Carolina Panthers, NFL

Panthers experiencing an EPIC Superbowl Hangover  

You know that hangover when you can feel the pulse is in your head and you just want to curl up in a ball because your eyes are so sensitive to light. That’s how I would describe the play of the 2016 Carolina Panthers. It’s been absolutely atrocious opposing quarterbacks are playing seven on seven against our defense on top of that we become colorblind and have butter fingers. Those factors add up to a 1-5 record and the faintest chance to reach the playoffs at this rate.

This is coming off a magical year where it seemed we couldn’t do anything wrong with a 15-1 and looked primed to claim the franchise’s first championship but we ran into Von Miller and the Denver Bronco defense. This just proves it’s hard to win consistently in the NFL matter how good you were a new year can change everything you think you know about the National Football League and the Panthers are learning a brutal lesson about that.

 

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The Norman Effect

The first thing people are going to talk about is the team’s gamble to rescind the franchise tag of all Pro cornerback Josh Norman. That gamble has definitely not paid off our secondary is like Swiss cheese there are so many holes with two rookies on each side and they are getting schooled.

I backed our decision to let Norman walk the reason why was our front seven wreaked havoc, creating money pockets forcing bad throws allowing Norman and other defenders to take advantage. This year our defensive line is like where’s Waldo all of our pass rush has completely disappeared, forcing Sean McDermott are defensive coordinator to bring extra guys on blitzes causing a weakness to become weaker. Our defense has gone from number six in the league to an atrocious 29th and that fear that opponents had when facing our defense has quickly evaporated now quarterbacks are licking their chops and they are absolutely picking us apart.

While I agree, that Norman is a factor in our struggles we also lost veterans like Charles Tillman, Jared Allen and Cortland Finnegan have played a vital role in the defense of success last year. I think the lack of pass rush has been a bigger factor than the loss of Norman because it’s put even more pressure on the rookies having to cover for so much long has exposed the fact that they are young and don’t know the speed of the NFL. There’s no doubt this gamble has backfired, but you’ve also got to put it on the execution by the players just as much the decision of the organization.

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Under Pressure

The offense has had its share of struggles I think the big reason why is because they understand they have to match the opponent score for score to even feel like they have a chance to pick up the victory. Thus causing Newton and Anderson to force things resulting in turnovers and bad decision-making. The team had a league-leading +20 turnover ratio in 2015 and now has a terrible -7 ratio giving opponents short fields and more possessions digging deeper holes for us to come back from.

Not only that, our offensive line has been less than desirable, causing quarterback Cam Newton to run for his life and he has suffered a concussion this season because of that. Ultimately that cost us a big chance of victory against division rival Tampa Bay. Additionally the wide receivers haven’t made the plays to help Newton. We look to be pressing and there have been way too many negative things on the offensive side of the ball despite our ability to put up points. If we can get healthy and somehow keep Cam Newton upright we can put up points we proved that it’s just a matter of stopping the opponent that’s been the issue.

Honestly we’ve looked absolutely terrible and frankly deserve to be where we are at 1-5. However, we’ve lost three games by field goals a missed 52-yard field goal as time expired in game one. A game-winning field goal by Tampa as time expired and a game winning field goal with 11 seconds left against the Saints. The reality is we are those three field goals away from possibly having a 4-2 record. That’s the way the NFL goes and it’s been gut-wrenching to watch, but it is what it is. To be honest, I’m losing a little confidence in Graham Gano he’s missed 2 extra points and three key field goals that could’ve changed the result of games.

The season has no doubt been disappointing, but it’s not over yet the Kansas City Chiefs were able to overcome this start and make the playoffs so anything can happen, but we have to play with a sense of urgency and desperate the rest of the way to give us the best chance possible to make the playoffs.

I just want people to stop playing the blame game we haven’t played good football at all in the execution from the coaches and the players has been subpar and that’s why we are struggling not because Josh Norman isn’t a Panther anymore. I bleed black and blue every season no matter the circumstances even if I’m frustrated that’s what we have to do Keep Pounding!!

 

 

 

 

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MLB

Rest in Peace Jose Fernandez

Honestly, yesterday sucked so bad on so many levels for everyone in the sports world. As we mourn the loss of Marlins ace José Fernandez, who was tragically killed in a boating accident Sunday morning Fernandez was just 24 years old. 

I have no words to explain how much my heart breaks knowing we won’t get to see him on the mound again. It goes without saying that he was one of the best pitchers in the game he had a career record of 38-17 with 2.58 ERA and a two time all-star putting his stamp on the game of baseball quickly, unfortunately he won’t be able to add to these incredible numbers.

I tuned  into almost every one of his starts because it was a no hitter waiting to happen, but also because of his incredible attitude and an infectious smile he brought to every day he lived. It just made me feel better every time I saw him on TV in the dugout or on the mound. He was a guy that was living the American dream he defected from Cuba was successful in his fifth attempt at the age of 15 showing perseverance and bravery from the very beginning.

He lived every day to the fullest and never took anything for granted and just positively influenced every life that he came across in person or through baseball and the millions of fans that were able to watch him pitch will never forget what a treat it was to watch number 16 take the mound.

Every death has an impact, but this is felt across the world, baseball, and Cuba there will be a lifelong void that will never be filled with the passing of Fernandez. He just meant so much to so many people, especially the Marlins community as many of are Cuban and had an idol to look up to and a centerpiece to the Marlins organization and he will never be replaced.

The only thing we learn from this tragic situation is life makes no sense and I wish we could turn back time to prevent this unthinkable tragedy. My condolences to his family, friends and Marlins teammate’s! Rest in peace José Fernandez God got their Ace just a Way too soon!

 

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Carolina Panthers, Top 5 list

Top 5 takeaways when looking at the Panthers Roster

The Carolina Panthers come into the 2016 season with a massive chip on their shoulder as they look to avenge the Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos. It was a bitter end to an otherwise magical season! These 53 players look to take that final step and lift the Lombardi trophy and get rid of that bitter taste after the 2015 season. Here is how the roster looks as we begin the journey to Houston.

Quarterback: Cam Newton, Derek Anderson, and Joe Webb

Running Backs: Jonathan Stewart, Cameron Artis –Payne, Mike Tolbert, and Fozzy Whitaker

Wide receivers: Kelvin Benjamin, Ted Ginn Jr, Philly Brown, Devin Funchess, Brenton Bersin, and Damiere Byrd

Offensive Lineman: Ryan Khalil, Trai Turner, Michael Oher, Mike Remmers, Andrew Norwell, Gino Gradkowski, Daryl Williams, Donald Hawkins, and Tyler Lawson

Defensive Ends: Charles Johnson, Kony Ealy, Mario Addison, Ryan Delaire, and Lavar Edwards

Defensive Tackles: Star Lotulelei, Kawann Short, Vernon Butler, and Paul Soliai

Linebackers: Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Shaq Thompson, AJ Klein, David Mayo, Jeremy Cash, and Jared Norris

Defensive Backs: Kurt Coleman, Daryl Worley, James Bradberry, Tre Boston, Dean Marlowe, Robert McClain, Bené Benwikere, Teddy Williams, and Colin Jones

Specialists: JJ Jansen, Graham Gano, and Andy Lee

 

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Experience

The first thing that jumps out at me when looking at the Panthers roster is the veteran presence and that is littered throughout the roster. It’s an aspect of sports that is grossly underrated because this group has been through the wars of an NFL season. The team was returning 42 of the 53 players from the Super Bowl team last season it’s very rare in today’s to keep the majority of teams together because of the enormity of the contracts offered in free agency, but loyalty has been a staple in Gettleman regime and that’s a big reason why they are set up for another Super Bowl run in 2016.

Furthermore, this team has gone through the worst adversity any team can come up one game short of the ultimate glory after such a magical season that’s a bitter pill to swallow. That being said, this team is one year older and can take those experiences, turning them into positives moving forward. I expect us to play with a lot of fire and have a very successful season hopefully with a slightly different result.

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Youthful secondary

By far the biggest storyline coming into 2016 is the changes in the backend of our stingy defense. The team decided to part ways with All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman making our once veteran secondary young very fast. To compensate the loss of Norman the team drafted three cornerbacks two of which will start. This is the first time in 16 years a team will start two rookie cornerbacks. This is very rare and could leave us exposed if our front seven can’t create pressure.

However, both Daryl Worley and James Bradberry are both 6’1 and very physical so if they are able to get into their opponents’ heads because of they’re physicality creating an advantage in their matchups. An advantage we have is we have the best line-backing core in the NFL. They fly all over the place and can cover up some of the mistakes made by the rookies.

This unit will have the spotlight on them all season, but the key is for the young guys is to play their own game and let the game come to them don’t try to force things. They won’t  replace the great productivity we had last season on just one play. I think they will be fine because there’s a lot of experience around them to help them through the early part of the season.

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Deep linebacking Core

The deepest unit on the Carolina Panthers roster is the line-backing core. They are led by the best duo in the league in Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly and this year the team continues to develop talent at the position as they added two undrafted free agents Jeremy Cash and Jared Norris. These two young bloods might not play every Sunday, but they will gain invaluable experience and possibly be a valuable asset on special teams if needed.

I would be remiss, if I didn’t talk about the quick development of Shaq Thompson and one the most underrated players in the NFL in backup linebacker AJ Klein. Klein would no doubt be a starter on many other teams. He is another one of the diamond in the rough draft picks that the Panthers organization has made through the years.

The Panthers have made it a priority to continue to get talent at this position, especially this year because of the young secondary. The linebackers should be able to take some of the pressure off youngsters as they get acclimated to the NFL.

That’s why I think the depth at the linebacker position is key for developing rookies, improving the special teams, and most importantly giving hell to opponents every single game. The NFL is the most unpredictable sport that is why you can never have too much talent at each position.

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Byrd is the Word

Another newcomer to the Panthers roster is former South Carolina Gamecock wide receiver the Damiere Byrd. He is 5’9 180 pound spark plug that ran an eye-popping 4.28 40-yard dash. This is a welcome addition to the team because he’s a threat every time he touches the ball because of his blazing speed. He is a great compliment to the original speedster in Ted Ginn Jr, who has yet to lose a step despite entering his age 31 season.

He will also be a great asset on special teams, as he will likely take over the punt returning duties from Ginn to limit the punishing hits that happen in that aspect of the game. This way Ginn can focus on catching passes and scoring touchdowns without losing any type of advantage in the kicking game.  His story is one that I love going from an undrafted free agent and the year on the practice squad to on an NFL roster. These are the guys you root for and I think he will be a very valuable asset to the team this season.

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 The savvy Move

During his tenure as Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has known the right buttons to push almost each and every time. This off-season was no different he saw a glaring weakness and filled it. This time it was punter because of injury and ineffectiveness. The team acquired Andy Lee for a fourth-round pick from the Browns.

It might seem like a steep price for a punter, but he is a three-time Pro Bowler, a first-team All-Pro selection, and ranks sixth in NFL history with a 46.2 gross punting average. He also ranks He also ranks ninth all-time with 325 punts inside the 20-yard line. This shows he is worth every penny or in this case a high draft pick. This addition will give both our special teams and ball-hawking defense a chance at even more turnovers and negative plays to  give our explosive offense shorter fields to work with.

As icing on the cake, Lee is a South Carolina native and said the trade to Carolina was a dream come true! His contract is a good one as he will be around until at least 2018 creating stability for a position that quickly became a concern during the preseason.

Conclusion

These are my biggest takeaways from this year’s roster ultimately I think we will make another along postseason run trying to avenge the heartbreak of last season. We do have some rookies being thrown into the fire, but I’m confident with the veteran presence around them they will adjust quickly and be successful. It all begins Thursday night in the Mile High City. Let’s get off to a good start! GO Panthers!!

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Atlanta Braves, MLB

The Swanson Era has officially began in Atlanta

The Atlanta Braves took a huge step forward in the rebuilding process tonight as they called up 22-year-old shortstop Dansby Swanson to begin his career as a Brave. This is a rapid rise for the Marietta native as you recall Swanson was selected number one overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2015 draft. Then was acquired by his hometown team in December for Shelby Miller a trade that was widely criticized by many from the Diamondbacks perspective, but they were in win- now mode and were looking for an established arm to be paired with Zach Greinke.

This was a trade that gave the Atlanta Braves fan base some hope of returning to the glory days because this rebuild has been very painful seeing a lot of favorites walk out the door. This trade added a five-tool player and helped an offensive starved organization. Swanson’s arrival may be sooner than anticipated as just 26 months ago, he was in 2015 College World Series with the Vanderbilt Commodores. That being said, the team felt it was time for Swanson’s journey to begin in the majors as the team started playing respectable baseball and would be a good environment for him to walk into.

The dream come true happened yesterday against the Minnesota Twins Swanson went 2-4 both of them solid singles against Kyle Gibson. Gibson ended up with the last laugh as he threw a complete game, but I honestly don’t think anyone cared about the result they just wanted to see how the Swanson era would begin. He made a pretty good first impression I hope to see many multi-hit games and great success for many years with that Tomahawk across his chest. This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

From a fan’s perspective, it’s like a ray of sunshine in a season that has been lost from the very beginning. It’s a breath of fresh air because we get to go on this journey with Swanson from the very beginning and see how he continues to grow as a baseball player. His abilities as a baseball player have been well documented, but more than that he’s humble and gets it how to carry himself in whatever situation gets thrown at him. He’s what you want in a player and a person he’s a great addition to Braves Country!

Congratulations Dansby

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MLB

Goodbye A-Rod for now

 

The biggest story this week is today marks the final Major League Baseball game for Alex Rodriguez in a Yankee uniform and hopefully his career.  The first thing I thought of was people are going to have to find someone new to hate, not how easy he made the game of baseball look in his 22 year career. Rodriguez has immense talent that has never been questioned, but the amount of baggage accumulated throughout his career is sadly the bigger storyline for me.

As much as we are celebrating what Alex Rodriguez did on a baseball field many are also popping the champagne because that era of controversy will be out of baseball. The thing that angers me most is the fact that he got his hand caught in the cookie jar and he still decided to lie about his performance-enhancing drug use from 01-03 with the Rangers, which I might add were three of his most productive seasons. If that wasn’t enough, he got wrapped up in the biogenesis scandal of 2013 that once again tarnished the authenticity of his illustrious career.

The annoying reality of Alex Rodriguez he is just like Barry Bonds one of the two best hitters in major league history and we don’t know which years were PED aided and which ones were clean bringing shame to not only their credibility as players, but  America’s National Pastime as well.

That being said, as a baseball fanatic I still marvel at the numbers Rodriguez has put up tainted or not. He is 4th all time in home runs (696), 3 MVP’S, 14- Time all-star and a 10 time silver slugger. He also helped lead the Yankees to their last World Series championship in 09 with an all world postseason. The numbers are insane and unthinkable for any player to achieve no matter the baggage that comes with this career.

How will I remember A-Rod at least for now? His career and life have been like a soap opera that had a lot of bright spots and controversy. I will say through all the missteps and animosity he has faced, he kept taking every punch and criticism in stride in trying to mend the relationships that were strained during the dark points of his career.

The sickening reality, I think he loves the game of baseball so much as Ken Rosenthal put it, he wanted to be too great and that resulted in very poor choices that have tainted a legacy that was already going to be one for the ages. I’ll end with this A-Rod is the most polarizing athlete love him or  hate him, he brought something to the game of baseball that will be talked about for years to come both the good and the bad!

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Carolina Panthers, NFL

Carolina Panthers keep core together in good offseason

The Carolina Panthers have had an interesting yet very productive off-season as they look to do something that’s never been done. No Super Bowl loser has returned to the big game the following season, that being said, I think the team is in better shape coming into 2016 with the return of Kelvin Benjamin and the team being one year older.

The biggest storyline was the organization’s decision to rescind the franchise tag of Pro bowl corner Josh Norman, which initially was a shocker, but I think it was a great decision because by letting Norman walk they opened up about 32 million dollars in cap space and they’ve put it to good use this off-season keeping the core of the team together with contract extensions. Additionally we’ve added veteran complimentary pieces that have enhanced the depth on the roster.

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The Offensive Line

The most important person to keep healthy on this team is quarterback Cam Newton because as Newton goes the team follows. That being said, it was important to keep consistency and depth within the offensive line. The team did that in a big way signing Ryan Kalil, and Michael Oher, to contract extensions they also added veteran center Gino Gradkowski improving the depth of a vital position on the football field.

Kalil has been one of the best centers in the game in his 10 years, he is a five-time Pro Bowler a stabilizing force for our team and the quarterbacks he’s worked with throughout his career. He’s also been very durable playing at least 10 games in seven seasons and starting all 16 games in five of those creating stability for everyone on the offense. He was rewarded with a two-year 16.75 contract extension virtually assuring he will finish his career as a lifelong panther as it should be.

Next, the team locked up right tackle Michael Oher, who had a breakout year, solidifying the left tackle position that was left in flux with the retirement of longtime Panther Jordan Gross. Oher was coming off a disappointing stint with the Titans where he was plagued by injury.

Despite the recent disappointments in Oher career, he made the seamless transition to the Panthers and played a vital role in protecting Cam Newton as we made our Super Bowl run. This off-season as Oher was weighing his options as a free agent Newton personally called Oher saying that he wanted him back in a panther uniform and the team felt the same as we signed Oher to a three-year 21.6 million dollar extension keeping the stability in front of our franchise quarterback.

Lastly, the team signed Gino Gradkowski as the backup center and possibly the eventual replacement for Kalil whenever he decides to hang them up. In his first two seasons with the ravens he started 15 of 16 games and all 16 games last two seasons, then fell off in his last two seasons split between Baltimore and Atlanta where he started eight games and four games respectively.

The last two seasons notwithstanding Gradkowski has proven he can be an effective NFL player and will be a serviceable backup Kalil. The Panthers have made sure this unit has stayed intact this off-season with the only question mark being the right tackle position between Mike Remmers and youngster Daryl Williams. The team has done an excellent job of finding the best combination to protect the MVP in Newton.

Carolina Panthers v San Diego Chargers

Mike Tolbert

The Panthers continued to take care of their own signing fullback Mike Tolbert to a two-year $4 million contract extension. Tolbert has been one of the most productive fullbacks in the league and since putting on a panther uniform he’s gotten even more effective because of the playmakers around him and he is taking full advantage.

This signing not only brings back a playmaker, but a familiar face that knows the protections and is a good blocker as well. Furthermore, it keeps the record-breaking offense in 2015 completely the same except the welcome addition of wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin who is returning from injury.

The team has made it a point to keep the chemistry and camaraderie of each unit as high as possible and bringing Tolbert back continues that theme and I expect us to be better than ever in 2016.

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JJ Jansen

One of the more underrated signings for the Panthers this off-season with locking up long snapper JJ Jansen to a five-year contract extension worth $5.5 million. To just the average football fan, this would seem like a waste of money, however one of the most important positions on the field that is many times overlooked.

Jansen has been with the Panthers since 2009 and over that period of time he’s handled over 1000 snaps whether that is on punts, field goals or extra points and has been rock solid handling over 600 attempts since his last misstep in 2010, knock on wood.

A position that I believe will start getting more recognition because field goals are longer and as we saw in the playoff game the Minnesota Vikings the snap matters. Jansen is a vital piece of the special teams unit, helping kicker Graham Gano confidence to just focus on his job making pressure packed kicks. Never having to worry about the  snap  because it’s going to be spot on. The team recognized Jansen importance and rewarded him accordingly, keeping the bomb squad intact for the foreseeable future.

The Defense

The Panthers also fortified one of the best defensive units in the NFL over the last couple of years and continued the theme of the off-season keeping the core guys together on each unit. They made three major moves increasing the depth at the defense of tackle position signing veteran Paul Soliai, who is another big body and is expected to be a great run stopper.

This seems to be a great fit because Soliai will be playing alongside his great friend Star Lotulelei. Not only will you be an asset for us on the field I think he will be a great addition to the locker room commodity because of the comfort level that comes when playing with a close friend. This team cares about quality football players and people they got both of those things with Soliai.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers

Charles Jonson

The next move was a bit of a shocker when the team was able to re-sign Charles Johnson to a one-year $3 million “prove it” deal after a disappointing 2015. A season that saw him tear his hamstring and then lose playing time to Jared Allen who was playing better after he came back from injury.

This was shocking that Johnson would even consider coming back to the Carolinas because of the money he was offered elsewhere, specifically with the Giants it was five years, but Johnson clearly wanted to stay in the Queen City because he almost fired his agent over his desire to stay in Charlotte that is clear loyalty and I respect that immensely.

Johnson was extremely unselfish in signing this deal it allowed the team to clear much-needed cap space. He showed exactly what he cared about and that is winning. Johnson coming back adds a familiar face and a veteran guy for the young up and comers to learn from. An asset that sometimes gets overlooked, but is extremely important for the growth of the players and the defense as a whole now and in the future.

This is a low risk high reward scenario for the Panthers because if they get the Pro bowl Charles Johnson or something remotely close to that the defense will be even more fierce and if not it doesn’t cost them a great deal financially. Also, they have a lot of good options to replace if he gets injured again or if he’s not effective. it’s a win-win deal for the organization. I hope he comes back stronger than ever, giving us another weapon for opponents to plan for.

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Kurt Coleman

The last move the team made was signing Kurt Coleman to a three-year $17 million contract extension. This move was a must, as Coleman has quickly becoming the quarterback of the secondary with the departures of Josh Norman, Charles Tillman and Roman Harper who went back to the Saints.

Coleman is coming off a breakout 2015 where he had 90 total tackles, 55 solo and more importantly seven interceptions. An amazing first impression for a guy I had no idea who he was when we signed him last off-season, but is quickly become one of my favorites because of the brutality and focus that he plays with.

As one of the veterans of the secondary his leadership is going to be crucial as the team is trying to get the three rookie cornerbacks comfortable in our system. I believe Coleman will play a vital part in their development while continuing to improve his great skills set.

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Ron Rivera

It wasn’t just the players that were taking care of this off-season, but head coach Ron Rivera was awarded a nice extension for his role in making the Panthers one the NFL’s best teams. He signed a three-year 19.5 million dollar extension making sure he will be in Carolina at least through the 2018 season.

It’s a well-deserved contract as he was one of the most underrated coaches in the NFL today. It wasn’t all roses and beginning, however some were calling for his head after a slow start to his coaching tenure. Then came the nickname Riverboat Ron taking chances going for it more than normal on fourth down, putting more trust in his player’s ability.

This resulted in the team playing more free and easy trusting themselves and because of that a lot of winning and consistent play has happened since the nickname arrived. He has led the Panthers to three straight division titles an NFC championship and has been named the NFL Coach of the year twice. He has brought honesty, consistency, and creativeness to the Panthers organization and I’m proud that he’s our coach.

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Conclusion

The Carolina Panthers have shown they pride themselves on his loyalty and high character players and personnel. The team took the $32 million cap space they got once Norman left and turned it into six contract extensions, ensuring the bulk of this roster stays the same for a long while. They also signed three veteran guys to low-cost contracts to add different abilities to this team.

So in all they turned one player in Josh Norman, who was going to require a max deal into nine players. Many of whom are vital to the success and chemistry of this team the lesson here is be loyal to Carolina they’ll be loyal to you. If not it’s okay will find quality players that want to be in the Queen city. Don’t mess with  GM Dave Gettleman he’s not afraid to play hardball. This team is set up for another Super Bowl run and I can’t wait for it to start.

 

 

MY FAVORITE PUMP UP VIDEO Will GET YOU FIRED UP!!!

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Atlanta Braves, MLB

Braves future even brighter following deadline

The Atlanta Braves season has been hard to stomach as they continue to rebuild for the new ballpark in 2017. They currently sit with the worst record in major league baseball at 37-69 and for a while there I questioned if they would get to the 20-win mark. However, the team has done a remarkable job restocking the pipeline with many top-flight prospects that will hopefully return us to the glory days.

As we wait for those prospects to get the call to the show I think this year’s deadline was a great turning point for this organization as they were finally able to add offense to both our system and the big-league club. John Coppola and John Hart were able to work magic first trading Lucas Harrell and Darío Alvarez to the Texas Rangers for their 20th best prospect Travis Demeritte.

Demeritte just 21 years of age hitting .272 with 25 home runs and 13 stolen bases. It’s incredible that the team was able to acquire such a high upside prospect with the average power combination that is pretty rare in baseball today. The fact that the team was able to take two guys basically off the trash heap and turn them into a bat.

Next the John’s did the impossible and traded Hector Olivera to the San Diego Padres for Matt Kemp. The Braves were not only able to get out of a bad contract and the situation with Olivera whom struggled on the field and off with domestic abuse, but they were able to get a proven major league bat in return.

Kemp is hitting .260 with 23 home runs and 69 RBIs he brings a veteran presence and hopefully some protection to first baseman Freddie Freeman lengthening our lineup putting pressure on opposing pitchers. Not only that, we have him for the next three years at a very respectable 18.5 million per year. Which seems like a lot,but we got out from under a bad situation and got a player that can help on the field daly.This move also gives us options this off-season as we now have a surplus of outfielders we may be able to address another area of weakness in a trade this off-season.

As you can see, the organization has turned a corner finally able to add pieces that will right away help the major league club. Also through this rebuild process the team has been able to create financial flexibility so we will be able to be pretty active this off-season looking to upgrade the catching and third base positions.

It’s been a tough process to watch, but it seems we will be contenders sooner rather than later. When that happens, I believe we will be able to sustain it with the bevy of prospects we’ve amassed. Stay patient Braves country we aren’t that far off!

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