection as paper mache. Collins is still a free agent.
  • Dashon Goldosn was traded to Washington
  • Josh McCown was cut and picked up the Browns
  • Adrian Clayborne and DeQuan Bowers, both heralded as the core of the Bucs defensive line for the next decade both had contacts expire and they’ve moved on.

Players In

  • George Johnson, DE acquired in Trade from Detroit.
  • Chris Conte, S washed out in Chicago will likely serve as a backup.
  • Henry Melton, DT perhaps past his best but the kind of reliability needed on a team rebuilding. Will give McCoy a break.
  • Bruce Carter, ILB Rolondo McClain made Carter surplus to requirements in Dallas. Solid player.
  • Sterling Moore, more defenders from Dallas. Will add competition to the Nickel Corner spot.

Draft

  • Jamis Winston, Andrew Luck this pick is not but Winston has undoubtable quality and if the Bucs can use their depth a running back to help him out he has the potential to be one of the better QB’s to come out in the last few years.
    Next two picks went on offensive linemen, Donovan Smith & Ali Marpet will both be day 1 starters which might bring it’s own issues but there is quality there.
  • Kwon Alexander in the 4th round is a rare defensive pick for the Bucs but he has the potential to be a very fine NFL inside linebacker, but don’t they all.
    Late round picks were spent on some offensive skill guys who will add depth.

Overall

Getting help to their young QB will be the biggest challenge for the Bucs. Fail and you’ve got Geno 2.0 succeed and you might have Andrew Luck (well about 85% of him) The Bucs aren’t going to the Super Bowl nor will they win the division but progress can be made if they are smart about it!

Semi Final Shamrock Bowl Live Stream

See Below for our twitter feed of the games!