Reggie picks the NFL draft

In the lead up to the draft, you’ll find hundreds of mock draft online from various people from those with inside sources to those who do it as a hobby. For a change, I decided to get my dog to the picking by putting sheets of paper with players names on them. Obviously I couldn’t let my dog have 32 treats for a full first round so instead I let him do the first six picks instead. Click on the video below to see the results.

P.S. For those who are interested Reggie is a Kerry Blue, a dog native to Ireland.

GAA announce there will be no Croke Park Classic in 2016

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Despite the success of 2014’s Croke Park Classic, will be no repeat of it in 2016. The slated matchup between Boston College and Georgia Tech was cancelled due to concerns about the value of the dollar against the Euro and lack of government support and funding. The connection between Boston College and Ireland was planned to be one of the main selling points of the game. The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) said that without significant government funding the game would no longer be viable.

If the game had gone ahead it would have been the third time in five years that a college football game had come to Ireland. The GAA had in the past stated the ambition to be the college football capital of Ireland. This is part of a greater interest in American Football in Europe with the highlight being the staging of three NFL games next season in Wembley with the NFL viewing Europe as the next great market to tap into. With modern day technology it has become easier than ever for European to watch both college and NFL football. While the GAA hasn’t completely ruled out the game it has said it would need significant government funding.

Tashaun Gipson opts to stay at home for off-season workouts

The Cleveland Browns’ off-season officially began yesterday with voluntary off-season workouts with most players including Johnny Manziel attending. One notable absence was FS Tashaun Gipson who decided to stay at home in Texas rather than attend.

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Gipson picks off a pass against the Chiefs

Gipson, who is a restricted free agent is reportedly unhappy that the Browns only placed a second round tender on him rather than a first round tender. A first round tender would be worth $800,000 more to Gipson than his current second round deal. Gipson has yet to resign on the second round tender meaning teams have until Friday to offer him a contract with the Browns having the right to match any offer. Gipson, an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming went to the Probowl last year after leading the league with 6 INTs despite missing 5 games at the end of the season with injury.

While Gipson won’t be fined any money for skipping off-season workouts but still is not the best sign when the Browns are looking to resign him to a long term deal. Coach Mike Pettine said recently though that he is “very optimistic” that a long term deal will agreed with Gipson. If a long term deal can’t be worked out Gipson will become a free agent after this season and could end signing a big deal elsewhere.

Was Brian Kelly watching Everett Golson and JT Barrett last season?

Brian Kelly came out this week and said that he thought that Notre Dame’s QB situation was better than any other even Ohio State. Which is just completely ridiculous. If nothing else it is proven by the fact that Ohio State are National Champions and that Notre Dame were playing in the Music City Bowl. First off you have Braxton Miller, two time B1G10 offensive player of the year, who could walk into all but 5-10 programs and start at quarterback. Then you have JT Barrett who came in after Braxton Miller’s injury and threw 34 TDs and ran for 11 TDs on his way to finishing fifth in Heisman voting. Finally we have arguably the most impressive of all, Cardale Jones who threw 7 touchdowns against 2 interceptions versus three teams ranked in the top fifteen and lead Ohio State to victory in the inaugural College Football Playoffs Championship Game.

“There are certain areas that I think at the quarterback position, maybe other than Ohio State, I would take our two quarterbacks,” Kelly said per BlueandGold.com. “I would take our two over Ohio State’s, but in terms of depth, I don’t know that anybody has a better situation than we do with the two quarterbacks that we have.”

image Yet Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly reckons that Everett Golson who despite having a full year off to focus on football, still managed to turn the ball over 28 times last year. (Golson was ruled academically ineligible last year and spent the year focusing on football). This is the same player who in a defining moment of Notre Dame’s season against Arizona State managed to turn the ball over 6 times in one game. It ended up costing them their season and killed any playoff hopes. For Brian Kelly to come out and say that he preferred Golson and Zaire is one, disrespectful and two, is just plain lying. I know talking to the press can be annoying and lot of what coaches say is part of mental games but did Kelly get JT Barrett and Everett Golson mixed up when he was watching last year’s film? Notre Dame’s other quarterback, Malik Zaire is unproven although he has shown flashes at times but still did reach any where near the same level as the Cardale Jones or JT Barrett. So for Brian Kelly to think that either of his two QBs are in the same grade is ridiculous. image Malik Zaire and Everett Golson in action

Browns release new uniforms

The Browns finally released their new uniforms on Tuesday which is a marked change from their traditional uniforms. The Browns released three new jerseys, three pants and two socks meaning the Browns now having 18 different uniform combination as they try to become the Oregon of the NFL. The Browns plan to use the orange jersey far more than in the past with being one of the main developments from Nike. The orange jersey has only been used 5 times since 2002 as an alternative jersey. Haslam’s background as a Tennessee booster may be a big part of why the Browns moved towards using more orange. The Browns uniforms are sure to catch some eyes next season.
Click on the images below to start the slideshow.

Browns to release new uniforms

After plenty of speculation and leaks the Browns will finally release their new uniforms for next season today at 7 pm ET. SS Donte Whitner has said that the Browns will have the “Best jerseys in the league” and there would be “9 different color combos” after seeing an advanced copies of the jerseys before they were released to the public. Nine Browns will be modelling the uniforms at the launch (Joe Thomas, Donte Whitner, Armonty Bryant, Karlos Dansby, Barkevious Mingo, Christian Kirksey, Brian Hartline, Dwanye Bowe and Taylor Gabriel). The uniforms may have already been leaked after a Columbus area sports store put out the Browns jerseys below before quickly removing them after word got out.

If these turn out to false, my sincerest apologies but they seem to be consistent to a leak on the new uniforms(see just picture just below).
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Either way, all will be revealed later on tonight. If true though, it would a marked change to a jersey that hasn’t really changed in 40 years.

Bill Belichick’s off-season simulator is the greatest game ever

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Jon Bois over at SB Nation wondered what a football obsessed genius like Bill Belichick does during the off-season and turn it into a game. Its a game that would only make sense to Bill Belichick and has the loveable graphics of a Nintendo64 game because why would Belichick spend money on graphics when these ones will do and are cheaper (i.e. Julian Edelman for Wes Welker). From Yetis to Car Radios to Nimbits, it all part of Belichick’s off-season simulator.

Jon Bois’ other creations Breaking Madden and NBA Y2K are worth looking at as well.

Rob Housler signs one year deal with the Browns

The Browns announced last night that they had signed former Arizona Cardinal Rob Housler to fill the absence at TE caused by Jordan Cameron’s defection to Miami. Housler was signed to a one year deal after working out with the Browns last week. Housler had 1133 yards in four years as a backup and had 129 last season in a reduced role. Housler was brought in for competition with Jim Dray and Gary Barnidge who are both considered to be blocking Tight Ends. There is no word yet on how this “prove-it” deal is worth but the Browns are hoping he can be the long term solution.
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Could Alex Mack opt out?

When the Browns placed the Transition tag on Alex Mack rather than the Franchise tag they took the power out of their hands and allowed others to negotiate with Mack. The Jaguars did just that by offering Mack a front loaded 5 year, $42 million but with the Browns having more cap room than the Jags they had no problem match that deal.
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Joe Thomas and Alex Mack celebrate a win

Now though an interesting quirk has emerged from deal that Jags offered, that Mack can opt out after two years and make it effectively a two year, $18 million deal. This occurred because Jacksonville offered Mack a very player friendly deal to lure him away from the Browns and the Browns just used their option to match any contract rather than negotiate their own deal with Mack. In an interview with ESPN’s Toni Grossi Browns LT Joe Thomas said he wouldn’t be that surprised if Mack opted out saying “I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to opt out and become a free agent at the end of the year.”

“I haven’t really had any conversations with Alex, but I will say I’m sure there’s a reason he put that clause in his contract, because this is going to be an important year for the Browns to prove the things they said to him during the recruiting process, prove they were true,” left tackle Joe Thomas told Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland. “So I imagine that we’re going to have to have a good season, we’re going to have to show to Alex that we’re moving in the right direction, or I’m sure he’ll probably, . . . there’s no downside to declaring himself a free agent after this year because worst-case scenario, I guess, he can just resign with the Browns if he wanted.

“Maybe he just signs right back with the Browns for more money, I don’t know. I just know that having the player’s option to opt out rather than strictly only the club, which is kind of the way everything is set up right now, it’s great for the players and I’d like to see more players across the league get that type of language in their contract because it gives the players some power that if the team’s not following through on their side of the bargain, that the players can walk and go somewhere else.”

Mack was a key player in a revamped run game for the Browns last year and his absence was really felt after he went down with a broken leg with the rushing yards per game decreasing from 146.4 to 90.5. If the Browns were to lose arguably the best center in the league only two after they thought they had locked him long term, it would be a massive blow.

Golfing in Shreveport

As of now Johnny Manziel is still in rehab more than two months after he voluntarily entered it, despite the fact that Browns off-season workouts begin in 12 days. Now according to the Shreveport Times Manziel was in allowed go to Shreveport’s 265 golf club for the weekend bit still remains in rehab. The fact that he allowed out for the weekend to meet up with his family and travel across the country can only be seen as encouraging steps in Manziel’s rehab. Manziel most surely have found memories of Shreveport as last time he was there he lead Texas A&M to 59 points. Manziel is no novice either with a single figure handicap.
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This all comes days after All Pro LT Joe Thomas said that Manziel lost a lot of credit in his first season but did praise Manziel accepting responsibility for his actions and seeking help saying:

“I think he’s going to have to prove to the team that football is important and being the man, being the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, is important, it is his goal, his single goal in his life,” Thomas said.
“You know, I think he lost probably a lot of trust among the guys on the team last year by the way he handled himself once he became the starter. And I think he had a lot of time to reflect, I’m guessing, after the season was over by the comments he made in the media and by his actions, checking himself into rehab … I think those were really positive steps.
“I’m hoping when we comes back in April we see a new Johnny and everybody’s blown away with his commitment. And I think he’s got the talent, so it’s just a matter of if he commits himself to it, we can have a really good quarterback on our hands.”

Thomas’s words aren’t that much of surprise considering that the rumor is the Browns are 90% ready to move on from Manziel. Either way Manziel golfing trip can only be seen as a positive for his rehab as he tries to turn his career around.