Bruce Arians Named Head Coach of Buccaneers; Can They Go From Worst to First?

Bruce Arians was hired to be the new head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is 66 years old. Arians will also have a four-year deal and a fifth-year team option, according to a source that told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Bruce Arians retired after the 2017 season with the Arizona Cardinals. One of the reasons why he decided to take this job was because Jason Licht is the general manager for Tampa Bay. He used to work in Arizona’s front office in 2012 as the Director of player personnel and in 2013 as the Vice President of player personnel.

Arians is expected to bring in some interesting names as his assistants. Todd Bowles is expected to be the defensive coordinator for the Buccaneers. He was the head coach for the New York Jets from 2015-2018. Bowles was the defensive coordinator with the Cardinals when Bruce Arians was coaching there.

Harold Goodwin will be the running game coordinator and the offensive line coach. Byron Leftwich will be the passing game coordinator. Leftwich was the Arizona Cardinals Offensive Coordinator after Week 7. Clyde Christensen will be the quarterbacks coach.

With Bruce Arians being hired as the new head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is it possible this football team moves from worst place in the NFC South to first place in the NFC South in 2019?

Tampa Bay will be a much better football team next season with the presence of Arians alone. He will be the alpha male this team needs in the locker room. Bruce Arians will discipline quarterback Jameis Winston really well.

The offense has a lot of talent. They have players like Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate. The Buccaneers also have Peyton Barber, Ronald Jones, and Jacquizz Rodgers in the backfield, but they might be able to find another running back in the draft or sign someone in free agency. A player like Le’Veon Bell could do the trick for this Tampa Bay team.

The defense has some good personnel like Gerald McCoy, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Lavonte David. They need to draft some more defensive personnel, but Bowles could fix this defensive scheme. Tampa Bay played a 4-3 defensive scheme last season and they could very well switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme for next season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have seven picks in the NFL Draft. They will own the fifth overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Tampa Bay finished with a 5-11 record for the past two seasons. They haven’t made it to the playoffs since the 2007 season when the Buccaneers finished in first place in the NFC South with a 9-7 record. They lost in the first-round that season against the New York Giants.

Speaking of first place, it won’t be easy for Tampa Bay to jump from worst to first because of the schedule they have to face. Their homes next season will be against the Atlanta Falcons, the Carolina Panthers, the New Orleans Saints, the Arizona Cardinals, the San Francisco 49ers, the Houston Texans, the Indianapolis Colts, and the New York Giants.

Their road games will be against the Atlanta Falcons, the Carolina Panthers, the New Orleans Saints, the Detroit Lions, the Jacksonville Jagaurs, the Tennessee Titans, the Los Angeles Rams, and the Seattle Seahawks.

Five of those teams on Tampa Bay’s schedule made it to the playoffs this past season.

They could be an 8-8 or 9-7 team next season. The New Orleans Saints will probably be the best team in the division again next season. The Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers both missed the playoffs this season after making it to the postseason a season ago.

Arians’s record with the Arizona Cardinals from 2013-2017 was 49-30-1. He made the playoffs twice with them. I don’t think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will win the NFC South next season, but it is very possible they could be one of the two wild card teams in the NFC.

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When Will Top Boston Bruins Prospect Jack Studnicka Reach the NHL?

The Boston Bruins have an average prospect pool, but they might have one of the best NHL prospects in 19-year-old centerman Jack Studnicka. He was a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. There was a possible chance he was going to play with the Boston Bruins right away, but Studnicka was sent back to juniors to develop his game some more.

He signed a three-year entry-level deal in 2017. Jack Studnicka was the captain of the Oshawa Generals in the OHL, but he was recently traded to the Niagara Ice Dogs. In 30 games with Oshawa so far this season, he has scored 12 goals and recorded 22 assists. His plus/minus is 10. In five games played with Canada U20 in the World Junior Championship, Studnicka scored one goal and recorded three assists. His plus/minus is 4.

Last season with the Generals, he played in 66 games and scored 22 goals and recorded 50 assists. His plus/minus is 18. In five postseason games last season, Jack Studnicka scored one goal and recorded four assists. His plus/minus rating is even. After the OHL season was over, he scored one goal and recorded four assists in five games with the Providence Bruins in the AHL. Studnicka’s plus/minus was 2.

Once his OHL season is over this year, Jack Studnicka will probably play in the AHL. When trailing camp comes next for the Boston Bruins, he has a good chance to be the fourth line centerman for them, but I don’t think it would help his development.

Studnicka’s upside is being a centerman on the second or third line. The current centers on the roster are Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Noel Acciari, and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. They have a few other centers on the roster, but some of them are playing on the wing like Chris Wagner, Ryan Donato, and Danton Heinen.

It shows how much versatility Boston has on this roster. Jack Studnicka is also a versatile player and he causes headaches on the ice for opponents. He will probably start the 2019-2020 season with the Providence Bruins in the AHL, but it would be a surprise to see Studnicka with the Boston Bruins during the middle of next season due to injury for other players on the roster.

The New York Giants Need to Nail Draft in 2019

With the New York Giants preparing for the 2019 season, General Manager David Gettleman is currently evaluating players on the roster. New York finished in last in the NFC East for the second consecutive season with a 5-11 record. They will have the sixth pick in the NFL Draft at the end of April.

The Giants will also have a second-round pick, three fourth and fifth-round picks, a sixth -round pick, and two seventh-rounds picks. They will have a total of 11 picks in the NFL Draft. New York doesn’t own a third-round pick in the NFL Draft because they took cornerback Sam Beal from Western Michigan in the Supplemental Draft last summer.

Even though they have 11 picks, it is possible the New York Giants could acquire more picks especially if they decide to trade cornerback Janoris Jenkins and outside linebacker/defensive end Olivier Vernon this offseason.

This will be the most important draft for this team in ages. If the New York Giants want to get back to the playoffs next season, they have to nail all of these picks. In this draft, New York needs a pass rusher, a cornerback, a quarterback, another offensive lineman, and another wide receiver.

Gettleman did a very good job of drafting last season. He had six draft picks and all of them made the roster in 2018. Those players were running back Saquon Barkley, offensive guard Will Hernandez, outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter, defensive tackle B.J. Hill, quarterback Kyle Lauletta, and defensive tackle RJ McIntosh.

Barkley, Hernandez, Carter, and Hill all made an impact this past season. Lauletta was the third quarterback for most of the season and McIntosh didn’t see the field enough. If David Gettleman has all of his 2019 draft picks on the roster next season, the New York Giants will be in good hands.

Hunter Henry Activated for Chargers

A very talented Los Angeles Chargers team will be getting another key player back from injury this weekend. Tight end Hunter Henry was activated off the PUP List on Monday. He suffered a torn ACL back in May and it seemed like he wasn’t going to play at all for them this season.

A torn ACL usually takes nine to 12 months to heal from, but Henry was ahead of schedule. He will be a key component for this offense. Hunter Henry caught 45 passes for 579 yards receiving and four touchdowns during the 2017 season for the Los Angeles Chargers.

He will get some snaps on Sunday against the New England Patriots and Henry could be an X-Factor. Antonio Gates has been the number one tight end for the Chargers this season. Virgil Green has been the number two tight end for the Chargers this season.

If Hunter Henry was healthy before the season began, he would have been Los Angeles’s number one tight end. This will be another weapon for Philip Rivers to throw to.

What Will It Take for the Pittsburgh Penguins to Win a Game Against the Chicago Blackhawks?

The Pittsburgh Penguins were riding an eight-game winning streak heading into Sunday night’s contest at home against the Chicago Blackhawks. Pittsburgh is one of the better teams in the NHL and Chicago is one of the worst teams in the NHL. Once again, the Blackhawks take down the Penguins 5-3.

Chicago has won 10 consecutive games against Pittsburgh. The last time the Pittsburgh Penguins beat them in a game was on March 30, 2014. In all seriousness, what does would it take for them to win a game against this squad? It looked like the Penguins couldn’t be done with this game fast enough.

There is definitely a mental block for this team when they play the Blackhawks. Pittsburgh could be 80-0 and Chicago could be 0-80, but the Penguins would lose to them twice.

If you asked any Pittsburgh Penguins fans if they would rather play this team in a best of seven series this season or an impossible Tampa Bay Lightning team to beat in a seven game series, do you want to know who they would choose? The Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay isn’t in Pittsburgh’s heads like Chicago is. The Penguins would more likely get swept in a series to the Blackhawks than the Lightning.

At this point, what would it take for Pittsburgh to beat Chicago? Watching more and more film on them? Ask other coaches and players how to beat them? Take one of their star players out?

What is also more disturbing is that  the Pittsburgh Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup Championship team was honored before the game and that didn’t even inspire them to victory. Speaking of 2009, is the only way to inspire this team to beat Chicago is for owner Mario Lemeiux to send an inspiring message before the game like he did back in 2009 before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings?

Speaking of the Stanley Cup Finals if the Chicago Blackhawks ever faced the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, it would be a very quick series. The good news for Pittsburgh is that they won’t have to face them again until next season.

Bears Missed Field Goal Puts Eagles in NFC Divisional Round

For some teams, calling a timeout to freeze the field goal kicker works and sometimes it doesn’t work. The Philadelphia Eagles called a timeout with 10 seconds remaining to freeze Chicago Bears field goal kicker Cody Parkey. The 43-yard field goal he attempted went off the post and missed. Philadelphia hanged on for a 16-15 victory.

The Eagles took the lead in the fourth with 59 seconds remaining in regulation on a Nick Foles 2-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate on a fourth down play (missed 2-point conversion). Foles completed 25-of-40 passes for 266 yards two touchdowns and two interceptions. He rushed for -1 yards on one carry. Tate caught five passes for 46 yards receiving and a touchdown.

The first touchdown of the game came in the third-quarter on a Nick Foles 10-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Goedert and it gave them a 10-6 lead. Goedert finished with two receptions for 20 yards receiving and a touchdown. Alshon Jeffrey was their leading receiver with six receptions for 82 yards receiving.

Darren Sproles was the Eagles leading rusher with 21 yards on 13 carries. He also caught two passes for 14 yards receiving.

With the Bears trailing 10-9 in the fourth-quarter, Mitch Trubisky threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Allen Robinson (missed 2-point conversion). Trubisky completed 26-of-43 passes for 303 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for nine yards on three carries. Robinson caught 10 passes for 143 yards receiving and a touchdown. The rest was history.

The (6) Philadelphia Eagles (10-7) will be on the road next Sunday evening against the (1) New Orleans Saints (13-3). The (3) Chicago Bears (12-4) season concludes.

Chargers Strip Sack Seals Trip to AFC Divisional Round

The Los Angeles Chargers had a 20-point lead in the fourth-quarter against the Baltimore Ravens and it was eventually cut down to six. After Los Angeles couldn’t seal the win on the offensive side of the ball with under two minutes remaining, they had to make a stop on the defensive side of the ball.

With 28 seconds remaining on second-and-10 for the Ravens from their own 47-yard line, Lamar Jackson stepped back to pass and he was strip sacked by Uchenna Nwosu and Melvin Ingram recovered the fumble. This sealed a 23-17 win for the Chargers.

They kicked four field goals in the first half. Michael Badgley made them from 21, 53, 40, and 34 yards.

A lot of people thought that the Baltimore Ravens were going to pull Lamar Jackson from the game in favor of Joe Flacco after the first-half and it never happened.

Baltimore’s special teams came up large in the third-quarter. They blocked a field goal and a punt, but it only resulted in three points.

With the Los Angeles Chargers up 12-3 in the fourth-quarter, Melvin Gordon scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on a fourth-down play (Philip Rivers to Mike Williams). Gordon finished with 40 yards rushing on 17 carries and a score. He also caught one pass for three yards receiving.

Rivers completed 22-of-32 passes for 162 yards. Williams was the Chargers leading receiver with two receptions for 42 yards receiving.

With the Baltimore Ravens trailing 23-3 in the fourth, Lamar Jackson threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree with 6:40 remaining in regulation.

Jackson threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Crabtree with 1:59 remaining in regulation on a fourth down play. It wasn’t ruled a touchdown at first on the field, but the Ravens challenged the play and got the ruling in their favor. The rest was history.

The (5) Los Angeles Chargers (13-4) will be on the road next Sunday afternoon against the (2) New England Patriots (11-5). The (4) Baltimore Ravens (10-7) season concludes.

Prescott and Elliott Lead Cowboys Past Seahawks; Advance to NFC Divisional Round

For the second time in three years, the Dallas Cowboys would host a home playoff game but this time it would be against the Seattle Seahawks. Dallas defeated Seattle 24-22 and the Cowboys sealed the game on a Cole Beasley catch on an onside kick attempt by the Seahawks.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Allen Hurns made a 14-yard reception in the first-quarter and he had a gruesome leg injury. Hurns was carted off the field and game play was stopped for several minutes.

With Dallas trailing 6-3 in the second-quarter, Dak Prescott threw a 11-yard touchdown pass to Michael Gallup with 28 seconds remaining in the first-half. Gallup finished with two receptions for 18 yards receiving and a touchdown. Amari Cooper was the Cowboys leading receiver with seven receptions for 106 yards receiving.

Tyler Lockett returned a kick off 52 yards to the Dallas 49-yard line to set them up in good field position with 16 seconds remaining in the first-half. Sebastian Janikowski missed a 58-yard field goal before halftime and he pulled his hamstring in the process and Janikowski did not return.

With Seattle trailing 10-6 in the third-quarter, Russell Wilson scored on a 4-yard touchdown run (Mike Davis 2-point conversion).

Ezekiel Elliott scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on the Dallas Cowboys next drive. He finished with 137 yards rushing on 26 carries and a score. Elliott also caught four receptions for 32 yards receiving.

With Dallas leading 17-14 in the fourth, Dak Prescott was picked off in the end zone by K.J. Wright. Wright got away with pass interference on the play.

Later in the fourth on another Dallas Cowboys drive, the Seattle Seahawks had them stopped twice on third down, but two pass interference calls allowed the drive to be extended. Because of it, it set up a 1-yard touchdown run for Dak Prescott with 2:14 remaining in regulation. He completed 22-of-33 passes for 226 yards one touchdown and one interception. Prescott also rushed for 29 yards on six carries and a score.

With 1:22 remaining in regulation, Russell Wilson threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to J.D. McKissic on a fourth-down play (Chris Carson 2-point conversion). Wilson completed 18-of-27 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for 14 yards on three carries and a score.

McKissic caught two passes for 13 yards receiving and a touchdown. Tyler Lockett was the Seahawks leading receiver with four receptions for 120 yards receiving. Rashaad Penny was Seattle’s leading rusher with 29 yards on four carries. The rest was history.

The (5) Seattle Seahawks (10-7) season concludes. The (4) Dallas Cowboys (11-6) will either play at the (2) Los Angeles Rams (13-3) next Saturday night or at the (1) New Orleans Saints (13-3) next Sunday evening.

 

 

 

Colts Silence Texans; Advance to AFC Divisional Round

The Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans already faced each other twice in the regular season and each won one game against the other. They would be facing each other for the third time this season in the AFC Wild Card Game in Houston. The Colts scored 21 points in the first-half and that’s all they needed in a 21-7 win over the Texans.

On the opening drive of the game, Andrew Luck threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Eric Ebron. He caught three passes for 26 yards receiving and a touchdown. Later in the first, Marlon Mack scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. He finished with 148 rushing yards on 24 carries and a score. Mack also caught two passes for six yards receiving.

In the second-quarter, Andrew Luck threw a 18-yard touchdown pass to Dontrelle Inman. Luck completed 19-of-32 passes for 222 yards two touchdowns and one interception. He rushed for 29 yards on eight carries. Inman caught four passes for 53 yards receiving and a touchdown. T.Y. Hilton was Indianapolis’s leading receiver with five receptions for 85 yards receiving.

The (3)Houston Texans (11-6) lone touchdown of the game came on a 6-yard pass to Keke Coutee from Deshaun Watson in the fourth-quarter. The touchdown was reviewed and it looked as if Coutee lost the ball before he reached the end zone, but the play was upheld. Keke Coutee caught 11 passes for 110 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Deshaun Watson completed 29-of-49 passes for 235 yards one touchdown and one interception. He rushed for 76 yards on eight carries. Houston’s star players Lamar Miller and DeAndre Hopkins were held in check. Miller rushed for 18 yards on five carries and he also caught eight passes for 63 yards receiving. Hopkins caught five passes for 37 yards receiving.

The (6)Indianapolis Colts (11-6) pressured Watson a lot and he was sacked three times and it felt like more. They will be on the road in the AFC Divisional Round next Saturday evening against the (1) Kansas City Chiefs (12-4). The Houston Texans have been eliminated from the postseason.

Spurs Spoil Kawhi’s Return

The main headline heading into Thursday night’s contest between the Toronto Raptors and the San Antonio Spurs was that Kawhi Leonard would be returning to San Antonio for the first time since the trade that occurred over the summer. Danny Green was also a part of that trade in the summer as well.

They both received a video tribute before the game. Green received cheers from the fans when his named was called in the starting lineup. Leonard received boos from the fans when his named was called in the starting lineup. After all the pregame drama, the Spurs were energetic and crushed the Raptors 125-107.

This was DeMar DeRozan’s first game against his former team and he recorded a triple-double for the first time in his career. DeRozan scored 21 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, recorded 11 assists, and recorded two steals.

All of the Spurs starters scored in double figures. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points and recorded five assists. Rudy Gay scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Derrick White scored 19 points and recorded four assists. Bryn Forbes scored 20 points, grabbed three rebounds, recorded three assists, and had one steal for San Antonio.

They scored 29 bench points and Patty Mills scored 12 of them. He also recorded two assists.

Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points, grabbed one rebound, recorded five assists, and had three steals for Toronto. Serge Ibaka scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds.

Kyle Lowry did not play for the Toronto Raptors because of a back injury. He was clearly missed on the floor tonight. Fred VanVleet started in his place and he scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds, and recorded two assists. Pascal Siakim scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds, recorded seven assists, and had one steal.

Toronto scored 50 bench points. Delon Wright scored 15 points, grabbed four rebounds, recorded one assist, blocked one shot, and had one steal.

The largest lead of the game for the Toronto Raptors was just two points and the largest lead of the game for the San Antonio Spurs was 28 points. These two teams will play each other one more time this season in Toronto on Wednesday February 22.

The Toronto Raptors next game will be on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. The San Antonio Spurs next game will be at home against the Memphis Grizzles on Saturday night.