Sean McVay Talks Stafford and Rams Struggles

Before opting to return for a seventh season as the Rams’ head coach, Sean McVay considered a number of uncertainties, both about himself and his club. But, it appears that the health of quarterback Matthew Stafford was not one of them.

Stafford won’t have any restrictions, according to McVay, when the Rams’ offseason practices get underway on April 17.

The 15-year-old Stafford played through right elbow tendonitis, recovered from a concussion, and a spinal bruise that ended his season and kept him out of the final seven games of the Rams’ awful 5-12 campaign.

“It’s been a long time since he’s been healthy through an offseason, where he’s been able to throw,” McVay said at the NFL owners meetings. “I was just with him the other morning where he was in there early working, being able to do the things that are in alignment with preparing for the season.”

Stafford, 35, great receiver Cooper Kupp, top defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and other key players will serve as the foundation for a squad that is not expected to sign any high-profile free agents this offseason.

Kupp, 29, just had ankle surgery that put a stop to the season. Due to an ankle injury, Donald, 31, missed the final six games of the previous season. The traditionally attention-grabbing Rams are experiencing a severe economic downturn while planning for 2024 and drafting players. They are depending on Stafford to get them into the playoffs.

The Rams traded Stafford, the first-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft, to the Detroit Lions in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, two first-round picks, and a third-round pick in 2021. By tossing 41 touchdown passes for the Rams during the regular season and guiding them to victory in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium, Stafford proved that the agreement was worthwhile.

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Angels Bebuild Strategy Showing Promise

Los Angeles Angels Spring Training Report

Everybody in baseball, especially those who worked in scouting, were curious to see how the 2021 Draft would pan out. The Angels won each round by beating different pitchers. The Angels’ 20-round, 20-selection Draft consisted entirely of collegiate pitchers (with the exception of the first overall choice).

It’s been a whole year since they signed those 19 arms, and now that they’ve all reported to camp for Year 2, is it unreasonable to assume that maybe this crazy idea is… working?

Ten members of the class reached Double-A, with several spending the full year there. This is despite the fact that first-round choice Sam Bachman (more on him later) was held back by injury. Furthermore, Chase Silseth, the 11th overall pick in the 2021 Draft, is the first player from any team’s draught class to reach the major leagues. The whole Draft group averaged 4.07 earned runs and 1.28 walks allowed per nine innings. The Rocket City Trash Pandas, the team’s Double-A affiliate, dominated the Southern League, going undefeated in both half of the season.

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DE Zach Allen Signs $45.75M Deal With Broncos

Incoming head coach Sean Payton hasn’t spent time seeking fresh players for the Broncos. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Denver Broncos have agreed to terms on a three-year, $45.75 million contract with a guaranteed sum of $32.5 million.

Allen, 25 years old, is Denver’s most recent early free-agent investment. Reportedly, offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey will sign a five-year, $87.5-million contract, while guard Ben Powers will sign a four-year agreement to join the squad.

Denver also took care of linebacker Alex Singleton, who the Broncos hope to re-sign to a three-year, $18-million pact.

His 20 quarterback hits and 5.5 sacks in 13 games in 2022 for the Cardinals was Allen’s greatest single season of his professional career. Allen has recorded 11.5 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, and 43 quarterback hits since joining the NFL as a third-round choice in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Boston College.

Former Seahawk Signs with Eagles

Reports indicate that Rashaad Penny, the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks and a running back whose career has been marred by injuries but has shown flashes of greatness, has agreed to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles.

After his initial four-year rookie contract ran out, Penny re-signed with Seattle last March to a one-year deal that paid him $5.6 million.

Penny had a promising start to the season, rushing for 346 yards in the first five games of the year on 6.1 yards per carry. Unfortunately, the injury bug struck again in New Orleans, ending his season. At his season-ending news conference, Coach Pete Carroll said the team was anticipating Penny’s full recovery by the 2023 campaign.

The Seahawks must now work to ensure that Walker is supported by a strong bench. There is still a contract in place for DeeJay Dallas, but Travis Homer is a free agent as well. Godwin Igwebuike, who became Seattle’s main kickoff returner down the stretch, is a free agent to whom the Seahawks have exclusive re-signing rights.

Penny missed a significant chunk of the 2020 season due to an ACL injury he sustained late in the 2019 season. That injury, along with a few others, kept him from playing in more than 42 games for the Seahawks in his five years there.

The eight rushes of 25 yards or more he had in 2021 despite playing in only 10 games that year were tied for the NFL lead.

He leaves Seattle having gained 1,918 yards on 337 carries in 42 games, an average of 5.7 per attempt that ranks first in team history ahead of the 5.6 of Russell Wilson.

In 2021, he averaged 6.3 yards per carry, second only to Wilson’s 7.2 in team history and first in the NFL.

And he’s joining a team with one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, one that helped the Eagles get to the Super Bowl in 2022 and currently ranks fifth in the NFL in rushing. Miles Sanders, who led the Eagles in rushing in 2022 and is now a free agent, is not expected to re-sign with the team.

Darren Waller Traded to Giants

New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur has made a splash by acquiring an elite weapon for quarterback Daniel Jones. According to NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero on Tuesday, Big Blue is finalizing a trade to acquire tight end Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the 100th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft that the Giants received from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for Kadarius Toney will be sent to the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Giants’ offense was lacking playmakers, so this was a huge acquisition for them. Waller is a mismatch against the linebackers and safeties as a result of his speed and field-stretching ability.

The Raiders have been the catalyst for the 30-year-career-old’s renaissance, as he has produced back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020. However, injuries have derailed his past two seasons in Vegas. Waller only saw action in nine games that year, but he still managed to record 28 receptions for 388 yards and three scores.

When fully recovered, Waller is a major threat in the middle of the field, requiring opposing defenses to adjust their strategies accordingly. Even if the TE’s blocking is just average, that will help open up the running game for Saquon Barkley. Waller’s versatility allows for head coach Brian Daboll to get creative with the formations he uses, especially when pairing him with rookie success story Daniel Bellinger in two-TE sets.

Kings Getting Hot Just At The Right Time

LA Kings Report

For the past three years, Kopitar and Kempe have developed strong chemistry on the ice, with Kempe evolving from a supplementary player to the team’s first choice at right wing after scoring 35 goals in 67 games last season. Both Kempe and Byfield possess impressive length, skate effectively for their size, and aren’t afraid to turn up the pressure when the situation calls for it. They’ve also stepped up defensively, a must when sharing ice with Kopitar, winner of the Selke Award. Each of these characteristics has been outlined by Todd McLellan as reasons why the line is successful.

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