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Shutdown Corner: The great Jamaal Charles leads the Chiefs again (Shutdown Corner) ( today ) Courtesy of
  Shutdown Corner is previewing all 32 teams as we get ready for the NFL season, counting down the teams one per day in reverse order of our initial 2015 power rankings. No. 1 will be revealed on Aug. 8, the day before the preseason begins with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton. NO. 12: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS I think most people are aware of how great Jamaal Charles is, but it's still fun to examine how incredible he has been. Charles, who ranked 12th on the NFL Network's top 100 list for this year, is the main reason the Kansas City Chiefs have been a playoff contender and are this high on the countdown. He doesn't get the buzz of Adrian Peterson or Marshawn Lynch, or maybe even Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy or DeMarco Murray, but he's absolutely dominant. Charles hasn't exactly been running through wide-open lanes created because opponents respect the Chiefs' great passing game. Here's Kansas City's passing ranks each of Charles' seven seasons, counting back from 2014: 29th, 24th, 32nd, 25th, 30th, 25th, 20th. Woof. Charles' 2,266 career receiving yards have boosted those ranks, as well. Yet here's Charles' yards per carry each season, counting backwards: 5.0, 5.0, 5.3, 6.9, 6.4, 5.9, 5.3. Only eight running backs in the history of the NFL have posted a career average of 5 yards or better. Charles has never averaged fewer than five yards per carry over a season, even though he has had practically no help from Kansas City's passing game to loosen things up for him. Yahoo! Tue, Jul 28
Most intriguing NFL team of 2015? Ranking the storylines of all 32 squads (Shutdown Corner) ( today ) Courtesy of
This is a highly subjective list. Using my sophisticated OPI (Own Personal Intrigue) method, I carefully have ranked the teams in order of interest and intrigue prior to the 2015 NFL season. Please note: These are not power rankings. This is not how I think the 2016 NFL draft order will look. Nothing like that. Intrigue can be both bad and good. My top-ranked team here missed the postseason a year ago; my 32nd-ranked team made it. Hopefully, you get the idea. I’m just speculating which teams will be the most buzzworthy and boast the most fascinating storylines heading into the season. The Washington Redskins, for instance, have mastered the art of bad-team intrigue. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] And some might argue that for years, the New England Patriots — even as remarkable as their run has been — are the most boring good team out there. Of course, not this year. Not with deflate-gate and Tom Brady's suspension threatening to rule the first month of the season. So here they are, my indisputable OPI rankings heading into training camp.  The most intriguing team of 2015 is ...  1. Philadelphia Eagles — Chip Kelly: secret genius or mad scientist? This could be the year we find out. He enters Year Three having shuttled off nearly the entire roster he inherited — including many of the Eagles’ highest-regarded players. How are we not intrigued? One of his biggest imports, DeMarco Murray, he shockingly poached from the rival Dallas Cowboys. We will find out this season if Chip’s system — which is more about team building than some gimmicky offensive philosophy — is built to last. If Kelly reincarnates Sam Bradford and fixes that defense, it might be time to give it up, haters. But if Bradford struggles (or struggles to stay healthy), and the ball is put in the hands of Mark Sanchez or — gasp — Tim Tebow, it might be worrisome. You have to wonder, after Kelly missed out on landing Marcus Mariota, if finding a perfect-fit quarterback will forever be Kelly’s Camelot. 2. San Francisco 49ers — The attrition that has ravaged this team might have reached historical levels. After a strange, strained battle with ownership, Jim Harbaugh walked at what looks like precisely the right time. In his wake, the foundation of his steely squad either retired, was shipped out or left via free agency. Thrifty owner Jed York opted to go cheap — under the auspice of trust, dependability and locker-room harmony — in hiring the less-than-lucid Jim Tomsula (one game of head-coaching experience). There are scores of veterans trying to revive their careers — Aldon Smith, Colin Kaepernick, NaVorro Bowman, Vernon Davis, and more. There’s talent, but is there turmoil? The first half of the schedule, by the way, is brutal. 3. Buffalo Bills — Are you excited yet? Maybe you’re not the biggest Rex Ryan fan (you communist!), and maybe you’re laughing at their quarterback options. Fair enough. But maybe Tyrod Taylor — who beat out Russell Wilson for ACC Player of the Year in 2010 — is a secret killer, or at least not a total disaster. And everywhere else there is exciting talent, playing in a city dying to win for a coach who will do anything and everything he can to (a) stick it to the Jets, (b) beat Tom Brady and (c) deliver a winner to some long-suffering fans. The defense could be the league’s best, and there are playmakers littered throughout the offense. There’s something happening here — and some excitable personalities coming to town with Ryan, LeSean McCoy, Richie Incognito and Percy Harvin — and what it is ain't exactly clear. 4. New England Patriots — It has been a wild six months since they beat the Indianapolis Colts, setting the Bad Ship Deflate-gate into motion, stealing a Super Bowl win in mind-blowing fashion and watching Brady get dragged through the mud in the league’s phony and laughable attempt to uphold the integrity of the game . And while everyone knows that what doesn’t kill the Patriots tends to make them stronger, navigating their way back to another Super Bowl appears far tougher, with a stronger division, Brady turning 38 and the Patriots’ huge losses in the secondary. If they do win it all this year, it will be their fifth title. The significance of this: The Patriots would own 10 percent of all the Super Bowl championships. The title also would be Bill Belichick’s seventh, which would tie him all time with former Broncos and 49ers scout/administrator Neal Dahlen for the most in league history. 5. Dallas Cowboys  — The Dez Bryant signing removes a smidge of the drama, but it’s still a team we’ll be thinking about almost daily. Last season shocked me — I pegged their defense to be historically bad. And that’s why this season is so intriguing. For the first time, legitimately, the Cowboys are a Super Bowl contender for the first time in forever, and yet they’re missing a huge piece with Murray gone (to the hated Eagles, no less). The guys vying to replace him are a possibly washed-up back in Darren McFadden and a player guilty of shoplifting underwear and cologne last year in Joseph Randle. Randy Gregory and La’el Collins also will be fun to chart as high-profile rookies looking to make a lot of teams wish they hadn't passed them over in the draft. 6. Seattle Seahawks — Russell Wilson’s contract looms as one of the more fascinating negotiations in recent NFL history, textured by the fact that he’s coming off the haunting Super Bowl interception. His gift: a Marshawn Lynch contract extension and trades for receiving help in Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett. But Michael Bennett could hold out? And Earl Thomas will miss all of camp? Intrigue! In a certain way, these are the same Seahawks we’ve come to know, so there’s a ceiling to it, and there’s no reason to think they can’t get back to a third straight Super Bowl. But we’ll always be paying attention to what this outlaw bunch is doing and saying. Yahoo! Tue, Jul 28
NFL-National Football League roundup (Reuters) ( yesterday ) Courtesy of
The NFL and the NFL Players Association reportedly have engaged in talks regarding a potential settlement of Tom Brady's four-game suspension for his alleged role in the Deflategate scandal. Sources told FOX Sports that the two sides have had an open line of communication in recent days after reports last week of the NFLPA's proposal being ignored by the league office. The talks also were confirmed to ESPN. Yahoo! Mon, Jul 27
If Russell Wilson stands firm, will the Seattle Seahawks give in? (Shutdown Corner) ( yesterday ) Courtesy of
It's almost impossible to quantify what Russell Wilson's monetary worth is, vis a vis the Seattle Seahawks' salary cap. And that has stopped absolutely nobody from debating it. With every figure that is tossed out there's a debate. People enjoy discussing it nearly as much as they like arguing about deflated footballs. The latest number is about $21 million per year, which Pro Football Talk said Wilson was offered and didn't accept. That leads to more parsing of the figures with arbitrary numbers: I think he's just worth $18 million, $19 million is a little high and I'd never go to $21 million! It turns into a game show. There's a soft deadline of July 30, NFL Network said , after which negotiations will stop and Wilson will go on his way and play for about $1.5 million this year. That's a meaningless deadline, because if the Seahawks offered Wilson $25 million a year on July 31 I'm sure he wouldn't point to the deadline and turn it down. But it gives some made-up urgency to the matter. So let's play along. How much is Wilson worth? It's complicated because you can make the argument he's not the foundation of the Seahawks' success (that's the defense) and he's not the MVP of the offense (Marshawn Lynch). He's a very good player but the Seahawks don't live and die with him. He was terrible for most of the NFC championship game, and the Seahawks won that game. His first completion in the Super Bowl against the Patriots came with about 5:30 left in the second quarter, and the Seahawks were 1 yard from winning that game. If Aaron Rodgers plays that poorly, the Green Bay Packers don't stand a chance (insert a few other quarterback/team combinations in that sentence, if you wish). But Wilson shouldn't be downgraded simply because he attempts just 26 passes per game in his career or that he was drafted to a great team. Wilson's career passer rating of 98.6 would be second in NFL history to Rodgers if he had the 1,500 career attempts to qualify. That doesn't include 1,877 rushing yards. He has been a very good player. So where do you slot him in? Here are the top 10 quarterbacks, via Spotrac, in terms of average annual salary: 1. Aaron Rodgers, $22 million 2. Ben Roethlisberger, $21.85 million 3. Cam Newton, $20.76 million 4. Matt Ryan, $20.75 million 5. Joe Flacco, $20.1 million 6. Drew Brees, $20 million 7. Ryan Tannehill, $19.25 million 8. Colin Kaepernick, $19 million 9. Jay Cutler, $18.1 million 10. Tony Romo, $18 million Of course it's not perfect to judge off those numbers, because all NFL contracts are different, especially with how much unrealistic non-guaranteed money is tacked on the end. But based on the list, you can argue Wilson deserves more than Newton, but I'm not sure I'm willing to give him more than Brees. I'd definitely put him above Tannehill and Kaepernick, however. So let's say $20 million. And you know what? That exercise doesn't matter in the slightest. Yahoo! Mon, Jul 27
New Orleans Saints Capsule (The Associated Press) ( yesterday ) Courtesy of
OPEN CAMP: July 29, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Yahoo! Mon, Jul 27
Current Roster
Quarterback College External Player News Links
R.J. Archer William & Mary
B.J. Daniels South Florida
Tarvaris Jackson Alabama State
Russell Wilson Wisconsin
Runningback College External Player News Links
Derrick Coleman UCLA
Brandon Cottom
Marshawn Lynch California
Christine Michael Texas A&M
Thomas Rawls
Rod Smith
Robert Turbin Utah State
Wide Receiver College External Player News Links
Doug Baldwin Stanford
Deshon Foxx
Jermaine Kearse Washington
Tyler Lockett
Ricardo Lockette Fort Valley State
Chris Matthews Kentucky
Douglas McNeil
Kevin Norwood Alabama
Paul Richardson Colorado
Kevin Smith Washington
Kasen Williams
Tight End College External Player News Links
RaShaun Allen
Jimmy Graham Miami (FL)
Cooper Helfet Duke
Anthony McCoy USC
Luke Willson Rice
Kicker College External Player News Links
Steven Hauschka North Carolina State
Defensive Lineman College External Player News Links
Cliff Avril Purdue
Michael Bennett Texas A&M
Michael Brooks East Carolina
Dewayne Cherrington Mississippi State
Frank Clark
Landon Cohen Ohio U.
Demarcus Dobbs Georgia
Obum Gwacham
Jordan Hill Penn State
David King Oklahoma
Cassius Marsh UCLA
Tony McDaniel Tennessee
T.Y. McGill
Brandon Mebane California
Will Pericak Colorado
Ahtyba Rubin Iowa State
Kona Schwenke
Greg Scruggs Louisville
D'Anthony Smith Louisiana Tech
Jimmy Staten Middle Tennessee State
Will Tukuafu Oregon
Julius Warmsley
Jesse Williams Alabama
Linebackers College External Player News Links
Tyrell Adams
Brock Coyle Montana
Bruce Irvin West Virginia
Mike Morgan USC
Quayshawn Nealy
Kevin Pierre-Louis Boston College
Alex Singleton
Bobby Wagner Utah State
K.J. Wright Mississippi State
Defensive Back College External Player News Links
Dion Bailey USC
Will Blackmon Boston College
Nate Boyer
Marcus Burley Delaware
Kam Chancellor Virginia Tech
Keenan Lambert
Jeremy Lane Northwestern State-Louisiana
Ronald Martin
Ryan Murphy
Eric Pinkins San Diego State
Trovon Reed
Deshawn Shead Portland State
Richard Sherman Stanford
Tharold Simon LSU
Tye Smith
Steven Terrell Texas A&M
Earl Thomas Texas
Triston Wade
Cary Williams Washburn