6/15/17: NFL Standouts, LeBron Leaving?

LeBron James, Chris Paul

East Team’s LeBron James, right, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, talks to West Team’s Chris Paul, of the Los Angeles Clippers, prior to the start of the NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

LeBron James began his career on his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. He has balled out since day 1 and even took them to the NBA Finals. Go back and look at that 2007 roster, how in the world? Well, here you go, you’re welcome.

cavs 07

So, LBJ took his talents to South Beach to win 2 titles out of 4 Finals’ appearances. Not only that, but he left that winning environment and his good friends, returned home to orchestrate a Kevin Love trade and bring home a title. He brought a title to Cleveland, of all franchises, to store some hardware.

It’s not that Cleveland changed their ways, when it comes to the front office and how they are run. They are far from the best in the business. The coaching staff is so-so. The players are, well, they’re just there. Kyrie Irving is a great 1 on 1 talent if you catch my drift, K-Love tends to have too many Pau Gasol-like lapses, and that’s pretty much it. The shooters that they do have, they spread the floor, but realistically can’t do much of anything else. They had no business beating the Warriors in the trilogy, thus, the series ended in 5 just like I thought. For the record, I think it’s a coward’s way out to pick the Finals’ favorite in 6. Go on ahead and pick 5 games, or choose the upset in 7.

I do think LBJ should leave. Will he? Well, there’s no place like home and I get that. There isn’t anything left to prove, in Cleveland. He does have another home, a spot in Southern California, which is why you’ve probably seen the updates about him being L.A. bound. And yes, Chris Paul is one of his closest friends. Paul’s upcoming free agency could send a signal. Blake Griffin is also a free agent for the Clippers. Steve Ballmer is financing a new arena in Inglewood while he brought “The Logo” Jerry West into the front office. You know, the Hall of Fame guard that has turned in a Hall of Fame resume in front offices such as the multi-time champion Lakers and the multi-time champion Warriors. By the way, West might have consulted the move to Inglewood, where the Lakers used to play at the Forum.

LeBron James to the Clippers? Steve Ballmer, Jerry West, Doc Rivers, and Chris Paul are a formidable group to recruit around the league. Of course, contingent on CP3’s status. Paul went to Wake Forest, has probably received a call from fellow alumni, multi-time champion and future Hall of Famer, Tim Duncan. If CP3 stays, LBJ can hop on another banana boat with him without the need to vacation. I’m not sure they could keep Griffin or not in that situation, but DeAndre Jordan would continue to play like a Space Jam character alongside the King.

Some things to think about:

  • Who else follows?
  • How will the Lakers keep up with them in this era?
  • Are we in store for Clippers vs. Warriors in the Western Conference Finals every year?
  • Whether it be the Clippers or the Warriors int he Finals, can anyone in the East win more than 1 game?
  • Will the Clippers win a championship?
  • What the hell do you think about all of this?

rb pass blocking

Thanks to Pro Football Focus, we have a lot more stats to keep us die-hard fans occupied during the NFL offseason.

Christian McCaffery, because of some NCAA rule, hasn’t even been around his team yet. Well, he actually just got cleared to participate. That, plus the fact that Johnathan Stewart has been reliable is every facet, might make it tough for him to completely steal the backfield as a rookie. He will be involved rushing and receiving, that’s for sure. McCaffery is one of my favorite players in the 2017 draft class. I don’t think he’s just a name. His father, Ed McCaffery, formed a nice receiver tandem with Rod Smith for the Super Bowl Champion Broncos in the ’90s. The son is a flat-out play-maker, and don’t you call his speed deceptive.

Supposedly, Robert Turbin is carving out a timeshare role with Frank Gore. For one, Gore’s age, and two, Turbin is an elite pass blocker. He ran for over 4 yards per carry in 3 of his 5 seasons, twice with Seattle and once in Dallas. In his first season with the Colts, he ranked as the 2nd best pass-blocker out of the backfield. He’s in line for a bigger role after scoring 7 touchdowns on 47 touches. The most carries he’s had in a season is 80. The most catches he’s had in a season is 26.

Rashad Jennings is actually known for his pass-blocking, but he’s a free agent at the moment. He played for the Jaguars and Raiders before his last stint with the Giants. The 32-year-old recently won the “Dancing With the Stars” competition. Jennings played in 13 games last season, where he gained 794 total yards of offense and 4 touchdowns.

receiver adj rating

Next up, the wide receivers. Another stat generated by Pro Football Focus. I’m just here to give my thoughts on some of these players, but here is the metric explained by the guys at PFF:

When we talk about wide receiver efficiency, it’s not just that “this wide receiver was x efficient on these targets,” but rather, “the connection between this quarterback and this wide receiver was x efficient on these targets.” Clearly, a wide receiver catching passes from Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees has a much greater chance at efficiency than one catching passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brock Osweiler. This statistic (adjusted WR Rating) helps illustrate just how efficient a team’s wide receiver was independent of quarterback play.

In this metric, we’re contrasting expected passer rating (average passer rating from each quarterback across all of a wide receiver’s 2016 targets) with WR Rating (the resulting passer rating on the totality of that wide receiver’s targets). For this exercise, spikes and throwaways have been removed from our sample.

I’ve been a Jamison Crowder fan since he got drafted in 2015. Right now, after the daprtures of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, Crowder is slated to start across from Terrelle Pryor. This new tandem is still raw, an interesting pairing, and they’re in a great offense that fits their skill sets. Heck, Kirk Cousins is in the best situation he could possibly be in, because I’m not so sure he’d be putting up nearly 5,000 yards on another QB-needy team. Anyways, I like Crowder’s speed and he’s got a knack for making plays. We’ll find out if he can step it up in a starter role.

Cameron Meredith turned into a nice surprise last season in the midst of chaos. Chicago has been shedding veterans and salary. The rebuild is going quite nicely, under-the-radar at least, as I do like how the Bears have been drafting the free agents they have reeled in. No more Brandon Marshall. No more Alshon Jeffery. Kevin White was a 7th overall pick and all, and will merit more attention for that reason, but the guy has only played 4 games in 2 seasons. Meredith is entering year 3. In 2016 he hauled in 66 passes for 888 yards. The 6’3 target snagged 4 TDs and went over the 100 yard mark in 4 games. For the next month or so he’ll be recovering from thumb surgery.

I see the big names on the list, I’m not neglecting players or anything like that. I just wanted to take this time to shed some light on some lesser known talents here.