Geno Smith... There is No Spoon!

In the movie the Matrix (released in 1999) Keanu Reeves goes to visit the all-knowing Oracle. Reeves whose Character’s name is Neo, is sitting in the waiting room where he sees a child prodigy bending a spoon with his mind. The prodigy says:

Prodigy:  “Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.”

Neo: “What truth? “

Prodigy: “There is no spoon.”

The Spoon here, has been the New York Jets offense, under Geno Smith. Meaning, there hasn’t been any. ESPN has ranked Geno Smith 34th out of a possible 38 quarterbacks, going into this season. Some publications have him ranked dead last. In two seasons, as the Jets starting quarterback, Smith has compiled an 11-18 record. He has fumbled the ball 16 times (lost 7 of them) threw 25 touchdowns and 34 interceptions. His completion percentage is 57.5. The stats don’t lie here, Smith hasn’t been very good or very productive.  A lot of that has to do with former head coach Rex Ryan’s inability to orchestrate a competitive offense and the lack of talent. But, great quarterbacks find a way. Andrew Luck has had no running game, a poor offensive line and mediocre defense, yet he has led the Colts to 3 straight playoff appearances.

The good news for Smith and the Jets fans… Ryan is no longer on the sidelines. The Jets probably had the best off-season of any team in the NFL. They acquired Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Zac Stacy, Brandon Marshall and drafted Devin Smith and Leonard Williams. Both sides of the field have been upgraded. Their defense should get a ton of “3 and outs” and their offense has depth at every position. Everything in in line for Smith to succeed.

It is time for Smith to take the next step and win some games for the New York Jets. I don’t anticipate Chan Gailey to go conservative on offense. That is not the way to win in today’s NFL. Last year’s final four teams had Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck, all playmakers. The days of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks just managing the game are over. I am not suggesting Smith needs to throw 40 touchdowns next year. But, he needs to make plays with his feet and his arm. Peyton Manning threw 38 interceptions in his first two seasons. Smith has struggled, but it is time to put up, or be benched. The Jets haven’t had a franchise quarterback in their prime since Joe Namath. This is Smith’s last chance. If the Jets offense struggles early, Smith could find himself out of the league or a career backup. Can anyone say… Bryce Petty?!

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ZAC STACY PLAYING LIKE A FIRST ROUND PICK FOR THE RAMS - The St. Louis Rams thought enough about Zac Stacy’s potential that they traded their last two draft picks to ensure they landed the Vanderbilt career rushing leader in the fifth round.

These days, Stacy is playing like a premium pick instead of No. 160 overall for an offense that has ditched high-flying aspirations for grinding out drives. He has been the key to a running game that’s finally gotten revved up with consecutive 100-yard games, and is second among rookies with 475 yards rushing and a 4.6-yard average.

The Rams (3-6) think enough of his work that he’s one of three players pictured on the cover of this week’s game release book.

When Daryl Richardson was sidelined with a foot injury, the 5-foot-8, 216-pound Stacy seized the opportunity. He runs low to the ground, makes decisive cuts and has a bit of a bowling ball physique that makes it tough to haul him down.

Stacy broke three tackles on a key 32-yard run that led to the tying touchdown late in last week’s loss to the Titans.

“It was a great run,” Fisher said in his post-game press conference. “He’s a very instinctive runner, he’s a smart runner.” Fisher’s blueprint for his second season with the Rams was all about speed dazzling foes and going vertical. Now, much like during his years with Tennessee, the profile is power running combined with play-action passes.

Stacy got his first career start in Week 5 against Jacksonville and began producing immediately with 78 yards on 14 carries, leading the Rams to their first 100-yard day as a team of the season. He piled up 134 yards on 26 carries two weeks ago against Seattle’s top-notch defense and followed up with 127 yards in 27 carries, the Rams’ first two rushing touchdowns of the year and 178 total yards rushing and receiving against the Titans.

"Just making plays, that’s what it all comes down to,” Stacy said following Wednesday’s practice. “Week-in and week-out we stress making plays all across the offense. There’s no secret sauce to what I’m doing, just making plays.” (Photo: Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports)

Zac Stacy: Style includes the way you exit the field after being the record holder for career rushing yards at Vanderbilt University. Style also includes how you handle yourself. Stacy is lifted to the shoulders of his teammates for a ride off the field…the same teammates he then credits in the postgame interview with making his record possible. Stacy does both with impeccable style…and class. Congratulations.

(via Stacy shines in win over Auburn - Vanderbilt Official Athletic Site)

Top 10 Things to Look for in the NFL Pre-Season

The NFL Season is right around the corner. There were a lot  of changes this off-season. Here are 10 things to watch for in the pre-season.

10) What will the Eagles do at quarterback?Chip Kelly is an offensive genius, he is also known as the “Quarterback Whisperer” but can he work wonders with this lineup? Not one of his QB’s in camp, have had long term success.    


Mark Sanchez: 82 touchdown passes, 80 inteceptions  and a 56.3 career completion percentage.

Sam Bradford: 59 touchdown passes, 38 interceptions and a 58.6 career completion percentage.

Tim Tebow: 17 touchdown passes, 9 inteceptions and a 47.9 career completion percentage.

9) Can Pittsbugh’s defense match their high powered offense?- Ben Roethlisberger finished the season tied for 1st in passing yards (4,592), Le'Veon Bell finished 2nd in rushing yards (1,361) and Antonio Brown, led the NFL in recieving yards (1,698). No disrespect to the Dallas Cowboys last year, but… The Steelers had the best “Big 3” in football. The problem with Pittsburgh last year was defensive. They finished 18th in yards per game, 18th in points per game and 27th in passing yards allowed. For Pittsburgh to get back to an elite team their defensive must improve.

8) Can Jimmy Graham make the Seattle Seahawks offense elite? Seattle signing Graham was the best  off-season move in the NFL. We know Seattle has an elite defense and running game and now they have the best TE in the league.  In 5 years with the New Orleans Saints, Graham caught 386 passes for 4,752 yards and 51 touchdowns. He is the best “RedZone player in the NFL and Russell Wilson should thrive with Graham as his "Go-to” guy. If Wilson and Graham establish a chemistry on the field, it could be lights out for the rest of the NFC.

7) Can Rex Ryan evolve as a coach? The Buffalo Bills hired Ryan this off-season to be their head coach. Ryan spent 6 years as the Jets coach and compiled a 46-50 record. Up until this point in his career, Ryan has emulated his father Buddy Ryan. Rex still believes in “Ground and Pound” in a vertical passing league. The Bills had an elite defense last year and they should be just as good this year. Ryan has added LeSean McCoy from Philadelphia and has a young, talented wide reciever in Sammy Watkins. For Rex to have any type of success he has to focus more on offense or this will be his last head coaching job in the NFL.

6) Will RGIII ever be an elite quarterback? Robert Griffin III won Rookie of the year in 2012.. Since that time he has gone through a slew of injuries and controversy. If there ever was a quarterback who needed a good pre-season, it is Griffin. This should be a make or break year for him. All eyes in Washington will be on him during these few games.

5) Where does Johnny Manziel go from here? Manziel has had a rocky start to his pro career. When he was drafted, I wrote an article titled “ Why Manziel will never be an elite quarterback in the NFL.” I still believe that to this day. Manziel is undersized, has average speed (Andrew Luck ran a faster 40 time) and has an average arm in a cold weather division. I would be very suprised if Manziel is on the Browns roster a few years from now.

4) Is this Tom Coughlin last pre-season with the New York Giants? Coughlin has won 2 Super Bowls as the Giants head coach ( 2007 and 2011), both times New York defeated the favored New England Patriots. The Giants haven’t made the playoffs in 5 out of the last 6 years and this is Coughlin’s last year under contract. Although the Giants struggled in 2014, the team never quit on him. I think that, coupled with their new offensive coordinator,Ben McAdoo having success, it made it easier  for the organization to keep Tom. If the Giants struggle early, he will be on the hot seat.

3) Can Peyton Manning lead the Broncos on one last Super Bowl run? When a MLB pitcher starts to lose his fastball he can adjust and do other things. He can throw a curve, a slider, a changeup etc. What can Manning do to drastically improve he’s fading arm? If you watched the playoff game last year against the Colts, Indianapolis dared manning to throw over the top and he couldn’t do it. It will be interesting to see how many defenses crowd the line of scrimmage and force Manning to throw deep. I expect Manninng to be in the best shape of his career and try to establish a deep passing attack early on.

2) Are the Jets Geno Smith’s team? The Jets had one of the best off-season out of any team in the NFL. They hired Todd Bowles as their head coach, drafted DL, Leonard Williams, and WR, Devon Smith. They signed DB,Darrelle Revis, DB,Antonio Cromartie, RB, Zac Stacy and WR, Brandon Marshall. All the pieces are in place for this team to make a run at the playoffs. If Smith struggles early, look for the Jets to insert Ryan Fitzpatrick and ultimately 4th round pick, Bryce Petty.

1) What Rookie quarterback will change a team’s future? Last  year’s AFC and NFC Championship games had Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Andrew Luck. Elite quarterbacks win in today’s NFL. Jameis Winston was selected by the Tampa Bucs with the #1 overall pick and Marcus Mariota was drafted #2 by the Tennessee Titans. I think Winston is set up to win now because Tampa has better skill players. Mike Evans had 68 receptions and 12 touchdowns in his rookie year. Long term, I like Mariota as a much better quarterback. He has tremendous upside and there has never been a quarterback with his size, (6'4 225lbs) his speed (4.4 40-yard dash) and accuracy (66.8 % at Oregon). Both are young and will make mistakes but Mariota has the tools to be an all time great.

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Rams trade RB Zac Stacy to Jets for seventh-round pick

The St. Louis Rams traded running back Zac Stacy to the New York Jets in exchange for the 224th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Stacy requested to be released or traded after the Rams drafted Georgia’s Todd Gurley in the first round on Thursday night.

Stacy fell behind Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham on the depth chart last season, and when Gurley was added to the mix, that was enough for him to want to play elsewhere in 2015. After meeting with the Rams front office on Friday, both parties agreed that would be best.

Stacy rushed for 973 yards and seven touchdowns on 250 carries in his rookie season in 2013 but managed just 293 yards and one touchdown on 76 carries last season while making just five starts.

Stacy now joins a crowded Jets backfield which features Chris Ivory, Stevan Ridley and Bilal Powell.

Similar in skill set as a downhill chain-mover, Stacy will provide insurance in case Ridley suffers a setback in his return from ACL surgery.

The Rams selected Baylor linebacker Bryce Hager with the seventh-round pick acquired in the Stacy deal.

The season that could have been, isn't.

It’s the same old story for the Rams this season. Things begin to turn around (a 38-13 beat-down of the Texans was a sign of that).

And then someone gets injured.

This year the team’s “someone” is QB Sam Bradford. And he’s out for the season, not just a few weeks.

From an unbiased view (the Rams are not my number one team), I came into this season thinking this was it. This was the season Sam Bradford excelled–and he did. He was having one of the best starts in his career.

This was the season the defense would stiffen–and it did. The team had a total of 25 sacks on the season and showed much improvement against the run.

This was the season Bradford’s targets came to use–and they did. TE Jared Cook started off hot, and WR Austin Pettis soon joined him. Along came rookie RB Zac Stacy, and the offense seemed to be clicking.

And then, of course, Bradford goes down, Cook becomes unproductive, and the offensive line and defense against Carolina was practically non-existent.

This isn’t to say the season is over for St. Louis, but things aren’t looking bright. Missed opportunities are plentiful with Kellen Clemens under center. Stacy is still showing spark, but he can’t do it all on his own. And the remainder of the Rams’ schedule isn’t favorable with games at Indianapolis, vs. Chicago, at San Fran, vs. Saints, and at Seattle.

Reality is:

The season that could have–and should have–been for St. Louis isn’t shaping up that way. 


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Report: RB Zac Stacy wants out of St. Louis after Rams draft Todd Gurley 

St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy plans to request that the team release or trade him after the selection of running back Todd Gurley with the No. 10 pick during Thursday night’s first round of the NFL draft, Adam Caplan of ESPN reports.

After the Gurley’s selection was announced, Stacy took to Twitter to express the fact that he seemed surprised by the pick.

Stacy was one of the pleasant surprises of the 2013 season, rushing for 973 yards in just 13 games. But he fell behind both Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham on the depth chart last year, carrying only 76 times for 293 yards during the 2014 season while making just five starts.

Stacy’s playing time figures to diminish even further in 2015 if Gurley is healthy. He could end up being pushed back to fourth string, and the team likes Trey Watts, an undrafted rookie last season out of Tulsa.

Stacy, a sixth-round pick out of Vanderbilt, isn’t expected to fetch much in terms of trade value.

Mason, too, had reason to believe he’d be the Rams feature back of the future. He made his first start in a 13-10 Week 9 win over the 49ers last season, rushing for 65 yards on 19 carries. In 12 games (nine starts), the rookie rushed for 765 yards, collecting another 148 yards receiving out of the backfield. He also took to Twitter to remind everyone that he should be the No. 1 back in St. Louis