NFL RUSH

The Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Cleveland Browns in Week 17, cementing the Browns 0-16 season.
The Browns joined the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams in NFL history to go 0-16.

Steelers 28

Browns 24
Hey guys, Kid Reporter Solomon here! I will tell you why the Pittsburgh Steelers will go to Super Bowl LI. I think we have a great chance and I am not only saying this because they are my favorite team but I will spit facts for you.

Offense
When healthy we have the best offense in the league! This season Ben Roethlisberger was out for 5 games this season. Le'Veon Bell, Maurkice Pouncey, Kelvin Beachum, and Shaun Suisham were all out for the season. DeAngelo Williams was out Week 17 and Antonio Brown was out against the Bengals. Now with everyone back, Big Ben can be a MVP candidate, Antonio Brown will be breaking records, and Le'Veon Bell will be stronger than ever. With Maurkice and Kelvin back the O-line will be better and dominant.

Defense
The defense was ranked 5th in the run defense. That is good. The defense was ranked 30th in the pass defense. There will be changes for the safety and cornerback positions. To want a place on this team, players will have to be working harder than ever and that will make players on the Steelers roster put in work!

Draft Picks
Like I said our defense will needs lots of work in the secondary. Mike Mitchell puts in work and is underrated so why not pair him up with a stud. We are looking at safeties like Darian Thompson and Su’a Cravens. Su’a Cravens reminds a lot of people of Troy Polamalu and they want another Troy in Pittsburgh. But also, Darian Thompson is a turnover monster who we need to keep up with defenses in this league. I wouldn’t mind getting either but both would help our defenses. We also need a cornerback. The only corners who put in work is William Gay and Antwon Blake. We need a #1 cornerback on the team. Eli Apple or Tre’Davious White would be a good pick for the team as well.

Teamwork

The Steelers have great chemistry. Some of the problems are some players can’t pick up the slack for some players. Like when you think of losing a center you don’t think it is a big impact to the team because all centers do is hike the ball, right? When we lost Maurkice Pouncey. Not only is he a regular center, he is a pro-bowl center. Cody Wallace did decent but not outstanding. When a Steelers player is down, another Steelers player needs to step up. That is what we do in Steel Nation!

I told facts about how the Steelers will go to Super Bowl 51. Everyone thinks the Patriots will return but they won’t because the defense is overrated and the O-line will need improvements if they want to return to the Super Bowl. The Steelers keep doing it too because we will dominate next season, JUST WATCH!!!

-Kid Reporter Solomon
Last year the Kansas City Chiefs won their first nine games after having the worst season in franchise history the previous year. The Chiefs were the main example for an improving team, but they were not the only team to significantly improve. San Diego, Carolina, and New Orleans all had their teams reach the playoffs after missing the postseason the previous year. Here are a few teams that could take a big step forward.

1. New York Giants- The Giants have been up and down for the past 10 years, but last year was the worst season in the stretch. The team lost its first six games and finished the season 7-9. Quarterback and two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning threw 27 interceptions, most in the NFL, and only 18 touchdowns. That should change this year. After the woeful start, the Giants went 7-3 in their last ten games to close out the year. Manning will now have a dynamic rookie to throw to in Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle has potential as a starter. The offensive line, one of the worst in the NFL last year, added center Weston Richberg in the draft and guard Geoff Schwartz in free agency and the running game now has Rashad Jennings. The defense was solid last year after they traded for linebacker Jon Beason and the secondary is improved with the acquisitions of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond. Justin Tuck left, but if Jason Pierre-Paul stays healthy the pass rush could be scary. It also helps that the Giants are in the NFC East and have the pieces to run away with the division.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers- Like the Giants, Pittsburgh started last season poorly, losing their first four games. But in the second half of the season, the Steelers went 6-2 and were a San Diego loss away from making the postseason. The defense has improved with the additions of rookies Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt and veteran safety Mike Mitchell, and several young players could break out. If Jarvis Jones and Jason Worilds improve, the pass rush could be one of the best in the league. The linebacking core of Jones, Worilds, Shazier, and Lawrence Timmons is the strength of the defense and shows how the team is getting younger and faster. On offense, LeVeon Bell could emerge as a top running back. After his injury in the beginning of the season, Bell did very well and could be the center of the offense this year. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is still one of the best in the league and has a great receiver in Antonio Brown, who had 1,499 receiving yards last year. Look for the Steelers to contend for the AFC North and make the playoffs.

3. Baltimore Ravens- John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco both missed the playoffs for the first time in their professional careers after making the playoffs five times. Flacco gets some of the blame after throwing a career-high in interceptions, but plenty of other units get some of the blame. Ray Rice, usually one of the best runners in the NFL, had a terrible season, partly because the offensive line was awful. But there is a good chance of significant improvement. The offensive line was improved, meaning the running game should be better, and Steve Smith, the best player in franchise history for the Panthers, was added to make the receiving group more dangerous. Dennis Pitta, Flacco's favorite target, is now healthy and should have 700 yards and 5 touchdowns. The defense also has potential. The unit has gotten a lot younger and has rookie C.J. Mosley, Matt Elam, and Jimmy Smith complementing Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, and Haloti Ngata. The special teams unit is arguably the best in the league, with Pro Bowl kicker Justin Tucker, punter Sam Koch, and electric returner Jacoby Jones.

4. Houston Texans- In 2013, the Texans won their first two games... and then lost their next 14 games. The team got a lot better this off-season, especially the pick of Jadeveon Clowney and hiring of head coach Bill O'Brien. Clowney and former Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt could be the best pass rushing duo ever and will definitely be scaring quarterbacks for the next 10 years. O'Brien will improve the offense and needs to choose between veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, backup Case Keenum, and rookie Tom Savage for the starting quarterback job. Ben Tate left, but Arian Foster used to be one of the best running backs in the league. Andre Johnson, the best player in the history of the Texans, is in a contract dispute but should come back and can be one of the most consistent receivers in the league. Houston has been injury-plagued and Foster and linebacker Brian Cushing will need to stay healthy for the team to contend. But thanks to the hirings of O'Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and an extremely easy division, the Texans will have a bounce back year and could go to the playoffs.

5. Chicago Bears- For the majority of the 21st century, the Chicago Bears have been a defense-first team. But after Lovie Smith was fired, the focus switched. The team hired offensive guru Marc Trestman to improve their traditionally mediocre offense and it worked immediately. Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall had great years and Alshon Jeffery emerged as one of the elite wide receivers. And all of that was with a career backup, Josh McCown, at starting quarterback for most of the year, and now Jay Cutler is back from injury. The team was one win away from the playoffs last year and could win their division with their stellar receiver combination. The problem, surprisingly, is the defense, which was injury-prone for most of the Year and was near the bottom of the league in multiple statistical categories. The Bears did get help in the pass rush with the additions of Lamarr Houston and Jared Allen and the team has multiple young players who could emerge. Chicago has not lived up to expectations in recent years, but if they can dodge the injury bug they could win their division and make the playoffs.
Poll. Which team will struggle the most next season?

Free agency has pretty much come to a close with just a few well known names left such as Chris Johnson getting released by the Titans. And now that the big names have been signed you wonder what they are going to do for their teams next year. Sometimes when a free agent hits the open market a team signs the player and gets that difference maker they need. Other times teams sign a player with a lot of hype and they turn out to be a bust. So here are the teams who snatched those difference makers and the ones who grabbed a player who might have been over evaluated and how these teams will excel and struggle.

Teams that can excel this season:
Denver Broncos- It's hard to beat a record breaking season and a Super Bowl appearance but the Broncos had such a good free agency they can go back to the Super Bowl and win. They signed one of the best safeties in free agency ,TJ Ward, and they also picked up one of the best cornerbacks on the free agent market, Aquib Talib. But they surprised everyone by signing 3 defensive stars when Demarcus Ware joined Talib and Ward in Denver. Other signings were Emmanuel Sanders and Will Montgomery. All these players will improve the Broncos even though Knowshon Moreno and Zane Beadles both headed for Flordia. Talib will be a great cornerback in the system with Chris Harris and an upgrade from the aging Champ Bailey. TJ Ward will bring a new type of play into the safety position. Demarcus Ware will help the pass rush and compliment their defensive line. And finally Emmanuel Sanders will replace Eric Decker who signed with the Jets, at the number 2 receiver spot. With the Broncos new free agents they could do more than just go to the playoffs. They could be a top contender and threat especially with the other AFC west teams not being big factors in free agency. And with Peyton Manning and company already in Denver they can improve their already Super Bowl team.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Last season the Buccaneers were among the worst teams in the league. Then they fired head coach Greg Schiano and put Lovie Smith into that position and since then the Buccaneers have been rising. Free agency has been what now makes Tampa look like a more dangerous team. They grabbed Aluterraun Verner a young pro bowl cornerback to replace Darelle Revis and with Lovie Smith being a defensive coach he could develop him into more than just an elite corner. They also snatched Michael Johnson, one of the best defensive ends in the league, from the Bengals. They didn't just go all defense in free agency; they also got some free agents on the offensive side. They picked up what might be the starting quarterback for them next year in Josh McCown and they also signed left tackle Anthony Collins and tight end Brandon Myers. With Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, and a great offensive line already on the offensive side and Gerold McCoy and Dashon Goldson already on the defensive side combined with all of their free agent additions make them look dangerous. And now that they have released Darelle Revis and he has gone to New England they could maybe use the cap room for more great free agent moves to put the Buccaneers in the right direction.

Teams that will struggle this season:
Carolina Panthers- The Panthers went deep in the playoffs last season but in free agency they haven't gone deep to sign a player. The Panthers have an elite quarterback and a good defense but it looks like everything is falling apart on both sides of the ball. Their receiving unit fell apart when they cut Steve Smith, lost Dominek Hixon to the Bears, lost Brandon Lafell to the Patriots, and Ted Ginn to the Cardinals. Now they have a whole unit to build and so far all they've done is sign the aging Jerricho Cotchery and they have 3 more receivers to go. On the defensive side they put a franchise tag on Greg Hardy and signed Roman Harper from the Saints but they still have problems. They lost safety Mike Mitchell to the Steelers and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to the Vikings. Both were good players for the defense. Now because of all the free agent moves the Panthers are left with several positions in need. They need secondary help, wide receiver help, and right tackle help. Now they have to rely on the draft and even though it's deep I don't think it'll be enough to fix all the Panthers problems. This is when they really need Cam Newton to carry the team on his back. If that doesn't happen they'll be a disappointment but if he does it'll be a miracle.

Cinncinati Bengals- Another playoff team who has just not been a factor in free agency. The Bengals didn't end their season well last season and didn't start the season well either this season. They just haven't been active in free agency. They lost Anthony Collins their left tackle and cut both James Harrison and Kyle Cook which will definitely sting but the big loss was Michael Johnson. Johnson and Collins both went to Tampa but he was not only the starting defensive end he was an elite and some might say one of the best defensive ends in the league. All of those losses including them losing both their offensive and defensive coordinators will really hurt the Bengals. Now you're probably wondering if the Bengals fought back and signed new players. Well, they didn't. They have been one of the quietest free agent teams with a big cap space. Any other general manager would take that money and spent it on free agent talent. Over this span of time they have only made one significant free agent move by signing safety Daniel Manning. To add to that Andy Dalton is coming off a disappointing year and quarterback might be next on the list for team needs. That adds to a list of needs that includes another defensive tackle to help Geno Atkins, another defensive end, and a cornerback. The Bengals would have to be loaded with draft picks to at least get a couple good fits for those positions but they're not. Just like the Panthers I don't think the draft will fix all of their needs. It is deep and I think they could trade up to get a good quarterback or any other position but they'll have to develop them. Now that they are not in very good shape you'd usually rely on the quarterback but Andy Dalton has been struggling so if it's a rough ride for him next season it'll be a rough ride for the team.

All of these teams have been through great and not so great free agencies before so they know what they're doing. And for the teams that don't look very good at the end of free agency must have a secret when they're in the boardroom on draft day.

 

Poll. Who was the biggest winner of the first day?

Wow, where do we even begin?  With over 40 deals announced -- 20 in a 30-minute period! -- it’s safe to say yesterday was a busy day for the players, teams and fans of the NFL. 

 

Defense and protecting the QB were the names of the game on day one. So who's doing the best so far?

 

Denver Broncos

Can you say "all in?"  That describes the Broncos moves to make sure they not only make it to next year’s Super Bowl, but they come home as champions.  They signed two of the top available players in Pro Bowl CB Aqib Talib and S T.J. Ward.  It’s been widely reported that they are the favorites to add Pro Bowl DE DeMarcus Ware.  

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Don’t look now, but the Buccaneers have put together a defense that might just rate up there with the Seahawks and 49ers.  They added Pro Bowl DEs Michael Johnsonand Clinton McDonald to a line that already has Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy. They then snatch up CB Alterraun Verner to go along with last year’s free agent signing, SDashon Goldson, and young studs S Mark Barron and CB Jonathan Banks

 

Atlanta Falcons

For a team wanting to get tougher on both lines, the re-signing of DT Jonathan Babineaux, the addition of G Jon Asamoah and DTs Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai would suggest they did just that.

 

Offensive Tackles

Eugene Monroe (Ravens), Branden Albert (Dolphins), Jared Veldheer (Cardinals) and Rodger Saffold (Raiders) we all quickly signed to big money long-term deals within the first hours of the signing period.   Not too long after the intial flurry, Austin Howard (Raiders) was another offensive tackle heading to a new team.

 

Safeties 

Considered by many as the crown jewel of this year’s free agency class, Pro Bowl S Jairus Byrd signed a 5-year contract with the Saints.  He joined other coveted safeties T.J. Ward (Broncos), Louis Delmas (Dolphins), Mike Mitchell (Steelers), Ryan Mundy (Bears), and Stevie Johnson (Giants) who were added to rosters around the league.

 

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