ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — One man’s trash (talk) is another man’s truth.
At least that’s the way Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas sees it. Asked after Thursday’s practice why he posted a picture on Twitter wearing his Super Bowl ring with a tweet directed at Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman that said “Where yours at young fella,'” Thomas said he was “tired of it.”
Asked specifically why he took to Twitter to “trash-talk,” Thomas quickly responded: “It wasn’t trash. It was speaking fact. I don’t got to talk trash. It was just speaking fact and I got tired of it, so I just said something.”
So with no regular season game under your belt..Not much work in the preseason & the rumors of you getting thoroughly toasted at practice, the SELF PROCLAIMED corner Josh Norman is talking real big. I believe in being confident as an athlete, but like my father would always say, ” I hope he doesn’t let his mouth write a check, that his___can’t cash”.
What are your thoughts?? Is he the real deal, or a facade of what he wishes he was??
Panthers( 12-4) : The Panthers experienced the agony of defeat in Super Bowl 50 at the hands of the Denver Broncos. Cam Newton balled out last year earning his 1st MVP last season. The Panthers have two game changing play makers in RB Johnathan Steward & WR Kelvin Benjamin who were absent in their Suberbowl run. Benjamin return is key to this receiving core that saw TE Greg Olsen ( 77 Rec , 1,104 Yrds, 7tds in 2015) as its leading Reciever in 2015. The offensive line is solid with book ends Ryan Kalil & Andrew Norwell coupled with LT Michael Oher. Panthers defense became a top 10 defense in 2015 under the direction of Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermot. The D line is stacked with Kwann Short who broke the Panthers single season sacks by a Defensive lineman with 11 sacks in 2015. Star Lotueli looks to improve on his 2015 campaign . Thomas Davis & Luke Kuechly are an unstoppable duo at the LB position ( Davis: 5.5 Sacks ,Kuechly : 118 tackles , 6INTs in 2015) . Losing Josh Norman will hurt them intially , but overall they will be fine. Ben Benwikere moves from the nickel back to starting corner. The Safties are fairly good with up and coming player Tre Boston & veteran Kurt Coleman. The Panthers was only two turnovers away from winning their 1st Super Bowl . I expect them to make a run back to the Super Bowl …Stay Tuned!!!!!!
Buccaneers (8-8) : Offensive juggernaut isn’t what you would call the Buccaneers in the past . In 2015 the Buccaneers racked up a franchise high 6,014 yards. Offense coordinator Dirk Koetter was promoted to head coach ( still have mixed feelings on this ! #TeamLovieSmith) in the offseason. Cam Newton jr …oops I mean Jameis Winston had a breakout rookie season in where he was the third rookie to throw for 4,000 yards plus. Doug Baldwin shows that he’s an elite RB with 1,402 yards last year. The Reciever core has two guys who can have 1,000 yard recieving corewith Mike Evans( 74 rec 1,206 yards in 2015) & Vincent Jackson . Austin Seferian Jenkins has the potential to be a productive TE. The Defense ranked 10th in total yards & 26th in points allowed. Gearld McCoy has averaged 8.8 sacks per year and he leads the DLine with Robert Ayers, Noah Spense, Jaques Smith & Will Gholston. The highlight of the LB core is Kwon Alexander who in 2015 had 93 tackles, 2 INT & 2 forced fumbles & Lavonte David who had 147 tackles . I like how the Buccaneers went out and signed Brett Grimes who will team up with rookie corner Veron Hargraves. The safeties are truly underrated with Bradley McDougald and Chris Conte. I expect the Buccaners taking a huge leap and fighting for a playoff spot!
Saints (6-10) : The Saints won’t be marching atop the NFC South , but they still have Drew Brees. Brees had 4,870 yards 32 TDS & 11 INTS in 2015. Former Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram posses the ability to be a 3rd down back who can be a Reciever in the backfield. On paper the receiver core looks thin , but we have been here before . Once upon a time we thought Marques Colston (who was released ) and crew as a suspect recieving core ( we have learned the hard way). One bright spot for the recieving core is Willie Snead who was on the doorstep of 1,000 yards in 2015. The defense is the Saints weakest link… This unit is led by Cam Jordan who had 10 sacks last year. Also expect sold contributions from Nick Fairley , James Larintus & Kenny Vaccarro. Expect the Saints to be competitive , but will fall short in its pursuit of the NFC South title.
Falcons (5-11) : Atlanta took a step back offensively in 2015. The Falcons ranked 21st in scoring and 7th in total yards per game. In year 1 of the Kyle Shannahan tenure Matt Ryan amassed nearly 5,000 yards. Devontae Freeman emerged as the Falcons go to running back who finished 7th in rushing yards( 1,056 yards) and lead the NFL with 11 rushing TDS. The Falcons have arguably the best the best recover in the game in Julio Jones who had 1,871 recieving yards in 2015. I like the acquisition of Mohamed Sanu who is once again the robin to superman( was the #2 wideout behind A.J Green in Cincinnati). Sackng the QB was one of the Falcons biggest issues in 2015. The Falcons ranked 31st in sacks with only 19 sacks( yes the entire team didn’t even register 20 sacks). The Falcons are looking for Vic Beasley and Dwight Freeny to bolster last years sack total. The Falcons will have a season that will be long.
Colts (10-6) : The Colts look to rebound from a 8-8 season last year. Colts gave Andrew Luck the keys to the franchise as they signed him to a 6 Year / 140 Million dollar deal. It’s totally justified as Luck missed 9 games last season due to a multitude of injuries( he’s very very valuable). The ageless wonder in Frank Gore returns to the Colts and is looking to become a 1,000 yard rusher. I love this receiving core with the duo of T.Y Hilton and Donte Moncrief who complements each other . I expect Dwayne Allen to ball out this season as Luck’s favorite target at Tight End. The Defense is so so suspect . In 2015 the Colts ranked 26th in total defense, & 25th in points allowed. Kendall Langford looks to improve on his career high of 7 sacks in 2015. Robert Mathis , Eric Walden , & D’quell Jackson heads the Linebacker core . The Denfense Back field is fairly decent with the hopes of Corner Vontae Davis can return to his 2014 form. The Colts will be a offensive juggernot this year , but the defense will be its biggest weakness. I expect the Colts to make the playoffs and make a run in the AFC South .
Texans (9-7) – The most intriguing team in the NFL is the Texans. Once upon a time (2012 to be exact) I said once the Texans get a franchise QB…..goodnight AFC!!!!! Well the Texans went out and signed Super Bowl QB ( Hence my inflection ) Brock Osweiler to be the franchise QB. Head Coach Bill O’Brien aka the QB whisper who led the Texans to the playoffs with 4 QBS( Brandon Weeden started in their playoff game). Life after Arian Foster has begun as they aqurried Lamar Miller ( multi facid back who’s a great pass rusher). I expect the Texans to have a 2 headed running attack with power back Alfred Blue and Miller. The intrigue of the receiving core has to be in the drafting of Will Fuller and Braxton Miller . These two rookies who I think will make a immediate impact along with proven veterans like DeAndre Hopkins and Cecil Shorts. The Defense is also just as dangerous as their offense. Romeo Crennel 3-4 hybrid Defense is one of the best fronts in all of the NFL as its fire blitz and stunts that amplifies the ability of J.J Watt. Watt is a 3-time Defensive Player of the year ( 2015: 17 1/2 sacks , 29 tackles for a loss) who will highlight the D-line with Vice Wilfork , & Devin Still. Can Jadeveon Clowney stay healthy and live up to the hype. The susperstar of the Linebacker core is Whitney Mercilus who had 12 sacks, I expect great contributions from Brian Cushing & Benardcrick McKinney. The biggest question mark is the Defensive backfield who is led by Texans favorite Johnathan Joesph , Quinton Demps , & Andre Hall( current Free Safety converted corner). The Texans are the most complete team in the AFC South and if there was a team in this division likely to win a Super Bowl it would be these Texans .
Jaguars (7-9) – Do Not adjust your vision… Yes I have the Jags knocking at the .500 mark. Mark Brunell isn’t walking thru that door …..Blake Bortles is kicking in the door with his 35 TDS this season ( 18 ints as well). T.J Yeldon and pro-bowler Chris Ivory will be toting the rock for the Jags. The best receiving core in the AFC South belongs to the Jaguars . The Allen-Allen connection is the best upcoming duo in the NFL. Allen Robinson (1,400 Yrds, 14 TDS ) & Allen Hurns ( 1,031 Yrds , 10TDS) tore the NFL up in 2015. The Jags are also hoping Marquise Lee steps up & live up to his position. The Jags Defense is just as talented as their offense . They have a healthy balance of youth and experience . Many people suggest the Jaguars payed Malik Jackson way too much ( on a team that don’t know how to win he’s needed) . Jackon experience will help his fellow D-line brethren like Sen’Derrick Marks, & redshirt rookie ( Made up word) Dante Fowler. The Linebacker core is led by Paul Poslunsky who is also a productive veteran who will help rookie Miles Jack. I also loved the acquisitions of Tashaun Gipson and Prince Amukamara who will provide depth in the defensive backfield that will provide rookie corner Jalen Ramsey a easier transition. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but the Jags will turn heads this year I expect epic wins and them playing important games in December .
Titans (5-11) – In Tennsee like Orgeon …. The minds of Titans fans has got to be Jesus, Girls and Marcus Mariota ( watch the YouTube video) . Marcus Mariota showed flashes of brilliance last year ( 2,818 yards 19 TDS 10INT) . Demarco Murray & Derrick Henry will compete as the feature back( I think Henry will beat out Murray ). After trading in my opinion their best wide receiver Dorial Green Beckham the WR core is paper thin. Delanie Walker had a excellent 2015 (94 passes 1,088 yards) . The defense is a total work in progress as Dick LeBaeu enters his 2nd season with the Titans. Jurrell Casey leads the Defensive line with DaQuan Jones and Al Woods. The most intriguing thing about the Texans has got to be their linebackers .. I actually like the combination of Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. The secondary is fairly decent with Jason McCourty & Parrish a Cox at the corners . DaNorris Searcy & Former Middle Tennessee State standout Kevin Byard shore up the safeties. The Titans are definitely a team on the rise and look for them to take baby steps in reaching atop of the AFC South.
Packers (12-4) : After a devasting loss to the Cardinals in the Divisonal round the Packers return back with a healthy Jordy Nelson. The Packers have arguably the best QB in the NFL in Aaron Rodgers who posted 31 TDS & 8 INT (worst since his 1st year as the starting QB). HC Mike McCarthy will call plays on the Offense that will feature a multitude of weapons. The running back core features a slim & trim Eddie Lacy , Jame Starks & FB Aaron Ripkowski ( who replace fan favorite John Kuhn). The health of Jordy Nelson is the biggest question mark facing the Packers , but the WR core is fairly stacked with Randall Cobb (14 drops), Devante Adams , Ty Montgomery & TE Richard Rodgers (No Hoodies) will give Aaron Rodgers a plethora of options. Dom Capers “Base 30” front will cause havoc on opposing offenses. The front is an attack blitz that will feature stud DT Mike Daniels who had 5 sacks & 7 tackles for a loss in 2015. The line also features Letroy Guion, & Kenny Clark ( replaces BJ Raji) . Clay Mathews (8 sacks 14 Tackles for a loss) leads the LB core featuring Julius Peppers, Jake Ryan & Blake Martinez. The secondary is solid with CB’s Sam Shields , Demarious Randall & Safties Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix , Morgan Burnett. I expect the Packers to make a deep run to the playoffs with a possible run to SB51
Vikings (9-7) : The Vikings have arrived!!!!!…..Not so fast . After a 11-5 campaign in 2015 the Vikings return with a chip on their shoulder. QB Teddy Bridgewater lead the Vikings to the 29th ranked offense. RB Adrian Peterson carried the ball 327 times ( 1,485 yards 11 TDs) . At 31 years old Adrian Peterson still posses elite acceleration that amplifies his vision and patience to create holes. WR core is young and has immense potential with Rookie Laquon Treadwell, Stephon Diggs , Cordell Patterson coupled with talented Kyle Rudolph ( career high 49 receptions in 2015) . The Offensive line is lead by Matt Kahlil and Alex Boone. The Defense is the stacked as HC Mike Zimmer and D Coordinator George Edwards head a scheme that questions if linebackers will drop coverage or blitz. DE Everson Griffen posted double digits sacks once again in 2015 & looks to add to that in 2016. The linebacker core is lead by 3 down linebackers in Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks & Chad Greenway. Xavier Rhodes &Terrence Newman leads the CB position , While Harrison Smith & newly acquired Michael Griffin leads the safeties. This team is on rise to say the least look out .
Bears(6-10) : Jay Cutler actually had a good season last year 0nly threw 11 ints under former Offensive coordinator Adam Gase ( current Dolphins HC) . Losing Matt Forte (2nd all time leading rusher in Bears history) is a daunting task hopefully fantasy football stud Jermey Langford can fill Forte’s role. Kevin White returns from injury and teams with Alshon Jeffery to help enhance the receiver core. The sneaky move I love from the Bears is the move of Kyle Long moving to RG. The defense that we have came to know as the “Monsters of the Midway ” is not walking through this door. Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio implement a 3-4 defense lead by LB Pernell McPhee . Acquiring Super Bowl champion Danny Trevathan to help bolster their linebacker core. The secondary has a interesting mixture of youth and experience( CB :Tracy Porter , Kyle Fuller , Safties : Harold Jones-Quartey , Adrian Amos). Expect another cold winter and season in Chicago.
Lions (4-12) – Is it 1997 or 2016? Both years saw the face of the franchise leave in the prime of their careers. Like 1997 when Barry Sanders left , Calvin Johnson announced at the age of 30 that he’s hanging up the cleats. Matt Stafford adjusted to Jim Bob Cooter’s offense in the 2nd half of the 2015 season ( 19TDS 2Ints) . Ameer Abdullah showed slight flashes last season ( 597 Yrds 2 TDS) coupled with Theo Riddic and Steven Ridley. Losing Calvin Johnson is devasting to the receiving core , insert Golden Tate ( 90 rec 813 Yrds 6TDS) , Marvin Jones and newly acquired Anquan Boldin to help fill the void. The Denfense took several steps back in 2015 ( 2014 Ranked #2 in total D) as they were ranked #23 in total defense. The DLine has talent as Ezekiel Ansha (30 sacks in 1st 46 games) leads this group alongside Devin Taylor , Wallace Gilbery & Haloti Ngata. LB DeAndre Levy returns to a linebacker core that is emerging as a unit. The secondary remains sold with corners Tahir Whitehead & Daruis Slay with safeties Rafael Bush & Glover Quinn. It’s goin to be a long year Detriot ! bundle up!!
Steelers (11-5) – The Steelers in my opinion is poised yet again to make a run in the NFL playoffs again. Last year the Steelers put up a combined 63 points against the two best scoring defenses last year ( Bengals, Seahawks ). The suspension of RB Le’Veon Bell ( 4 Games) & WR Martavis Bryant ( All of 2016) are the biggest question marks on offense. Big Ben will have to rely on 33 year old RB Deangelo Williams for the 1st quarter of 2016. Despite the season long suspension of Bryant the WR core is booming as Antonio Brown continues his dominance as the premier wideout in the NFL. I expect Marckus Wheaton and Sammie Coates to fill in Bryant’s absence. The defense is comming into its owns as they adjust to the “Tampa 2 ” scheme. Look out for Stephen Tuitt as he emerge as one of the top D Ends in this Leauge . The Steelers are still the class of the AFC North and are poised for another run that could land them in SB 51.
Ravens (9-7)- The Ravens was a uncharacteristic 5-11 last year. The core of the Ravens ( Suggs, Flacco, Smith & others) were injured for the majority of the season. The biggest question facing the Ravens is the health of Joe Flacco . The Ravens was ranked 8th (total passing) 14th (total yards) who will get a healthy receiving core finally. Benjamin Watson is a sneaky acquisition who still has gas in his tank. Terrell Suggs returns to a Ravens D who ranked 8th (total yards allowed) 10th ( passing yards allowed) & 12th (total defense). Ravens also bolstered their defensive backfield with the acquisition of Eric Weddle and former CB Lardarius Webb moves to the strong saftey spot. The Ravens rarely have concsecutive bad years and I think they bounce back.
Bengals (8-7-1)- The window is slowly closing on the Bengals . After the wildcard loss to the Steelers the Bengals return with a healthy Andy Dalton(25tds 7INT 106.2 QBR) who sustained a thumb injury ending his season prematurely & new offensive coordinator Ken Zampese who replaces Hugh Jackson. The cupboard is stocked with a 2 headed RB attack with Jermey Hill and Giovani Benard & receiving core of AJ Green, & Brandon Lafell that will help Zampese transition into his new position. The Bengals defense was one of the NFL’ s elite defenses in 2015 (Ranked #2 in Pts allowed , 10th in sacks) . The Bengals D will be without Reggie Nelson who signed with the Raiders & Vontaze Burfict will serve a 3 game suspension . The only thing that concerns me is their questionable secondary as it’s riddled with underachieving talent with Dre Kirkpatrick & Darquez Dennard. This team takes a slight step back , but will be in the playoff hunt .
Browns (5-11) – 1st year head coach Hugh Jackson has big shoes to fill. As the city enjoyed it’s 1st major sports championship in 54 years & the city is looking for its Browns to turn it around. RG3 becomes the 25th QB to start for the Browns since 1999. The Browns will rely on a heavy running attack with RB Issiah Crowell ,Duke Johnson & company. The receiving core of the Browns has the ability to improve immensely once Josh Gordon serves his 4 game suspension . Corey Coleman , Taylor Gabriel , Ricardo Louis have the ability to gel well with Gordon . Garry Barnidge proved in 2015 that he can be an elite TE in the NFL . Defensive coordinator Ray Horton returns to the land. Horton looks to recapture the magic of 2013 , where the Browns had its best statistical defense. Hopefully Joe Haden can stay healthy. This team will take some lumps , but this team is headed in the right direction.