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Buffalo Bills

Rex Ryan Says Buffalo Bills Will Surprise People In 2017

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Since his ousting from the Buffalo Bills, former head coach and defensive mastermind Rex Ryan has kept his focus on his new gig as an analyst with ESPN.

Ryan’s name wasn’t linked to any head coaching or coordinator openings during the offseason and it’s unclear if Ryan will get another crack at a head coaching gig in the NFL anytime soon.

Despite his departure from Buffalo, which was somewhat celebrated by the media and Bills’ fans, Ryan offered a surprising and positive perspective on his former team as they enter training camp.

In response to a USA Today article that had the Bills finishing the 2017 campaign with a dreadful 4-12 record, Ryan had this to say:

“There’s no way in hell,” Ryan said, per The Buffalo News (h/t NFL.com).

“That’s a coach’s dream, to have that kind of prediction because there is no pressure on you, but I think that is total bull. If that is the case, why was I fired when I was fired if that’s how bad this team was? So, I don’t get that. To saddle them with four wins, I totally disagree with that.”

In fact Ryan feels that the Bills will be a surprise team this season.

“I feel the Bills will surprise a ton of people,” Ryan commented.

“They are kind of trying to float this under the radar stuff, which I get. That’s probably the way to go, that’s the way everybody goes. Undersell and overproduce. I get it. I believe they will have a lot better year than the experts. Could they be a playoff team? They might very well be.”

Despite his departure, Ryan had glowing things to say about the Bills and their fans.

“The fans were always there for me, that team, that city. And that’s the beauty of Buffalo and the resolve of their people,” Ryan said about his tenure in Buffalo.

“It ain’t easy all those years not going [to the playoffs]. But you know what, we are going to roll up our sleeves and go at it again. And that’s the way that community is. And I think that’s what they appreciated about me because they know I tried. They know damn well, I tried.”

Perhaps Ryan does see something in this Bills team that others don’t at this point and perhaps he is saying all the right things about his former team in hope of landing another gig in the NFL in the future.

Regardless, Ryan’s takes on the Bills and the other team’s in the AFC East will be interesting to watch as the upcoming NFL season unfolds.

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

Buffalo Bills

WR Cole Beasley Signs Deal with Buffalo

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Cole Beasley

In the NFL, free agency has been wild in 2019. A lot of big name players getting big contracts with new teams. Now, add another big name player to the list.

Down in Dallas, free agent wide receiver Cole Beasley has been trying to make an offer to Dallas to sign a multi-year contract for $20 million. Well, today, he accepted a deal with the AFC East Buffalo Bills.

According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the contract is for 4-year $29 million, $14.4 million guaranteed.

Cole Beasley, who is 29-years old grew up in Houston, Texas and went to high school in Little Elm, Texas. From 2008-2011, Beasley played Wide Receiver at SMU in Dallas. In 2012, Cole signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent.

Here are Cole Beasley’s numbers during his time in Dallas:

  • Caught 71 percent of the passes
  • Targeted 449 times
  • 319 passes caught
  • 130 passes dropped
  • 3,271 reception yards
  • 23 Touchdowns

For many Cowboys fans, he will be missed on the field and the sidelines.

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Buffalo Bills

Bills Looking Into Disturbing Domestic Violence Allegations Against LeSean McCoy

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The Buffalo Bills are aware of and looking into domestic violence allegations against running back LeSean McCoy, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.

McCoy’s longtime girlfriend Delicia Cordon was shown bruised and bloody in an Instagram post made by a woman, who is a friend of Cordon’s, who accuses McCoy of “viciously” beating Cordon, his son and a dog.

You can see the full instagram post below:

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Arizona Cardinals

All-Star or All Hype: A Josh Allen Breakdown

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When recent mock drafts and power rankings were released by some of the most well-respected draftniks in the industry, Josh Allen’s name kept appearing early and often. In fact, ESPN’s Mel Kiper mocked the Wyoming product first overall to the Cleveland Browns and NFL Network’s Mike Mayock has him rated over fellow quarterbacks Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson.

The questions are why does Allen have all this hype surrounding him after a less than stellar college career and does the 21-year-old deserve this sort of praise?

Let’s talk about this hype train, which started as a well-oiled machine in 2016, spun off the tracks and managed to right itself but with half the cars missing. Prior to the 2017 season, fans and scouts alike were drooling over the potential of the 6’5, 235 pound prospect. They had every right to, as well. Allen was coming off a 36 touchdown season for the Cowboys, including seven on the ground and one as a receiver. A season like that, especially with the obvious physical ability he displayed, meant that things should only go up for Allen. That’s where the problems began to crop up.

Allen’s 2016 season showcased his potential, but many scouts wanted to see improved mechanics, ball placements, accuracy, better pocket awareness and decision making. When a quarterback only completes 56 percent of his passes and throws 15 interceptions, questions will need to be answered on the field. Some of the questions were answered, just not how many were expecting.

Statistically, the only improvement in Allen’s 2017 play was his interception numbers, which dropped from 15 to six. Allen’s statistical drop-off continued into his passing touchdowns, where he has 12 fewer than 2016 and his yards per attempt, which dropped nearly two yards.

The improvements many expected or hoped to see just never happened, but why was that the case? Some of the blame can be placed on the supporting cast at Wyoming, where Allen’s top receivers from 2017 only had a combined 32 catches between them prior to the start of the season, according to Sports Reference. The Cowboy’s running game was also non-existent, as Allen had as many touchdowns on the ground as the two halfbacks he shared the backfield with. With all of those deficiencies, an improvement on a very impressive 2016 should not have been expected, but Allen didn’t help his cause on the field either.

Wyoming’s first loss of the season came against Iowa, a tough matchup for any Mountain West team. Allen was matched up against another player that may go early in the draft, cornerback Joshua Jackson. The game plan was to spread the ball out against Iowa’s defense and attack them with bubble, flat, stick and hitch routes. Often, Allen was having major issues when his first read wasn’t open in this game and he succumbed the pressure the Hawkeyes brought on a consistent basis. Jackson baited him into an easy interception late in the game and he ended up with only 174 passing yards on 40 attempts.

The loss to Iowa served as a microcosm of the issues Allen’s game includes. Not only were his mechanics dreadful, even in a clean pocket, but it caused him to miss wide open targets and erase a handful of potential plays that would have put Wyoming back in the game.

Based on that performance alone, Allen could have fallen out of the first round all together, but he did redeem himself later in 2017.

New Mexico had a much harder time containing Allen than Iowa did, to the point that he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter in the blowout victory. On the first play from scrimmage, Allen threw a bomb down the sideline that was initially called a touchdown. The play came back, but it just showed how much arm talent the raw quarterback has when his mechanics aren’t wild.

That was the biggest take away from the New Mexico game; Allen can throw with proper mechanics but just doesn’t do it on a consistent basis. The ball came out of his hand very clean and he was able to hit deep passes down the field all game. Allen’s mobility was also on full display, even though he caused some of the pressure with a bad feel for the pocket.

The difference in quality his tape shows is a major reason on why opinions are so divided regarding his draft stock. 12 of Allen’s 16 touchdown passes came in four games last year, in the other seven he threw one or zero touchdown passes. There really was no in between in 2017, even in victories. In a win against Hawaii, who had the 114th ranked defense of 129 FBS teams, Allen only completed nine of his 19 pass attempts for fewer than 100 yards. Against Colorado State, who had the 97th ranked total defense in the country, he only completed ten of his 20 attempts for 138 yards and no scores.

A popular excuse for Allen’s lack of production was the lack of talent around him, and that is a very valid point. However, some of the games he was at his absolute worst in were against teams devoid of defensive talent. Outside of Iowa, the best overall defense he played against was Oregon, who had a similarly dominant performance against him. Their defense, which could be considered average since they ranked in the mid-40s, held him to a 37.5 percent completion rate and 64 passing yards.

The only game that Allen played well in against a top 50 defensive opponent was in Wyoming’s bowl game against Central Michigan. It was probably the only game that Allen looked like his 2016 counterpart, even though he still only threw for 154 yards and completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes. Allen’s three touchdown passes in the first quarter showed why teams may consider him a top quarterback prospect this year. The first, which was a dart in a tight window from 23 yards away, was a display of top tier arm strength. On the second touchdown pass, Allen avoided pressure and juked out a defender before throwing into another tight window. The third, which probably has teams the most excited, was a 45 yard score that travelled 55 yards in the air and hit his receiver in perfect stride.

Central Michigan answered the question as to why Allen has the hype, and the majority of his other games answer if he deserves it or not. The simple answer is probably not, but he will still get drafted very early anyway.

Quarterbacks that Allen apologists consistently compare him to are Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Wentz. These are fair comparisons, as both of these NFL stars have similar physical traits and went to small colleges that faced an inferior level of competition. Let’s start with Roethlisberger, who would probably be the first overall pick if he were coming out of college this year. Ben started three seasons at Miami of Ohio, with his best numbers coming as a junior. Without throwing out a bunch of statistics, Allen was worse in every category. Specifically, Roethlisberger completed over 13 percent more of his passes than Allen and had 21 more touchdown passes in his junior year alone. Wentz, even though he was injured and played in four fewer games in his final year at North Dakota State, threw more touchdown passes, had a six percent higher completion rate and averaged a full yard per attempt more per pass.

Neither Roethlisberger nor Wentz were the first picks or even first quarterbacks selected in their respective draft classes. The thought of a quarterback like Roethlisberger falling all the way to 11th overall is ludicrous by today’s standards. Obviously, times have changed and quarterback evaluation has evolved in large part because of Roethlisberger, Wentz and former UCF Knight, Daunte Culpepper.

The scouting process, however, puts Josh Allen out of this category. With rough mechanics, poor ball placement, middling accuracy and a tendency to not step up in the pocket to deliver the football, Allen is a far inferior prospect to each of the quarterbacks mentioned. Now, this can change and he can definitely improve with proper coaching and the right teammates around him. There just seems to be a lack of acknowledgement regarding his major flaws from the draftnik community, including the aforementioned Mayock and Kiper. To place him over the polished Mayfield or the raw but even more talented Sam Darnold is a reckless projection of something that hasn’t been shown on the field at any point. The Senior Bowl was Allen’s opportunity to show it was more the fault of his teammates than his own for the lack of consistency, but he just reaffirmed the fact that he isn’t able to put it all together in practice or games.

Again, that is not to say Allen won’t surpass these other players at some point in his career, but nothing he has done indicates that their careers are trending in that direction. The lack of accuracy and mechanics alone could quickly put Allen in Paxton Lynch or Jake Locker territory, a monster but not a quarterback. To me, that shows that right now he is nothing but a hype train that is going to come crashing down at an NFL team’s expense.

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