Blogs: Gridiron Guru

Julian Edelman Driven to Top Expectations


julian edelman new england patriots

PHOENIX — Even by the carnival-barking standards of Media Day, Julian Edelman attracted an odd and offbeat strain of questioners, such as the guy who needed to know his go-to gas station snack (Corn Nuts, as it turned out), the woman who asked him to explain "what is a rub route?" and the NFL Network’s Michael Irvin, who ended their interview with the touching endearment, "Way to keep playin’, baby. You are my dog, man."

The truth, although neither would admit it, is that Edelman is Bill Belichick’s dog: a hyper-competitive, workaholic, video-devouring gym rat who "will catch 200 balls before some guys walk in the building," says Patriots receivers coach Chad O’Shea. During his days as a Kent State quarterback, Edelman was known to run down the field and physically accost a receiver in practice, if he felt that player hadn’t given the proper effort.
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Sammy Watkins Talks Up Adidas' New Shoe, Rex Ryan


sammy watkins buffalo bills adidas

When Adidas unveiled it's new Ultra Boost running shoe in New York last week, they had some help in the form of runners, Olympians, and other athletes. One of them was Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

The Clemson star was drafted by the Bills with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft and had an excellent rookie season. Watkins set team rookie records with 982 receiving yards and 65 receptions, including six touchdowns. He helped the Bills go 9-7 this past season — the team's first winning record since 2004 — which was good for second place in the AFC North (but not a playoff spot). Coach Doug Marrone resigned at the end of the calendar year, and the team replaced him with former Jets head coach Rex Ryan.

What will the coaching change mean for Watkins? When SI Kids asked him about it at the Adidas event, he seemed optimistic. Check out his thoughts on Ryan joining the Bills, as well as his impressions of the Ultra Boost, in this brief interview:
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Richard Sherman: It’s About More than Me


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This story appears in the February 2 issue of Sports Illustrated.

Last season, while I was posing for magazine covers and calling out wide receivers in unconventional ways, I was also negotiating for an extension on my rookie contract. Seahawks general manager John Schneider asked me an important question: “Who are you going to be when you get paid?” As a fan, you’ve seen the scenario play out dozens of times — Player X gets a megadeal and never lives up to the paycheck; he stops playing hard and starts making business decisions with his body. I told John that I’m not playing football for the money, that I want to be the best to ever play. I said, “I’ll be the guy who has $50 million in the bank and plays like he has $5.”
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Drew Brees: An Aging Star, A Lost Season


drew brees new orleans saints

It's been more than a month since the Saints were eliminated from playoff contention. Now 36, Drew Brees can only hope the franchise learns from its mistakes and turns things around before it's too late for him.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On Sunday, an appropriate bow will be put on the 2014 NFL season when the Seahawks and Patriots meet in Super Bowl XLIX. It’s best on best, from the players to the head coaches, and that feels right.

But before we file one of the league’s strangest seasons away for posterity, we can’t let one of the most vexing questions go quietly into the night: What the heck happened to the Saints? Drew Brees still hasn’t quite wrapped his head around it.

“It was my most frustrating season,” said Brees, walking out of the losing Team Carter locker room at the Pro Bowl on Sunday night. “You never want to go 7-9. It’s no fun.”
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Team Irvin Tops Team Carter in Pro Bowl


2015 nfl pro bowl

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — J.J. Watt danced, Jimmy Graham dunked, Odell Beckham Jr. dazzled.

The Pro Bowl in the desert was all about having a good time.

Few moved very fast, no one flattened a quarterback and there were no bone-jarring hits in the gentle, friendly version of football played Sunday.

Even in a game dominated by offense, Watt was the star.

The Texans defensive end intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble and led the crowd in dances during commercial breaks.

Team Irvin defeated 32-28 Watt's Team Carter, but the score doesn't matter in the NFL's all-star game. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, no one more so than Watt, moving to the music while the cheerleaders danced.
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Deflategate Reaction Around the League: From Anger to Shrugs


tom brady bill belichick new england patriots super bowl xlix deflategate

MOBILE, Ala. – Most of the NFL world is in this coastal town for the week of Senior Bowl practices, and you might be surprised to learn that the Patriots’ football scandal is not exactly huge news.

That’s not to say people aren’t interested.

I talked with team power brokers—general managers, head coaches and coordinators—as well as position coaches and others about the situation, and I got a mixed bag of opinions.

“Of course it’s a big deal,” said a defensive coordinator. “You go try to throw a ball in wet conditions that is fully inflated, and then throw one that has less air. Of course you’re going to get a better grip. It’s a definite advantage. And look which team it is. Not a surprise.”
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First Look: NFL Pro Bowl 2015 Jerseys


2015 pro bowl jerseys nike

So excited for the 2015 Pro Bowl that you can hardly stand it? Well, pretend that you are for five minutes and check out the jerseys (some of) the NFL's best will be wearing in Sunday's all-star game.

Nike debuted its Elite 51 Pro Bowl Uniform yesterday, and there's a lot that looks familiar. The numbering looks a bit like Tampa Bay's new scheme (though a lot less digital), while the general vibe is very much Oregon Ducks (especially the gray unis). And then there's the fluorescent green — excuse me, Volt — which makes its kit resemble one of the NHL's recently-unveiled All-Star Game sweaters. (Fashion pro tip: Volt is so in this season!)
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