Tennessee Titans OT works on an exclusive Bespoke Suit Deal with Steven Richards of Richards Bespoke in Nashville, TN.
For months, local football fans have known that Orlando would host a team in the new Alliance of American Football, that it’d play at UCF’s Spectrum Stadium, and that former Gator All-American and national champion Steve Spurrier would come out of retirement to coach the team because, in his words, “I needed a challenge.”
This week, the league release names for four of the franchise, including Orlando.
Welcome the Orlando Apollos!
The league released a video to welcome the team in.
“God of the sun, conquerer of the moon. One name has struck fear into opponents’ hearts for thousands of years. In a city loike this, we are all gods of the sun ... we are all Apollos,” an imposing voice in the video said.
The league also released the names of the Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron and Memphis Express. Names for teams in Arizona, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Diego are forthcoming. The league’s 10-week season is set to begin on Feb. 9, 2019.
Among the players already announced to be trying out for spots with the Apollos are UCF alums Jeff Godfrey, Rannell Hall, Tony Guerad, Chris Martin, Jordan McCray and Storm Johnson, former Florida Gators Frankie Hammond, Mill Herndon, Will Hill, Earl Okine, Leon Orr, Ronald Powell and Hurricanes Tyriq McCord, Joe Yearby and Stephen Morris.
In the NFL, the quarterback position is king with nearly no exceptions. The Seattle Seahawks found that out the hard way over the weekend where their rookie quarterback was concerned. If you were paying close attention to the practice squad chatter, as the team tried to whittle countless names down to just 10 players to keep around, you might have noticed that Seahawks quarterback Alex McGough wasn't among the original four players to sign back on Sunday.
Any number of reasons could have caused that. The Seahawks went after some players they were less sure about first (unlikely). McGough tried to sniff around for other backup quarterback jobs or even may have been looking at other practice squad opportunities with different organizations following the team acquiring Brett Hundley last week. Although Hundley is a free agent at the end of the year; the team could re-sign him and provide McGough with more competition. Perhaps, he wanted to look for a clearer path elsewhere. That scenario feels unlikely too. Any team that would have wanted him could have claimed him off waivers. As for looking at other practice squads, most players feel a certain loyalty to the team's that drafted them. McGough was the team's seventh-round pick in 2018.
The likeliest scenario would be that his agent was negotiating a better deal for his client, even with being on the practice squad. The minimum amount a team can pay their practice squad player is $7,600 per week totaling up to $120,000 for the regular season. As a quarterback, McGough probably wanted much more than that especially after he showed he had real potential during his preseason stint. He wasn't perfect by any means but he showed flashes of brilliance. Perhaps, his most brilliant play didn't even count. A 54-yard touchdown strike to Malik Turner (eventually overturned after review) while McGough was on the run moving right showed all the potential you could want in a backup option.
And so the Seahawks paid the price for that.
According to NFL reporter Eric Edholm, the Seahawks are paying McGough his full base salary for the 2018 season despite him being on practice squad. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero clarified that amounts to $28,235 per week totaling up to $451,760 for the entire season. That amount is quite a bit more than the average practice squad player. It was the third highest amount of any of the practice squad salaries that Pelissero listed. Coincidentally, two non-quarterback New York Jets topped him. Defensive end Bronson Kaufusi will make $32,647 per week and running back D'Angelo Henderson will make $30,000 per week.
Maybe quarterback isn't quite king on the practice squad after all. But as far as the Seahawks are concerned it very much is. It took a pretty hefty penny comparatively to return McGough to their team following his Saturday release and as expected, he took full advantage of the leverage he had, as a promising talent the team would like to keep behind star quarterback Russell Wilson and Hundley.
It all comes down to the ABC's. Always Be Closing. McGough closed the preseason strong and closed on adding to his back account even stronger. Well played.
Saints’ Natrell Jamerson draws favorable comparison to Dennis Allen’s first draft pick as a head coach
After visibly improving as a cornerback during his time in training camp, Natrell Jamerson has recently attracted the attention and praise of both Sean Payton and Aaron Glenn, putting the Saints’ 2018 5th round pick squarely on the radar of the media.
While you will likely read multiple articles about Jamerson in the coming days, none of them will make the correlation between he and former 12th overall pick D.J. Hayden.
My colleague and partner in crime Deuce Windham once told me that coordinators have a legitimate hand in the scouting process as it pertains to what talents fit their scheme, and the selection of Jamerson has Dennis Allen’s signature all over it.
The Saints’ 3rd year defensive coordinator likes to have matchup CBs on the roster. Marshon Lattimore playing the right or weak side CB is capable of banishing a team’s No. 2 WR to the shadow realms, allowing the flexibility to shade your safety to the left or strong side where most team’s No. 1 WRs line up. Lattimore is also the best candidate on the roster to handle the bigger receivers like Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Devin Funchess that have taken up residence in the NFC South.
What the secondary is currently lacking, however, is a smaller/quicker DB with the ability to match up with shiftier receivers like D.J. Moore, DeSean Jackson, and Calvin Ridley that can play on the boundary as well as move inside to the slot.
The Saints’ current solution to this problem is having a pure boundary corner in Ken Crawleypaired with a pure slot corner in Patrick Robinson, but if you could create a Frankenstein DB and combine the two, you would get a player in the mold of Broncos corner Chris Harris - A defender capable of being deployed on the outside in base packages and then kicking inside to cover the slot on passing downs.
Insert Natrell Jamerson.
There were a ton of questions when it was made known that Jamerson would first be looked at as a cornerback after entering the draft as a safety. Upon further inspection, you’ll see that he’s got a lot in common with Hayden in what he offers athletically and as far as traits.
The similarities start with both DBs sharing a 4.40 forty, 10 foot broad jump, and 5’11” height. Both also came out of college with above average tackling ability, Jamerson’s more or less developed from his time playing safety.
The proverbial buck stops there however, as Jamerson begins to separate himself like Michael Thomas on a slant route.
He proves to be a tick faster over the first 10-20 yards, and I’d like to think this speaks to his slightly better vertical jump as he best Hayden in that category (33.5” vs 35.5”). This is important because post draft analyst have mentioned that Hayden’s lack of explosiveness limits his ability to “click and close” on the ball making him appear a step late at times.
Jamerson also has a leg up on Hayden as it pertains to weight, checking in at a solid 201-lbs versus 191-lbs for Hayden. Combined with his 25 reps on the bench, it suggests he should (A) be apt to stay healthier in his career and (B) end up less likely to get bullied in press coverage and at the catch point by bigger receivers.
In other words, the rookie appears to be the 2.0 version of Hayden that only went unnoticed until the 5th round because of a position switch he took on for the better of the team.
Dare I say, plus intangibles?
The most amazing thing about this is the Saints were able to get a Hayden level talent in the 5th round while it cost Allen and the Raiders a 1st round selection. Jamerson not only benefits from not having the weight of being a high selection on his shoulders but he also gets the time necessary to develop due to Crawley and Robinson being established starters in front of him.
It’s still early in his development, but the Saints defense under Allen may have found another diamond in the rough to add to an already potent secondary.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) passes as offensive tackle Brad Seaton (60) blocks Tennessee Titans linebacker Harold Landry (58) in the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP P
While most of the attention has been on the Seahawks wide receivers and running backs, the competition to backup Russell Wilson at the quarterback spot has been an intriguing battle.
Both Austin Davis and Alex McGough have had their ups and downs in this competition. However, Seattle’s preseason loss to the Los Angeles Chargers was definitely a win for McGough, who took a huge step forward in cementing himself as Wilson’s backup QB in 2018.
McGough completed 9-of-12 passes for 97 yards and one touchdown. He earned an overall grade of 72.5 from Pro Football Focus. He was even better with a clean pocket, completing 7-9 passes with a 143.5 passer rating.
On his touchdown drive, McGough completed all six passing attempts while marching the team 70 yards for the score. His touchdown as a 12-yard strike to Malik Turner.
Meanwhile, Davis only threw three passes, completing one for six yards. He saw the field quite a bit more in Seattle’s first preseason game, but a costly interception in the red zone dampened his otherwise solid performance.
Head coach Pete Carroll has not given any strong indication which quarterback will remain on the 53-man roster after cuts. However, McGough was the first quarterback Seattle has drafted since Wilson in 2012, likely giving him an edge on the job.
Brad SeatonBrad Seaton may have been the star of the first preseason game. He climbed from the bottom of the tackle depth chart to a starter with the help of a ton of injuries.
Seaton entered the game with no expectations, but he quietly gelled with the starters. As an offensive lineman, sometimes when there’s no mention of your name, it means you had a good day.
On short notice, Seaton held his own against the Miami starters. While Demar Dotsonworks his way back and other linemen sit out practice, Seaton can continue to rise through the ranks.
Natrell Jamerson is hoping to justify the New Orleans Saints’ investment of a fifth round draft selection this year, and so far the former Wisconsin defensive back has been on the right side of the team’s evaluation.
Especially the one being made by defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn, who after the Saints’ practice on Monday had a brief but revealing comment on how well the rookie has been playing so far this summer.
“Look out for him,” Glenn said, unprompted. “Watch out for Jamerson.”
The Saints’ coaches have been watching the rookie in this summer’s training camp practice sessions, and so far they like what they see. Jamerson came into the league with a reputation for straight line speed to match receivers downfield, sticky coverage abilities, and a knack for lateral motion that helps him stay step for step with pass catchers.
Coaches have also seen a marked improvement from the player from the spring to the summer. In Sunday’s one on one drills, for instance, Jamerson pulled down a one handed interception in coverage against veteran wide receiver Michael Floyd. After that, the rookie broke up a pass attempt in the red area on a play meant for fellow rookie Tre’Quan Smith. On the whole, Saints passers are finding that Jamerson is giving them some good tests of accuracy when throwing near him.
Jamerson has also been getting some opportunities with the special teams unit as a return option, in a competition that head coach Sean Payton has compared to The Bachelor.
All this improvement comes at an opportune time. Reserve cornerback P.J. Williams is dealing with a minor ailment sustained in the Saints’ preseason opener against Jacksonville, and the team recently parted with De’Vante Harris. Jamerson should use this window to make a further impression on coaches as he contends for a roster spot.
“It’s just getting the little things down,” he said. “I know what to do. The coaches know I know what to do. It’s just making that next step into just making plays and finishing and doing the little things right.”
Over four years at Wisconsin, Jamerson, a former three star recruit according to the 247Sports Composite, started out as a wide receiver before turning to the cornerback position and then finally finishing up as a safety with the Badgers.
In that time, he had 88 combined tackles, five for a loss, two picks, and 14 pass breakups.
What’s the biggest adjustment for Jamerson as he goes from amateur to professional?
“Competition,” he said. “That’s the main thing. Coming out here every day, everybody wants to eat. You just got to make sure you want to eat more than the next person in front of you. So just come out and compete every day, every practice, and take steps every practice.”
The Titans have to get more consistent offensive line play this season. Protecting Marcus Mariota is essential, but a new offensive scheme that’ll require more pulling from guards on outside runs and screens only enhances the vitality of the interior offensive line.
Spain is the incumbent starter, but Pamphile has been earning first-team snaps in practice. It stands to reason that a strong performance from Pamphile combined with a poor one by Spain could move the newcomer into the starting unit. It’ll be tough to focus on offensive line play with so many other factors to watch on offense, but left guard will be a compelling story line all preseason.
Over the first 24 hours of their training camp, the Steelers swapped out one rookie defensive back from Villanova for another. They cut the only player who failed their conditioning run, too.
The Steelers on Thursday signed Malik Reaves, a 6-0, 200-pound player whom the Steelers list as a cornerback but whom other outlets have projected as either a corner or safety.
Wednesday, the Steelers waived/injured Trey Johnson, who was Reaves’ teammate in the Villanova secondary but showed up to camp with a shoulder injury. Reaves spent about six weeks with the Kansas City Chiefs this spring after signing as an undrafted free agent.
His official NFL.com draft profile lists size, awareness and toughness as Reaves’ strengths but questions his athleticism.
Journeyman Bryce Harris was released with the designation of non-football illness on Thursday, a day after he did not complete the camp-opening conditioning run .
The first practice of 2018 training camp was scheduled to begin 2:55 p.m. Thursday.