The NFL QB Carousel: Breaking Down What Every Team Will Do At QB

Cam Newton of the New England Patriots

Round and round here we go, where it stops, nobody knows! The NFL QB Carousel is in full swing as free agency starts next week.

Teams need a good quarterback to compete for a Super Bowl. Correction, teams need the right quarterback to compete for a Super Bowl. For those saying “No shit, Sherlock,” you’d be surprised with how many teams don’t understand this concept!

It’s not hyperbole to say this has been a wild few months at the quarterback position. It almost resembless an NBA offseason with all of the trades. Matt Stafford is now a Ram, Jared Goff is a Lion, and Carson Wentz is a Colt.

Between free agency and the draft, more teams are going to address the quarterback position. Here are my QB projections for every team.

  • Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes
  • Tampa Bay Bucs – Tom Brady
  • Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen
  • Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers
  • Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert
  • Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow
  • Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield
  • Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson
  • Tennessee Titans – Ryan Tannehill
  • Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Muray
  • Minnesota Vikings – Kirk Cousins
  • Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence*

*I’m putting the Jags on this list because there is a 99.9% chance they take Trevor Lawrence.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers – Benjamin Roethlisberger
  • New York Giants – Daniel Jones
  • Las Vegas Raiders – Derek Carr
  • Los Angeles Rams – Matthew Stafford
  • Detroit Lions – Jared Goff
  • New England Patriots – Cam Newton
  • Indianapolis Colts – Carson Wentz
  • Dallas Cowboys – Dak Prescott

That leaves us with 12 teams who must decide on QB for the upcoming season. Some of these teams will take care of their needs in the draft. Others will try to make a blockbuster trade in hopes of changing their franchise. The biggest wildcard is Deshaun Watson and the Texans. There is no chance he’s the starting QB for the Texans on opening day. If that’s the case, where will he end up?

Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan is still good enough to start in the NFL. He’s your classic fantasy QB who gets you 300 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs. The Falcons are in salary hell because Ryan and Jones combine for over $63m of their cap. Will they try to move Ryan? I doubt it. As I said, he’s still capable of leading a team to the playoffs. However, they may draft Ryan’s successor with the fourth pick in the draft.

New Orleans Saints – Jameis Winston / Taysom Hill

My wish was finally granted. Jameis Winston upgraded his eyesight!

This all comes down to Drew Brees. After losing to the Bucs, it appeared as if Brees played his last game for the Saints. However, Brees is now working out like a guy who wants to play again. There’s a difference between doing some mobility stretches in the morning and pushing sleds up the street. Does he want to make a comeback? My gut tells me Brees retires, which means the Saints should sign Jameis and keep Taysom Hill as the backup.

Chicago Bears – Alex Smith

The Bears are screwed if they don’t acquire Watson, Russell Wilson, or one of the top QBs out of college. Seriously, what can they do if all else fails? I love Mitch Trubisky (the person) and I actually believe he’s a competent QB. However, he’s not a franchise-changing player. Nick Foles is an expensive backup QB, not a starter. If they can’t trade for Wilson or Watson, I would sign Alex Smith and Trubisky to one-year deals. Then, fire Ryan Pace and (possibly) Matt Nagy and draft a QB next year.

Washington Football Team – Ryan Fitzpatrick

Once again, we’ll see if the WFT can draft a top QB or trade for Watson. However, Riverboat Ron Rivera and Ryan Fitzpatrick were made for each other. Fitzy would love to sling it to Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas. This seems like a perfect fit.

Philadelphia Eagles – Jalen Hurts

History tends to repeat itself. Will the Eagles draft another quarterback to compete with their starter? It didn’t work well for Wentz, let me tell ya that! The Eagles need to rebuild. Draft weapons, take care of the offensive line, and see if Jalen Hurts is “the guy.”

Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson

Hahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Imagine having a top-five QB and trading him away because you couldn’t take care of him? Couldn’t be my team! In all seriousness, the Hawks should jump in the Pacific Ocean and never come back if they trade Russell Wilson.

San Franciso 49ers – Sam Darnold

I’ve never wavered from this prediction. If the Jets trade Sam Darnold, it will be to the San Francisco 49ers. Sorry Jimmy G, but your health is an issue. If you can’t stay on the field, then you can’t be a franchise QB. Those are the rules. Kyle Shanahan is going to unlock Darnold and remind us all why we loved the SoCal QB out of USC.

Carolina Panthers – Teddy Bridgewater/Trey Lance

It’s no surprise that the Panthers want to make a splash with a new owner who is not afraid to spend money. Teddy B is a serviceable QB, but the Panthers will be looking to upgrade. If they don’t get Watson, the draft is where they’ll make their mark and take a guy like Trey Lance.

New York Jets – Zach Wilson

The Mormon Manziel is coming to New York City if and only if Watson gets traded elsewhere. Zach Wilson’s stock is soaring as he continues to garner comparisons to Aaron Rodgers. Pair him with some WRs and another tackle and the Jets will be much improved in 2021.

Miami Dolphins – Deshaun Watson

Miami, this is the move to make. You have the ammo to make the move with the first-round picks. You have the QB to send back to Houston in Tua Tagovailoa. With Flores as the foreseeable coach in the future, Watson would be happy as a member of the Dolphins organization for the next decade.

Houston Texans – Tua Tagovailoa

See above. This is not personal, Tua. It’s just business. I like Tua, but Watson is the superior talent right now.

Denver Broncos – Drew Lock/Justin Fields

Drew Locks has shown flashes of potential, but he’s not the guy. It’s time to go back to the drawing board. Denver will most likely trade up in the draft to take a QB like Justin Fields. Let Fields compete with Lock and hopefully (for John Elway’s sake), Fields comes out on top.

What should your team do at QB? Let me know in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Tom Brady: The Ultimate Villain Turned Babyface

Tom Brady

I have a confession to make. I like Tom Brady.

10 years ago, I would have punched myself in the face for making a statement like that. Even two years ago, I would never admit my admiration for the seven-time Super Bowl champion

As a Giants fan, I’m arguably one of two fanbases (the other being the Eagles) that have no reason to hate Brady for his success on the field. The Giants defeated Brady twice on the biggest stage. Big Blue stopped Brady and the 2007 Patriots from immortality, ruining the undefeated season. You’re welcome, Miami Dolphins.

I hated Brady not for his play, but for the uniform he wore. The New England Patriots were the bad guys of the 2000s. The Patriots were the Galactic Empire, Bill Belichick was Darth Vader, and Gillette Stadium was the Death Star. From all the “gate” scandals to cheating implications, New England kept winning. To make matters worse, Patriots’ fans became insufferable. How many times did I have to hear “Our season starts in the AFC Championship” from New England fans? As much as I hated them, the fans were right.

I may have disliked Brady, but I always respected TB12. He is the GOAT. That was never up for debate. The stats that support Brady’s GOAT case are unfathomable. Brady’s postseason numbers are “Gretzkyesque” and will take a monumental effort from a generational player to eclipse his stats.

As I watched Tom Brady hoist the Lombardi trophy for the seventh time, I said to myself, “This effing guy. Again?” The 43-year-old vet bested the 25-year-old phenom who wants to be the GOAT himself one day. It’s still possible Mahomes can become the GOAT, but the gap between Brady or Mahomes feels insurmountable.

Then, I watched the parade. Brady was laughing hard and partying harder. I couldn’t help but smile at all the videos of Brady celebrating on his boat.

He threw the Lomnbardi trophy to another boat in what could go down as the greatest pass of his career.

TB12 skipped the diet today and pounded a few too many drinks. It was the most relatable clip from Brady I’ve ever seen.

Over the past few years, Brady demonstrated his sense of humor with his social media posts after wins. From the TB Times to “W” videos, Brady knows how to assert himself as a winner. He’s also pretty funny and self-aware, evidenced by his avocado tequila tweet.

How can you watch those videos with a straight face? TB12 is turning babyface right before our eyes. For the non-wrestling fans, that means he’s becoming a likable good guy. Most football fans hated Brady in New England because he was the perfect villain. Society loves to root for stars, but it also enjoys watching the villain fall.

The more I laugh at Brady’s antics, the more I realize how much New England hindered his personality. Rob Gronkowski said he likes the “freedom of being yourself” in Tampa Bay, which was a clear shot at the disciplinarian system run by Belichick. That doesn’t make New England’s system wrong. The Patriots won six Super Bowls over the course of two decades. However, it’s tough to get a sense of a player’s true personality when Darth Vader is breathing down your neck.

It’s Brady’s world and we’re all living in it. Right now, I like what I see from the GOAT.

Do you like Tom Brady? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Super Bowl LV: The GOAT Debate Starts Or Ends Sunday Night

Tom Brady goat

What are the two worst words in sports? Answer: “GOAT Debate.” This time, the subjects are not Michael Jordan or LeBron James. The new GOAT debate between Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady will either start or end after Super Bowl LV.

Thanks to sports talk shows, the basketball GOAT debate has been shoved down our throats like Joey Chestnut’s hot dogs on July 4. Is Jordan better than LeBron? Is LeBron better than Jordan? Is six for six in the NBA Finals worth more than four wins in ten appearances? Jordan may have had the better peak, but LeBron has the longevity.

The only thing holding back the GOAT debate is time. MJ played in the 90s while LeBron played in the 2000s. The two icons never faced off in the NBA Finals, let alone a regular-season game. Had Jordan and LeBron played each other with the biggest prize on the line, the GOAT debate would cease to exist.

Unlike the NBA, the NFL’s quarterback GOAT debate will receive clarity on Sunday night when Mahomes and the Chiefs take on Brady and the Buccaneers.

Currently, Brady is the GOAT. Whether you believe that means he’s the greatest football player of all time or the greatest winner of all time is totally up to you. However, he’s the greatest quarterback to ever play in the NFL.

The numbers speak for themselves. 6x Super Bowl champion, 4x Super Bowl MVP, 3x NFL MVP, 2X Offensive Player of the year, and a partridge in a pear tree. The fact that 43-year-old Brady will be playing in his tenth Super Bowl on Sunday is mind-boggling.

There is only one current player who might be able to catch Brady’s stats and accomplishments. It just so happens that he’ll be on the other sideline Sunday night.

Many believe Mahomes is already the most gifted quarterback to ever play in the NFL. In just three seasons as a starter, Mahomes won a Super Bowl, a Super Bowl MVP, and an NFL MVP. Mahomes has only lost one playoff game in his career and that was to Brady’s Patriots. If Dee Ford doesn’t go offsides, he would be undefeated in the postseason. Keep in mind, Mahomes is only 25-years-old. With Andy Reid, Eric Bienemy, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill at his disposal, Mahomes and the Chiefs will be Super Bowl contenders for the next five years.

All of the pressure is on Mahomes. If he wants to be the GOAT, he will need to beat Brady on the biggest stage. He needs to avenge his loss in the AFC Championship and win his second Super Bowl. If Mahomes beats Brady, he’s not the GOAT, but he’s on the right trajectory.

For argument’s sake, let’s say the Chiefs win Sunday night, Mahomes wins MVP, and they win the championship the following year. That means Mahomes would be the catalyst for the first three-peat since the NFL merger. Plus, Mahomes would have the key victory over Brady in the Super Bowl. There would still be some work left to do, but you could make the argument that three straight Super Bowls including one over the GOAT rank higher than Brady’s six. I personally wouldn’t crown Mahomes the GOAT just yet, but if he were to win four to five championships including the important one over Brady, it would be difficult to not call Mahomes the GOAT.

On the flip side, if Brady beats Mahomes on Sunday, the GOAT debate ends right there. It would be dead on arrival. It would be seven to one in terms of championships. Brady would hold wins over Mahomes in the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl. No matter what Mahomes does the rest of his career, not beating Brady in the two biggest games of the season would a giant blunder on his resume. For Brady, a win on Sunday gives him an insurmountable lead over Mahomes.

Sports talk shows will run GOAT debates until the end of time. After Super Bowl LV, they will either intensify or disappear at the quarterback position.

Who will come out on top in Super Bowl LV? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Adam Gase And The New York Jets: The Hero Gotham Deserves And Needs

Adam Gase

In the iconic final scene from The Dark Knight, Jim Gordon explains to his son why Batman would take the fall for the death of Harvey Dent. Gordon said, “Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.” For the New York Jets, Adam Gase is not a watchful protector nor a silent guardian. Despite his incompetence, Gase is the hero Gotham deserves and needs right now.

https://youtu.be/f4BrAtOKO3M

Make no mistake about it, Gase is an awful coach. The greatest trick Gase ever pulled was convincing a front office of his offensive prowess. Gase had one great year as a coordinator back in 2013 when Peyton Manning set the record for most touchdowns in a season as a member of the Denver Broncos. One could argue that most coaches with a brain could succeed with a healthy Peyton Manning.

When Gase doesn’t have Manning, it’s been a train wreck. Despite making the playoffs as the head coach of Dolphins in 2016, Gase’s team was towards the bottom half in total offense. In five seasons as a head coach, Gase’s offense has never been higher than 25th in total yards per game. Players like Ryan Tannehill, Devante Parker, Kenyan Drake, and Mike Gesicki broke out and improved once they left Gase’s system. Yet somehow, Manning convinced the Jets to hire a guy who constantly fought with ownership in Miami.

To quote Joe Beningo, “Oh, the pain, bro!” Poor Jets fans. I always love to make fun of Jets fans because they’re delusional and seem to think their team will make the playoffs every year. However, I wouldn’t wish Gase upon my worst enemy. Take a wild guess as to which team is currently last in total yards, yards per game, passing yards per game, total points, and points per game?

At least the coaching staff likes each other… never mind.

Sam Darnold has been given the right weapons to succeed and progress as a quarterback, right? You’re telling me that Breshad Perriman, Braxton Berrios, Jeff Smith, and Vyncint Smith don’t strike fear into opposing defenses? Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims continue to battle injuries, Le’Veon Bell found a new team, and Robby Anderson looks like a stud. But who needs them?

In all seriousness, the Jets should be locked up for how they’ve treated Darnold. They’re killing the kid’s confidence every week. No quarterback could thrive with the Jets’ weapons. It’s an utter embarassment.

Jets fans, there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is going to be hard to understand, but in order to rise again, the Jets will need Gase to finish the season. The Jets need to hit rock bottom in order to get better and a season with zero to two wins will be as low as it can get. If the Jets finish the season with the worst record in the NFL, they’ll have an opportunity at the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. His name is Trevor Lawrence.

I don’t believe the “Trevor Lawrence is returning to school” takes just yet. The same thing happened with Sam Darnold. Lawrence is focused on winning a National Championship. He’s not going to talk about the draft right now. If he ends up winning the title, I guarantee he will enter the draft. He would have nothing left to prove. Is it possible that Lawrence could pull an Eli Manning? Sure, but it’s highly unlikely.

It probably makes sense to fire Gase after this week’s game against the Chiefs, where the Jets are 21 point underdogs, but the Jets should let Gase coach the rest of the year. The worst thing that could happen is for the team to rally around the interim coach and win a few meaningless games. Both the Texans and Falcons fired their head coaches after a combined 0-9 start. Since then, the two teams have combined for a 3-3 record. Don’t risk winning a few games to disrupt their draft position. Fire Gase the minute the season ends. Imagine a coach like Eric Bieniemy or Joe Brady paired with Lawrence next year. That sounds like a great rebuild to me.

Losing sucks, but it’s a necessary evil for the Jets. The only way to ensure losing continues is to let Gase coach the team. The next time Gase marks down his chart on the sideline instead of watching the game, just remember that he won’t be coaching the team next year. It will get better, eventually.

Not a good tweet by me, but at least I’ve learned my lesson.

Should the Jets fire Adam Gase before the season ends? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @danny_giro.

Undrafted College Football Players Should Be Allowed to Return to CFB

College football players undrafted Hunter Bryant Washington Hawaii

The 2020 NFL Draft was definitely one to remember. It was completely virtual due to the Coronavirus. Potential draft picks watched at home. They awaited a phone call informing them that they were selected by an NFL team. Elite players, like Joe Burrow and Chase Young, accomplished their goal of being a first-round NFL Draft pick. However, many NFL Draft hopefuls did not realize their dream of being selected in the NFL Draft. Unfortunately, for many of those players, their football career as players may be over. It is true that many of them will attempt to earn a spot on a team as an undrafted free agent. Entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent is not easy and will not happen for all of them. This realization is especially unfortunate for draftees who left college early to enter the NFL Draft.

Every year, some college football players decide to forego their remaining college eligibility to enter the NFL Draft. NFL rules require draft entrants to be out of high school for three years and to have used all of their college eligibility before the start of the next college football season. However, college players with remaining eligibility request league approval to enter the NFL Draft early. 99 players were granted special eligibility for the 2020 draft. This means that 99 players who had remaining college eligibility gave up their remaining eligibility for a shot at the NFL. Despite the fact that only 1.5 percent of college football players go pro, 99 players still thought it was best to enter the draft. Why do college football players make the decision to forego their remaining eligibility given the odds of making it to the NFL?

Reasons College Football Players Leave College Early to Enter the NFL Draft

There are many reasons college football players forego their remaining college eligibility to enter the NFL Draft. There are two reasons that stick out the most. One reason is due to the unrealistic sense that many college football players have about their prospects of being drafted. Many college football players prematurely forego their remaining college eligibility to enter the NFL Draft, even though they are not ready. Another reason college football players forego the remaining college eligibility because some from disadvantaged backgrounds and need to make money. College sports is a billion-dollar business but the players’ only compensation is a cost-of-attendance scholarship. While a scholarship is valuable that does not mean that players should be limited to only that.

Listen to the Best College Football Podcast

Anchor // Apple Podcasts // Spotify // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic  

College Football Players who Come From Disadvangeted Backgrounds Would Greatly Benefit from Getting into the NFL as Quickly as Possible

Roughly 86 percent of African-American college athletes come from families that live below the poverty line. Since the Coronavirus pandemic, the inequities that many college athletes face have become even more visible. For example, Sam Williams, a University of Mississippi linebacker, tweeted about the hardships he is facing since being unexpectedly home from school. Specifically, Williams tweeted:

We worked so hard to get out of the hood but forced to go back to the hood…Still gotta pay rent so all of our money gone and I can’t swipe my ID nowhere in Alabama. Then if we get help it’s a ‘violation’. I just don’t understand.”

Williams highlighted a problem that may college athletes are facing. A study conducted by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice prior to the pandemic highlights many of the issues that college athletes face. 452 Division I athletes were surveyed. 24 percent of them suffered from food insecurity in the 30 days prior. Food insecurity is defined by the United States Department of Agriculture as the lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. The survey sheds light on the issue of food scarcity amongst college athletes across all the divisions. Williams’ tweet and the survey’s findings further demonstrate the needs of many college athletes, particularly those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Everybody Gets Rich Except the Players

Furthermore, Williams’s tweet and the survey certainly make it clear why a college football player would leave college football eligibility on the table for a shot at the NFL. Due to the NCAA’s asinine amateurism rules, college football players are precluded from sharing in the billions they generate outside of a cost-of-attendance scholarship. While coaches, athletic directors, and other sports administration personnel make millions, the players are capped to a scholarship.

As Williams tweeted, college athletes cannot receive any assistance that is not first approved by the NCAA. If an athlete does, he will be subject to an NCAA violation, just ask Chase Young. Why would an athlete remain apart of a system that stops them from earning their true worth and risk injury, while everyone else makes millions?

The Good News is that the NCAA Can Fix Both of These Problems and Retain College Football Players

The NCAA can fix these problems and retain college football players if they would simply amend their rules. One way the NCAA can fix this problem is by allowing college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). After mounting pressure, the NCAA is finally on the track to allow that to happen. If the NCAA does this, it could take the pressure off of players to go pro to make money. Last month, the NCAA announced that they are moving toward allowing college athletes to profit from their NIL. However, only time will tell how much the NCAA will amend their current rules to actually help the athletes.

Currently, college football players cannot return to college football after they enter and go through the NFL Draft even if they have remaining eligibility. Why is this the case? How does this benefit the football players? How does it benefit college football? The truth is that these rules do not benefit the players nor college football. This is another way the NCAA can fix their problems. The NCAA should change its rules to allow players who are not drafted to return to college football. It is time for things in college football to change. Change is more than possible, just look at recent changes in college basketball.

Recent Changes in College Basketball

Sweeping changes have come to college basketball during the last four years. In 2017, a scandal was exposed in college basketball. Soon after, the NCAA amended college basketball rules. The NCAA began to allow NBA Draft entrants with remaining eligibility to return to college. Prior to entering the NBA draft, the player must seek an evaluation from the National Basketball Association’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee. If the player intends to return to college, he must remove his name from the draft list and declare his intent to return to college within 10 days of the conclusion of the NBA Draft combine. These types of rule changes are exactly what the NCAA should adopt in college football.

The NCAA Should Allow College Football NFL Draft Entrants to Return If Undrafted

Two former NFL Players who entered the league as undrafted free agents agree that college football players could benefit if the NCAA made changes to their rules. Patrick Cobbs entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent. He believes that college football players could benefit from being able to return to college after entering the NFL Draft. Cobbs, a running back, led the nation in rushing in 2003. As a junior, Cobbs was projected to be a second or third-round draft pick. He stated that if he had the option to try his chances at the NFL Draft and return to college if undrafted he would have taken advantage of it.

Greg Camarillo also entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent. He also believes that college football players could benefit from being allowed to return to college football after the NFL Draft. Both Cobbs and Camarillo believe that an advisory committee should be created for potential draft entrants. Camarillo stated that the committee should create a program to give the players a realistic sense of their chances in the draft. Potential draft entrants should be required to consult the committee before entering the draft.

Both Cobbs and Camarillo do not think that agents should be a part of the committee due to potential bias. They suggest that the committee be made up of former NFL scouts, former coaches, and former NFL and college players. Camarillo suggests that the advisory committee’s evaluations take place immediately after the college football post-season.

The NCAA Should Be Proactive in Making These Changes in College Football

If the NCAA adopted these changes it could greatly change the landscape of college football for the betterment of the players. A player should not be forced to forego his remaining college eligibility just because he entered the draft. The idea of college football players being able to return to college if undrafted is gaining traction amongst prominent college coaches. Recently, the University of Michigan coach, Jim Harbaugh, released a proposal in support of this issue. He suggested that undrafted players be allowed to return to college. The NCAA needs to take note and make changes before they are forced to like they were with basketball.

Pac-12 Football Review: USC NSD Fail, Donte Williams, NFL Combine Invites

Pac-12 Football Review: USC NSD Fail, Donte Williams, NFL Combine Invites

USC’s Poor National Signing Day Highlights it’s Pac-12 Football Recruiting

Last Wednesday, National Signing Day came and left. While there wasn’t much Pac-12 football activity, Colorado kept its guy. That is to say, Ashaad Clayton signed with Colorado.

And all Buffaloes sighed.

Certainly, the four-star running back out of New Orleans is a great addition. With that signing, Colorado made a big move. It showed its school is doing the work.

However, the program that needed to make the biggest leap failed miserably.

So many Pac-12 football programs brought it this offseason. Utah and Arizona State made huge strides. Meanwhile, USC fell. Firstly, USC boasts (if that word can be used) just 13 three-five star recruits for 2020.

  • Two four-star recruits
  • 11 three-star recruits

In short, their 2020 recruiting is dismal.

When compared to Pac-12 football programs, USC’s 2020 class ranks 10th. Just above Washington State and Arizona. Overall, USC’s distressing 2020 class is outside of the top-50 in college football. Their 55th-ranked class is completely pitiful. Especially considering their 2019 feats:

  • 8 wins, 5 losses
  • 32.5 points per game
  • Holiday Bowl berth
  • Breakout true-freshman Kedon Slovis

This was a huge alarm for the Trojans. But thankfully, USC stole Donte Williams away from Oregon.

Pac-12 Top-Recruiter Donte Williams Heads to USC

Unfortunately, cornerbacks coach Donte Williams’ move to USC was not because of football. As seen from his Tweet, it’s a move to his “father’s aging/failing health”. Family first. Respect.

Though is move to USC is family-driven, Williams is still a gift for their program. Prior to this news, USC recruiting was in free-fall. They were 10th in the Pac-12. Barely ahead of Washington State. That’s not acceptable for their program. So, they need to treat Williams as best as they can. During his short time with Oregon, he’s ranked:

  • 5th-best recruiter in Pac-12 in 2019 class
    • 62nd-best in nation
  • Best recruiter in Pac-12 in 2020 class
    • 7th-best in nation

Understanding that, this move is incredible for USC. They needed him bad. With his recruiting, he’ll become instrumental in their success. Certainly, Williams will be missed in Oregon. But for USC, he’s their savior.

 Anchor // Apple Podcasts // Spotify // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic  

2020 NFL Combine Pac-12 Football Participants

On Friday, the NFL released its full list of 2020 NFL Scouting Combine invites. Of the 337 prospects invited, here are the Pac-12 football players:

Arizona (1 invite)

  • J.J. Taylor, Running Back

Arizona State (4 invites)

  • Brandon Aiyuk, Wide Receiver
  • Eno Benjamin, Running Back
  • Cohl Cabral, Offensive Line
  • Michael Turk, Punter

Cal (3 invites)

  • Ashtyn Davis, Defensive Back
  • Jaylinn Hawkins, Defensive Back
  • Evan Weaver, Line Backer

Colorado (4 invites)

  • Tony Brown, Wide Receiver
  • Steven Montez, Quarterback
  • Laviska Shenault Jr., Wide Receiver
  • Davion Taylor, Line Backer

Oregon (7 invites)

  • Jacob Breeland, Tight End
  • Troy Dye, Line Backer
  • Jake Hanson, Offensive Line
  • Justin Herbert, Quarterback
  • Juwan Johnson, Wide Receiver
  • Shane Lemieux, Offensive Line
  • Calvin Throckmorton, Offensive Line

Oregon State (2 invites)

  • Isaiah Hodgins, Wide Receiver
  • Jake Luton, Quarterback

Stanford (2 invites)

  • Colby Parkinson, Tight End
  • Casey Toohill, Line Backer

UCLA (4 invites)

  • Devin Asiasi, Tight End
  • Darney Holmes, Defensive Back
  • Joshua Kelley, Running Back
  • JJ Molson, Kicker

USC (2 invites)

  • Austin Jackson, Offensive Line
  • Michael Pittman, Wide Receiver

Utah (9 invites)

  • Bradlee Anae, Defensive Line
  • Francis Bernard, Line Backer
  • Julian Blackmon, Defensive Back
  • Terrell Burgess, Defensive Back
  • Leki Fotu, Defensive Line
  • Javelin K. Guidry, Defensive Back
  • Jaylon Johnson, Defensive Back
  • Zack Moss, Running Back
  • John Penisini, Defensive Line

Washington (7 invites)

  • Trey Adams, Offensive Line
  • Salvon Ahmed, Running Back
  • Hunter Bryant, Tight End
  • Myles Bryant, Defensive Back
  • Jacob Eason, Quarterback
  • Aaron Fuller, Wide Receiver
  • Nick Harris, Offensive Line

Washington State (2 invites)

  • Anthony Gordon, Quarterback
  • Dezmon Patmon, Wide Receiver

Somehow, Utah leads the way in combine invites for Pac-12 football programs. As a result, their school gained instant respect. Their school-record nine combine invites is great for their program’s recruiting. But, it’s a tough task to replace.

“It is not hard to figure out why we were formidable on defense this past year and why we had statistically one of the best defenses we have ever had at Utah,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “It is going to be a big challenge replacing those guys.”

Deseret News

Apart from a lackluster finish, Utah played well in 2019. As a result, they nearly made the College Football Playoffs. Or, at least they were in the discussion. These nine combine invites were a large part of their winning. In other words, it’s a big loss to the program.

Nevertheless, Utah is upping their recruiting game by leading the Pac-12 in combine invites.

Colorado’s Mel Tucker Calms Anxious Fans

Last Tuesday, Mark Dantonio retired after 13 seasons as Michigan State’s head coach. It was reported that Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell and Colorado’s Mel Tucker were those interviewing.

Although it was Tucker’s first season ever as a head coach, no program wants to lose their H.C. Furthermore, no program wants to lose their coach after the coaching carousel already hired the most qualified candidates. Consequently, it’s not the best time to hire.

But, Tucker made sure to raise the spirits of the Colorado program, its players and its fans.

Arizona State Close to Adding Robert Rodriguez as D-Line Coach

Reportedly, the Arizona State Sundevils are reportedly close to signing Robert Rodriguez as defensive line coach. Because of Jamar Cain’s departure, Rodriguez is a big hire.

Rodriguez just completed his fifth year with the Vikings. During that time, he worked closely with Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson. They utilized aggressive schemes for playmakers Daniel Hunter and Everson Griffen. As a result of his NFL experience, Rodriguez is a sound hire. Above all, Rodriguez will be paid to bring defensive pressure.

Unfortunately, Cain left behind more than defensive coaching. Jamar Cain is considered one of the best recruiting coaches. Losing him hurt. But, Rodriguez coached for UTEP from 2008 to 2014. So, at least he does understand how collegiate coaching and recruiting works. Both as a player and a coach.

Aaron Hernandez Documentary: Has Weaknesses, But Spotlights Concerns

Aaron Hernandez

Criticisms of Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

Not Enough Focus

At times, the docu-series felt extremely sporadic. Yes, it was still compelling as they “uncovered” the secrets in Hernandez’ life. Nonetheless, each episode lacked focus. It bounced around too often and didn’t allocate time well. If “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” stuck to its focal points better in each installment, the documentary would improve.

Too Much Speculation and Not Enough Facts

Even though the documentary spanned 200 minutes, many aspects of “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” were shallow. It left viewers wanting more. Again, this was most likely due to the editing and story-line choices. With a better episode-by-episode focus, his story would unfold.

Additionally, Netflix’ access to speakers on the subject were likely very limited. This story involved high school, collegiate and professional football suspicions. Those are accusations against the giants of sports. Because of football’s power, it’s probable that many remained silent. With an underrepresented sources, the story can’t be completely told. For that reason, the docu-series hurt.

Dennis Sansoucie “Star Quarterback”

Speaking of sources, Dennis Sansoucie earned heavy criticism. He’s been called a liar, fake, greedy or just another looking for the spotlight. Coming from Dennis Sansoucie himself, Aaron Hernandez and him were both friends and young lovers. At one point, Sansoucie delcared that he and Hernandez were the two best players on the field. Quarterback and tight end. That point received the most condemnation.

Dennis Sansoucie’s Actual Stats

In his four years of high school, Sansoucie only managed four starts at quarterback. But, each of those starts came at the start of the 2005 season. He was their starting quarterback for four games. In those, he threw 11 touchdowns, nine of which went to Aaron Hernandez. On his short resume, Sansoucie also posted one start with nearly 300 yards (297) and five touchdowns.

Sep. 16, 2005New Britain Golden HurricanesL 23-53   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
8-221702-031052
Sep. 23, 2005Bloomfield WarhawksW 28-7   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
7-171012-14892
Sep. 30, 2005South Windor BobcatsW 9-12   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
13-182975-171643
Oct. 7th, 2005Hartford Public OwlsL 13-39   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
10-252052-061662
Oct. 16th, 2005Maloney SpartansW 40-13   
Sansoucie CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INTHernandez ReceptionsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
N/AN/AN/A92583
Matt Coyne CompletionsPassing YardsTD-INT   
14-243755-0  

Moreover, additional speculation came out surrounding Sansoucie’s junior season.

This would explain why Dennis Sansoucie felt that he was a star of the team, yet lacked a full season as quarterback. Whether or not this story is true, it gives light into Sansoucie’s reasoning. There are certainly many adults that look back into their high school days with glory. If Sansoucie lost his starting job because of an off-field issue, he would still think of himself as the star.

Strengths of Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

After its January 15th release, “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” immediately gained popularity and intrigue. The three-part Netflix true crime documentary explores court cases and circumstances that could lead to those.

Overall, it was well received. “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” boasts:

You Can’t Turn it Off

On first watch, “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” is highly entertaining. It’s certainly binge-worthy and captures your attention immediately. We all want to know the whole story. Aaron Hernandez’ psyche is a an enthralling reason. There’s no watching just one episode. Instead, it compels every viewer to watch all three episodes in a row. For that, the Netflix documentary succeeds.

Access to Prison Phone Calls

Without a doubt, the highlight of “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” is hearing the phone calls from prison. Those phone calls give us a greater insight into Hernandez’ character. They’re personal, private, unfiltered. Viewers hear him talk to his fiance, daughter, mother, agent. It added a layer of realism to the story.

Most Importantly, Aaron Hernandez’ Story Raises Questions and Concerns

Homophobia in Football Culture

In the series, Dennis Sansoucie and Ryan O’Callaghan both discussed the plight of growing up as closeted gay men. Sansoucie talked about his and Hernandez’ fathers as men that would beat the gay out of a kid. And although the documentary speculated that Aaron Hernandez was “gay” instead of acknowledging other sexual orientations like bi-sexuality, it was still an important subject. Mental health is a massive issue in our society. Denying your own identity out of fear would derail anyone.

CTE

It’s the NFL’s biggest Boogie Man: CTE. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. The disease continues to appear in professional football. In a 2017 study published in the medical journal JAMA, the results were shocking. Of the 111 post-mortem brains of former NFL players, 110 had CTE. CTE plagues the well beings of current and former players. It’s symptoms include:

  • Memory Loss
  • Confusion
  • Impaired Judgment
  • Impulse Control Problems
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Parkisonism
  • Progressive Dementia
  • Suicidality

Do any of those symptoms sound like Aaron Hernandez? Completely. Does CTE excuse his actions? Of course not. However, would he be a murder if he didn’t have CTE? That is the million-dollar question. And that’s important not only for the lives of football players, but to the victims of criminal acts by those players.

Yes, the NFL says it’s doing its best to get ahead of this issue. But, as pointed out in this documentary, it starts long before the NFL. Additionally, how often has the league ignored player health and safety?

College and NFL Teams Make Injured Players Play

“My body is so fucked up… They banned that shit from the league saying you can only get that if you have a serious injury,” he said. “Guess who they gave that shit to every fucking game? Me.”

Aaron Hernandez, prison call with his fiance

Fill them up with pills or injections and put them out on the field. It’s a part of the game. Organizations want wins. Players want money. No player wants to be labeled as injury prone or soft. Adding to that, the next man up could always be the replacement. Injured players need to heal. Instead, due to a lack of integrity by teams, they are pushed onto the field to play sports most brutal game.

Football wrecks bodies. It’s a gladiator’s sport. Understanding it’s brutality, coaches and team medical staff need to support players. Player health and safety should be a top concern. But, wins secure jobs for coaches and staff. As a result, players need to play. Irregardless of injury. Why else would teams constantly refer to injuries as a “pain-tolerance” issue?

It becomes an especially-jarring concern when Aaron Hernandez stated that the Patriots gave him Toradol every single game. Again, the case of Aaron Hernandez showed why NFL players deserve better advocates. Whether it is mentoring mental, emotional or physical health, these athletes need help. They shouldn’t have to ask. And they certainly should have to commit suicide before football anwers.

Pac-12 Football Review: Three Pac-12 Teams Send Offers to Clay Millen

Pac-12 Football Review: Senior Bowl, Clay Millen Offers, Todd Orlando

Pac-12 Football Players Light up the Senior Bowl

First off, before any other news is commented on, first look at Eric Bean’s 2020 Senior Bowl Review. In it, he goes into great detail on each Pac-12 football player and how they performed. Spoiler alert: they shined!

https://unafraidshow.com/pac-12-players-perform-well-at-the-2020-senior-bowl/

Multiple Pac-12 Football Programs Vie for Clay Millen

After Oregon State’s latest offer, Clay Millen now holds offers from Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, UNLV. After sitting his freshman and sophomore year, Millen produced a fantastic junior season.

  • 256 completions on 360 attempts
  • 3,145 passing yards
  • 34 passing touchdowns
  • 1 interception

Because of this promising junior season, the 6-foot-3 quarterback out of Snoqualmie earned 4-star ranks in recruiting.

To Pac-12 football fans, the name Millen might sound familiar. That’s because his older brother Cale Millen plays as a backup quarterback for the Oregon Ducks. Additionally, his father Hugh Millen played for the Washington Huskies and in the NFL for eight years. Because of his size, family ties and breakout junior season, Clay Millen got noticed.

With another year to strut his stuff for Mount Si, Millen is certain to earn more than just Pac-12 football interest. However, we desperately want him to stay in the Pac-12.

Subscribe to the Best Pac-12 Podcast

Anchor // Apple Podcasts // Spotify // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic 

Gerald Alexander Leaves Cal, Golden Bears Sign Marcel Yates

Losing Gerald Alexander is a huge loss for the Cal Golden Bears. In three seasons as Cal’s defensive backs coach, he was pivotal in their defensive success. Alexander’s defensive backs rose to elite with his excellent coaching and leadership. Per calbears.com, Cal’s 2018 defense was top-ten in the nation in:

  • Interceptions
  • Defensive touchdowns
  • Turnovers gained
  • Passing yards allowed.

Among those stats, Alexander’s defensive backs accounted for:

  • 17 of 21 interceptions
  • 3 of 5 defensive touchdowns
  • 3 of 7 fumbles recovered

Thankfully, Cal hired Marcel Yates (recently fired Arizona Wildcats defensive coordinator) as defensive backs coach. Somehow, they talked Marcel Yates to be okay with a defensive assistance coach position. Now, the Bears have four coaches with defensive coordinator experience. Justin Wilcox, Tim DeRuyter, Peter Sirmon and Marcel Yates have a combined 41 years of D.C. experience. Well done Cal.

USC hires Todd Orlando as Defensive Coordinator

Recall that last week we mentioned that USC eyed Todd Orlando as their 2020 defensive coordinator. Well, now they made it official. However, Trojans need to temper expectations. Orlando is still a very speculative add. His 2019 Longhorns ranked 54th in Football Outsider’s DFEI rankings, almost matching USC’s 57th ranking. His middling 2019 defense got him fired from Texas, but his experience still got him hired for USC.

With 15 years as defensive coordinator, Orlando is known as an aggressive coach with positive influences. Hopefully, 2019 was just a blip on his career and due to the Longhorns defensive injuries. If that’s the case, USC did exceptionally well.

Keep in mind, the Trojans somehow kept Graham Harrell at Offensive Coordinator. With Kedon Slovis and Graham Harrell at the offensive helm, USC football will certainly put up points. Because of this, Orlando’s defense can afford to be risky and aggressive. It could be the perfect fit for a USC team on the rise. Be ready for a surge up the ranks as USC. Pac-12 football’s 2020 champion could very well be USC.

UCLA Athletics Rack up an 18.9-Million Dollar Deficit

As if UCLA wasn’t already at a low point in Pac-12 football, now they’re running a nearly 20-million dollar deficit. Yikes. Although they generated 108.4-million dollars in revenue, the UCLA Athletics Department ran up 127.3-million dollars in expenses. Because of this, the deficit was covered by an interest-bearing loan from central campus.

For the budget nerds out there, we’d highly recommend you read this work by Jon Wilner of Mercury News. In it, he breaks down the Bruins debt in detail, along with any solutions. The biggest solution seems to be clear for most. UCLA needs to win games.

Pac-12 Football Review: Rolovich Buys Drinks and Graham Harrell Stays

Nick Rolovich WSU Cougars Pac-12

2020 Pac-12 Football Schedules Announced

Every year, Pac-12 football gets little respect. Due its cannibalism in 2019, no team stood out enough in Pac-12 football. However, the 2020 conference schedule is loaded with competition.

  • 17 games against 2019 bowl participants
  • 15 games against teams with eight or more wins in 2019
  • 8 Power Five opponents: Michigan, Ohio State, TCU, Notre Dame, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Alabama
  • Two games against Notre Dame

With difficult schedules in 2020, the 2020 Pac-12 football conference champion should make College Football Playoffs. For the full schedule, check it here.

USC Keeps Graham Harrell and Tries to Aquire Todd Orlando

Trojans rejoice! In a shocking decision, Graham Harrell chose to stay in Los Angeles another season. His 2019 season put him in the offseason coaching scramble. Even the Philadelphia Eagles interviewed Harrell for an offensive coordinator job.

Which makes sense. Somehow, with injury after injury at quarterback, his USC offense finished third in the Pac-12 in points per game. Additionally, remember that Kedon Slovis was a 2019 FWAA Freshman All-American. Giving Harrell a full offseason with Kedon Slovis at the helm is excellent for USC and for Pac-12 football.

Listen to the Best Pac-12 Conference Podcast

Anchor // Apple Podcasts // Spotify // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic 

Although Todd Orlando got the boot in Texas, USC still went for him. His 2019 Longhorns ranked 54th in Football Outsider’s DFEI rankings, while USC barely trailed them at 57th. Apparently his experience at Texas is more important than their defense at Texas. It’s a safe move, but remains to be seen whether or not he can lift USC’s defense any higher.

WSU Hires Nick Rolovich, Rolovich Buys Drinks for Cougar Fans

Mike Leach will forever be remembered as one of the most entertaining coaches in Pullman. However, new head coach Nick Rolovich is coming out swinging.

Certainly, this is one of the oddest moves of a head coach. But, it’s a move that gained respect and admiration in the Cougar fanbase. Yes, Leach is gone, However, it appears that Rolovich understands Cougar nation.

Josh Simmons Commits to Oregon

Josh Simmons decided to be a Duck this Monday. While Oregon football already boasted a strong offensive line, adding four-star recruit Simmons further adds to their depth and talent. Simmons is the 10th-best offensive guard and Oregon sits at the top of Pac-12 in recruiting and is also ranked 13th in the nation. The Ducks continue to build on their success.

Tre’Shaun Harrison Transfers from Florida State to Oregon State

After Oregon State already picked up Trey Lowe from Washington, they nabbed another Power-Five transfer Tre’Shaun Harrison. Though four-star recruit Harrison originally committed to Oregon, he ultimately played for FSU. Now, after two years struggling to get snaps, he became a Beaver.

Well, this is great news for Oregon State. The Beaver’s talented Isaiah Hodgins declared for the 2020 NFL Draft after his breakout junior season. Losing him is huge. So, adding receiving talent is a must for Oregon State if they want to compete with other Pac-12 football programs.

Justin Herbert’s Rose Bowl Win and 3 Rushing TD’s Saved His NFL Draft Stock

Justin Herbert NFL Draft

Justin Herbert’s First Drive was Phenomenal

12 plays, 75 yards and a rushing touchdown highlighted by a Justin Herbert stiff-arm.

It was a near-perfect opening drive for Herbert and the Oregon Ducks. Herbert’s first possession stats included:

  • 4-of-5 completions for 49 yards
  • 2 rushes for 7 yards and a touchdown

With ease, Justin Herbert and company carved through the Wisconsin Badgers. Although Oregon fans have become accustomed to high-scoring outings by their Ducks, this was against Wisconsin’s ninth-ranked defense in the nation, per Football Outsiders DFEI. To start like that was incredible. If Herbert kept his play at that high of a level, his 2020 NFL Draft stock would have risen substantially.

However, that didn’t happen.

Stalled Offense and Poor Decision Making

On his very next drive, Justin Herbert erased his flawless first possession. Tied at 7-7, following a Wisconsin kick-return touchdown, Herbert threw a horrible throw into traffic. Granted, most of the time passes near lineman are batted down. Few are intercepted like this. But, this throw was different. It was oddly low, into a cluster of players and Wisconsin’s Jack Sanborn was sitting there, waiting with eyes on Herbert. Herbert didn’t even try a different read.

Either he didn’t see the Sanborn or the Wisconsin cluster, threw the ball far lower than he wanted to or thought he could force a football through too tight a window. Regardless of why the interception happened, it grades very poorly for Herbert.

After opening the game with a 12 play, 75 yard touchdown drive, Oregon’s offense faltered for five consecutive drives. Justin Herbert couldn’t get anything going. Interception, punt, punt, punt, turnover on downs.

It wasn’t until the final four minutes of the first half when Herbert was able to lead any significant drive. But, that wasn’t solely because of him. Instead, it was mostly due to the Oregon Ducks’ defensive plays.

Relying on Defensive Turnovers

At the end of the game, Oregon forced four turnovers. Three fumbles and one interception. Considering Brady Breeze took one fumble to the house, Herbert doesn’t get credit for those seven points. However, two of Herbert’s three touchdown drives came off of turnovers. His team got him the ball at the Wisconsin 36, the Wisconsin 33 and the Wisconsin 30.

With field position like that, Herbert’s scoring drives were less impressive. Ignoring drives after turnovers and his first-half kneel, Justin Herbert’s nine remaining drives included:

  • One Touchdown
  • One Interception
  • 6 Punts
  • One Game-Sealing Drive to Run out the Clock

Not great. Yes, we can’t take away his touchdowns. He had two, critical touchdowns in the game that came off of turnovers. He didn’t lead them to field goals on those. They came away with 14 points because of him. However, a top-NFL scout needs to be able to create his own success and not rely so heavily on his defense.

Justin Herbert Shows Off Stiff Arm and Dual-Threat Ability

Thankfully, for Justin Herbert’s case, he chose to run. His three rushing touchdowns displayed the NFL’s newest delight: dual-threat ability. In the NFL, the game is evolving. Quarterbacks are running more read-options and designed quarterback runs. It’s a new era. NFL play-callers desperately want quarterbacks with versatility.

With successful stiff-arms and a game-winning 30-yard rushing touchdown, Herbert showed off that versatility. It changed the way scouts will look at him.

Although he’s no Lamar Jackson, Herbert’s athleticism in the Rose Bowl saved his lack of throwing success.

Just Enough to Cover-Up Mistakes and Maintain Draft Stock

While some saw an erratic passer, others saw a leader with grit and the clutch-gene. Herbert’s three rushing touchdowns displayed his athleticism. His 30-yard rushing touchdown showed his athleticism and game-winning ability. Then, at the end of the game, his poise on a game-sealing drive demonstrated his “winning effort”. Like Bucky Brooks said, his play “wasn’t always pretty”. But, Herbert did just enough to erase his mistakes.

At the end of the day, the Rose Bowl is still just one game. Justin Herbert’s four-year career for Oregon has been iconic. Some would even put him above the likes of Marcus Mariota in Ducks’ fame. With his highlight-reel three-touchdown scamper and the Rose Bowl “W”, Herbert kept himself in the top-three quarterback discussion.