Cleat Geeks

LSU Tigers Team 2018 mid-Summer Outlook

Uncertainty continues to surface the LSU Tigers program after an up-and-down season last year in Coach Orgeron’ s first full year as Head Coach. The Tigers had high hopes with a strong roster and a challenging SEC West division but that all came crashing down after their embarrassing home loss to the Troy Trojans of the Sun Belt conference on September 30th. This was the first time ever that a ranked team like LSU (ranked #24 at the time) loss to a Sun Belt team. This season, there are more questions than answers revolving around the stability of the program from the players to the Head Coach. There are many problems and holes that the Tigers must solve in order for their season and their hopes to remain intact, not only for this season but for the future.

 

Tigers are facing severe lack of Running Back experience

For years, the LSU Tigers offense has been dictated by the efficiency of their run game. They have had many powerful, fast Running Backs that have gone to the NFL including Spencer Ware, Leonard Fournette, and Derrius Guice. Since the 2013 College Football season, their offense has either been ranked 29th or better in rushing yards per game. For the first time since the 1974 season that the LSU Tigers do not return a Running Back that accounted for a rushing touchdown from the previous season. This comes at a difficult time for the Tigers as they are still trying to figure out who will be their starting Quarterback when the regular season kicks off on September 2nd against the dreaded Miami Hurricanes defense.

The top returning rusher from last year was Nick Brossette, who only accounted for 96 rushing yards on 19 rushes. He was the 5th leading rusher of last season behind Darrius Guice’s 1,251 yards and Darrel Williams’s 820 yards. Quarterback Danny Etling rushed the ball 72 times for 128 yards during either Quarterback sneaks for escaping pressure. Last season, there were times where Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada would insert multiple schemes that have the Wide Receivers, primarily Russell Gage, would run jet plays. Gage accounted for 232 rushing yards and a touchdown on 28 rushes.Image result for steve ensminger lsu

With a new Offensive Coordinator in Steve Ensminger, the Tigers will likely run a more traditional style of run plays that the team is more accustomed to. The lack of experience from Brossette and sophomore Running Back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who accounted for 31 yards on 9 rushes last season, will make the main attack game of the offense more difficult to utilize. With the main offensive identity being in the run game as well as the fact that the Tigers are still deciding on a starting Quarterback, this may be a rough year for the Tigers to create a high-power offense. This remaining offseason will be focused on building off the potential and talent of Brossette, Edwards-Helaire, or a younger player ready to explode.

 

Will White, Lawrence, and newcomers continue success at the pass rush?

Image result for rashard lawrence lsuOne of the main attributes that make the LSU Tigers is how they have been a consistent developer of NFL talent. This year is no exception with the potential of CB Greedy Williams, S John Battle, and LB Devin White. Every year, the Tigers have a high-level talent in their pass rush with last year having DE/OLB Arden Key. This past season, the LSU Tigers were tied for 17th in the nation in total sacks accounted for with 35 sacks. This season, however, there seems to be a concern of the lack of players who can make a big impact in the pass rush game. White is the leading sacker from the previous season with 4.5 sacks (4th highest last season) as he spent time at the Middle Linebacker position. The Tigers lost Arden Key and DE Christian LaCouture, who were the Tigers main pass rushers.

DE Rashard Lawrence is the Tigers sole returning Defensive Lineman that started last season but he will need to create more of an impact in the pass rush as he accounted for 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Breiden Fehoko will be getting the start for the Tigers as he was sitting out last season as a transfer from the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The main position for the Tigers to address in the pass rush is the Buck Linebacker (hybrid Defensive End/Outside Linebacker). Last season, K’Lavon Chaisson accounted for 27 total tackles, 9 solo tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 2 pass deflections as a reserve for Arden Key. This position is important because much is demanded from the Buck as they must know the entire Defensive playbook, play multiple positions in formations, and be a leader on the defense. The defense was very efficient in every phase of the game as they were 14th in the nation in points allowed per game (18.9) and 12th in total yards allowed per game (316). The pass rush is the beginning of the success on defense, if Lawrence, Fehoko, and Chaisson are the trusted starters, the Tigers must train efficiently throughout the remainder of this offseason.

 

Coach Orgeron needs to take control of his team

There were high hopes for the Tigers last season with a highly-talented roster including a rare efficient Quarterback-Running Back combo in QB Danny Etling and Guice. Those dreams came crashing down when the Tigers suffered an embarrassing loss at the home to the Troy Trojans on September 30th to fall to a 3-2 record. Before that game, there was reported tensions and conflicts between Head Coach Ed Orgeron and Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada. The conflicts involved the systematics and philosophy of the offense that Matt Canada established in his offense from the offseason prior and how Orgeron wanted to run a more pro-style run setting.

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Photo by; Sports Illustrated

This not only caused friction in the coaching staff but also with the players and divided the fans so early in the 2017 season. The loss to the Troy Trojans wasn’t the beginning of the problems with LSU but it was where the conflicts were the most vocal. Fans did not like the predictable of the season and how inefficient the Tigers were to get a drive going. On the other hand, fans were more upset about how Coach O was limiting Canada on his job of expanding his multiple formations offense.

Now that Coach O has Steve Ensminger as his Offensive Coordinator, there will be less tension with the coaching staff. The problem with Coach O and his style of coaching is that he does not give his coaching staff much freedom to expand on their philosophies. Ensminger is running a pro-style offense, mainly focused on the running game, the main focal point of Coach O. If the Tigers want any chance of success in the SEC West then he will need to trust his coaches and run their systematics that they have trained all offseason for.

 

Coach O might be under the hot seat already

This season is not a now or never for Coach O because of the problems of the offenses in the upcoming season. Tiger Nation, however, is starting have serious doubts that he will bring them back SEC West contention days with Les Miles as Head Coach. They are noticing the cracks that were brought on but Coach O had brought on. In the 2018 recruiting class, the LSU Tigers had the weakest recruiting class they have had in the past couple of seasons by being ranked 15th in the nation including the signing of only 1 five-star athlete. There may be a chance that recruits are looking at the recent downfalls of the LSU Tigers in regards to their coaching staff power struggles and the emergence of other teams and may sign with those teams.

One more 9-4 or 8-5 season may not get Orgeron the boot as Head Coach but he will certainly be further judged by the administration. He cannot control his team and get them to the National Championship title contention like he promised then this may be the last full season as Head Coach. Much like they did with Les in the middle of the 2016 College Football season.

Hazen’s Offensive Counter to Dodgers Landing Machado Should Be Methodical

With a Manny Machado trade to the Dodgers finalized, Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager, Mike Hazen, shouldn’t be too far behind in making a counter move to help bolster a need in the infield, more specifically, a right-handed platoon bat at third base considering starter Jake Lamb currently has only 3 extra-base hits, 0 HR, 3 RBI, to go along with a .182 avg in 44 at-bats against LHP this season.

Putting pitching needs aside, since we’ll talk about those that are on the trading block next week, and with starting outfielders David Peralta, A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza all finally healthy for the first time this season, if the D’backs make a move to help upgrade the offense, it should be in the infield where 3B Jake Lamb has proven to be a less than capable bat against lefties and SS Nick Ahmed and 2B Ketel Marte’s have endured struggles against righties this season. One could argue that there could be a need at catching, but with the D’backs so headstrong on defensive minded receivers behind the dish, it would be a mild surprise if they add a piece there mid-season.

With all that being said, here’s a list of five infielders who are probably more recognized as second or third tier players (AKA not the big names like Dozier or Moustakas), but who can first and foremost find playing time at third base as an offensive upgrade against lefties, with a few of the names listed being versatile enough to also be used in a pinch elsewhere around the diamond without being exposed:

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Photo by;Zimbio

Eduardo Escobar (Twins)- The Twins seem to be in full sell mode as the deadline nears and Escobar’s name has been popping up regularly as he’s a versatile defender to go along with a very solid bat. Eduardo has played all infield positions this season besides first, on top of that he’s currently leading all of baseball in doubles, with 35. Four more than anyone else. On the season, the switch-hitter is hitting .280 with an OPS of .893 vs RHP, compared to .250 and 200 OPS points lower against LHP. Only 15% of his extra-base hits (8 of 52) have come against lefties, even though he’s faced them 32% of his at-bats. It would be interesting to see how the Dbacks would integrate him into seemingly an everyday role if acquired by the team. As an everyday player this season, mostly at third base, the switch-hitter has made only three errors in the field but his below average range is evidenced by him being the only one of the four whose defensive WAR is in the red (-0.1). He’ll become an UFA at the end of the season.

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Photo by; CBC.ca

Yangervis Solarte (Blue Jays)- The 31-year-old switch-hitter has played primarily at 3B while filling in for injured starter Josh Donaldson most of the season, but has also seen time at all four infield positions over the first half of the season. Yangervis is only hitting .241 on the season, but has 16 HR and 48 RBI to his credit, even though he’s currently mired in the worst slump of his season. Solarte didn’t hit lower than .250 in any of the first three months of the season, but is currently hitting .154 so far this month. With an unusually low month of July BAbip of .167, and no real increased spike in strikeout rate, one would think it’s safe to assume that his offense will come around again sooner rather than later. With his defensive flexibility around the diamond and his ability to hit LHP – 7 HR, 21 RBI, .728 OPS (Lamb: .561 OPS) in 124 at-bats this season – Solarte would be a nice fit for the Diamondbacks. There is a $5.5M club option for next season, which could be declined with a $750,000 buyout.

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Photo by; Star Tribune

Ehire Adrianza (Twins) – Claimed off waivers from the Brewers prior to the start of the season, Minnesota’s switch-hitter is proving more than capable of handling his own against LHP. While it doesn’t come with power (0 HR) in 56 at-bats against lefties, Ehire’s currently hitting .321 with an OBP of .377, to go along with an .823 OPS, which is nearly 300 points higher than Lamb’s .525. Adrianza, who’s under team control for the next two seasons, has mainly played shortstop this season but has also seen time at third & second.

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Photo by; Baltimore Sun

Danny Valencia (Orioles)- Would be a nice right-handed platoon bat to team with Lamb at third, as Valencia’s historically known to be a lefty killer. Entering the All-Star break, the Oriole is hitting .295 with an .890 OPS to go along with 6 HR &15 RBI in 95 at-bats vs LHP this season. Over his career, Danny has hit .316 with an OPS of .872 & 67 HR (22 less than against RHP in half the at-bats) in his career against southpaws. The 9-year journeyman currently is on his seventh team, and second go around with Baltimore, will be a free agent at the end of the year and should be someone that Hazen is kicking the tires on.

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Photo by; Infield Fly Rule

Sean Rodriguez (Pirates)- While the current .145 hitter also hitting only .167 last season – DON’T CLOSE YOUR COMPUTER…HEAR ME OUT – Rodriguez has always done one thing fairly well, hit lefties. Over the last two seasons, Sean’s hit .107 against righties with a combined OPS hovering around .400 (terrible). In limited playing time the past two seasons due largely to injuries, Rodriguez has a combined OPS around .850 (very good) vs LHP. For comparisons sake, not only does he year in year out hit better against lefties than Chris Owings, Sean’s career OPS of .762 is 101 points better than C.O.’s. His OPS of .914 this season is even 50 points higher than Daniel Descalso’s. Last season, GM Mike Hazen acquired the least expensive bat on the trade market in Adam Rosales to plug a short-term need at SS. If he chooses to go in a similarly frugal path to last season for an infield need such as a platoon 3B, the Pirates would be more than willingly to ship him out of Pittsburgh for probably nothing more than a couple $100,000’s in cash considerations as Sean will be an free agent at seasons end.

With the D’backs missing out on the Machado sweepstakes and currently half a game back in both the division and second Wild Card, it might behoove Mike Hazen to, at the very least, make a move for a decent bat that could provide an upgrade offensively at third against lefties in the coming days and not wait until the last day of the month as the D’backs tries make a run at back-to-back postseason appearances for only the second time in the franchises 20-year history.

 

(Updated prior to Friday’s games)

 

Tomahawks and Touchdowns: Defense Breakdown

The Kansas City Chiefs season is quickly approaching with rookies reporting to training camp on Sunday. The Chiefs defense is one of the biggest question marks entering camp. Last season they were ranked 28th in total defense. This season the defense is a big area of concern. The Chiefs will need the defense to improve this season if they hope to advance deep into the playoffs.

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The defensive line will look different this season. Bennie Logan was the starting defensive tackle last season but joined the Tennessee Titans in free agency. Defensive end Rakeem Nunez-Roaches started in 11 games last season but was released by the team during the off-season. Xavier Williams signed with the Chiefs and should be the starting nose tackle. Chris Jones and Allen Bailey are expected to be the starting defensive ends. They also added rookies Dee Liner and Derrick Nnadi who could make an impact this season.

The linebacker corps is another group that will have a lot of turnover this season. The Chiefs released Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson during the off-season. Dee Ford and Justin Houston should be the starters at outside linebacker again this season. The Chiefs signed Anthony Hitchens during the off-season. He will join Reggie Ragland at the inside linebacker position. Second round pick Breeland Speaks could see playing time this season.

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The secondary is the position group with the most questions. The Chiefs lost cornerback Marcus Peters in a trade during the off-season. Cornerback Darrelle Revis also saw playing time last season but retired after 11 seasons in the NFL. Kendall Fuller and Steven Nelson are expected to be starting cornerbacks. David Amerson, Will Redmond and Keith Reaser should all compete for playing time at cornerback. At safety the Chiefs released their starting free safety from last season Ron Parker. Leon McQuay appears to be the next in line to replace him. The Chiefs will get strong safety Eric Berry back after rupturing his Achilles in the season opener last year. Daniel Sorenson started at strong safety last season and he should see some playing time in certain packages.

The defense has a lot of changes entering the upcoming season. There were a lot of players lost during the offseason on all levels of the defense. The Chiefs will need to have a strong performance from their defense to have success this season.

Why Rob Manfred Is Wrong About Mike Trout

Does baseball have a marketing problem? This is the claim made in defense of radical new proposals to the sport. Extra inning games can be long for example. Should we start players on base to start the free innings? Extra seconds apparently bore people. The Commissioner’s Office wants to talk about pitch clocks and penalizing batters like Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner for taking extra seconds at the box.Image result for rob manfred

This is what we’re led to believe is the problem.

If we look around to other sports, there are clear ambassadors of the sport. The NFL has players like Tom Brady and the NBA has Lebron James, among numerous other talented players.

We know that baseball has Mike Trout, but for some reason, he’s not considered one of those huge names in sports that even non-fans know.

Why?

The Commissioner, the leader and boss of the league, chimed in before the All Star Game:

“Player marketing requires one thing for sure—the player. You cannot market a player passively. You can’t market anything passively. You need people to engage with those to whom you are trying to market in order to have effective marketing. We are very interested in having our players more engaged and having higher-profile players and helping our players develop their individual brand. But that involves the player being actively engaged.”

This is all wrong. Does the Commissioner even know what his job is?

Mike Trout is a player and an extremely talented one at that. He puts up monster numbers and is having a historic career. He is not only doing his job, but better than many of his peers and those who took the field long before him.

And Rob Manfred says Trout isn’t doing enough?

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Photo by; Heavy.com

If Trout were a pitch clock, Manfred would be aggressively pushing him. If Trout were an extra runner being started on base to kick off the eleventh inning, Manfred would be advertising him. If Trout were taking mere seconds extra at the batter’s box, Manfred would be making an example out of him.

But when Trout is being one of the best, if not the best, ambassadors of the brand, he’s still not doing enough.

The point is that if anyone isn’t doing their job, it’s the Commissioner. Mike Trout’s job as a player is to play the game. He’s an entertainer and an athlete. When he takes the batter’s box or steps onto the field, fans know it’s a unique experience. This is because Trout is among the best.

If the Commissioner’s job isn’t to market baseball and show the world the best of what they have to offer, what is the point in Rob Manfred’s position?

I Don’t Understand Why The Jets Chose This Guy?

In 2015 the New York Jets picked Devin Smith in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. He was a promising receiver from Ohio State. While at OSU Smith put up the following numbers in his 4 year collegian career, he had 121 receptions for a total of 2,503 and 30 touchdowns.

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Photo by; Maddie Meyer

Since joining the Jets, Smith was unable to stay healthy or even stay on the field. Since being drafted in the above mentioned 2015 draft, he had played in only 14 games and caught even a lower number of passes with 10. Smith has suffered a major knee injury twice since joining the Jets. I get the fact that because of those injuries Smith has kept him off the field and thus kept him from being a productive player for the Jets. The part I don’t get, is who they made the roster move for. They dropped Smith to sign Brandon Bryant, a safety from Mississippi State. My confusion has nothing to do with where he came from, Mississippi State is a fine program, but is Brandon a fine person?

I ask because of his track record. Bryant has struggled with football, and with life in general since the same year Smith joined the Jets, 2014. Bryant started his downward spiral when his father died in a car crash in 2015. Dealing with a death, especially the death of a parent can be life altering as a young impressionable college kid. I understand that. But the downward spiral continued. Later on, Bryant was arrested for driving under the influence. He then allowed himself to be academically ineligible the following year. Therefore, he declared for the NFL’s supplemental draft that happened last week. Not one NFL team took a chance on him, and they all had a shot. Doesn’t that raise a red flag?

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So Bryant must have had eye-popping numbers for Mississippi State…right? Not really, he played in 37 games and had 157 tackles in three seasons. So no, nothing eye-popping, just average stats.

Here is my problem with this, the message it sends to our young people. You can become academically ineligible, have a drinking problem and still be chosen over an injured player. If the ceiling was out of site for the new person, then I might be able to buy what the Jet’s are selling, as purely a business decision, but it is not. The message it sends is wrong. Plus, the Jets used their top two picks in the 2017 draft on safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.

The Jet’s are essentially trading an injured good kid for kid who is healthy, yet makes bad decisions. I will literally take the bad with the good, and would have chosen Smith to stay on my roster. I am all for a second chance, but he must be remorseful in order to get that second chance.

Am I looking at this wrong? Do any of you see this decision from the Jet’s opinion? If you do tell me what I am missing in the comments below.

The 2018 All-Star Game Was Absolutely Electric

Some people would rather read or watch highlights about the All-Star Game because there is no more incentive if you win. If you love baseball, however, you should be watching it. It may be because they are young but the All-Stars have come to compete. To them, many on good teams, each time they are on the field they are out there to win. This drive is what caused the youth movement in the MLB and ultimately in the viewership as well (Not marketing the sport correctly has all that’s stopped it from attracting mass amounts of young viewership).

To start the game, Max Scherzer looked like he was in the zone. Striking out Betts and Altuve back-to-back, he ended the inning after a Jose Ramirez pop-out after previously surrendering a walk to Trout. You can tell how much this start meant to him, pitching in his hometown stadium.

Chris Sale looked locked in as well. After surrendering a base hit to Javier Baez, Sale got Arenado and Freeman to pop-out and struck out Goldschmidt. Sale looked tired of the narrative that he can’t pitch in big games (See; 2017 playoffs) and came out with his A-game.

Up comes Aaron Judge. Judge, who has a flair for the dramatic, hit a moon shot off Scherzer to start the second inning. Judge is becoming a national treasure and you couldn’t be happier for the guy.

The soon to be Dodger/Yankee/Phillie Manny Machado popped out and Scherzer handed Jose Abreu a strikeout. The 5-time straight starter Salvador Perez had a productive at-bat but ultimately struck-out, leaving Scherzer with 2.0 innings pitched, 4 strikeouts, 1 ER.

Severino came in relief for the AL. Matt Kemp hit a beauty off Severino and earned himself a base hit. Kemp is hitting .310 this season after a resurgence in LA. Severino struck out Bryce Harper with a nasty slider and got Nick Markakis (Nicky CAKES) to pop-up. He ended the inning striking out Crawford.

deGrom came in and immediately got Betts to fly out. He has been a Cy-Young contender this year despite being on a losing Mets team amidst trade talks. He followed up with getting Altuve to hit an infield fly ball.

Trout decided to show the world why he is the best player in baseball, period. He took a Degrom hanging slider to the bleachers, hitting a solo blast to tie the game. He eventually struck out Martinez.

Wilson Contreras joined the party, hitting a solo shot off Snell on a first-pitch strike. Contreras loves hitting AL pitchers, as he has dominated them all season. Snell finished the inning getting out Baez and Arenado, walking Goldschmidt, and getting Freddie Freeman to ground out.

Mike Foltynewicz came into his first All-Star game with a sub-3 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 120 strikeouts. He started his inning with a bang, striking out the dangerous Jose Ramirez. He walked Judge but was able to get out Machado and Abreu.

You have to be happy for Max Muncy. Seems like a genuinely nice guy who is finally healthy and succeeding in LA. Snell struck him out for his second strikeout. Harper struck out again, Markakis walked, and Crawford struck out to end the inning.

The next Notch didn’t come until Trevor Story pulled a hanging breaking ball off Charlie Morton in the bottom of the second, tying the game at 2.

Immediately following that inning Jean Segura opened up the scoring by sending a 3-run home run to the seats off Josh Hader.

This slugfest was just getting started, with a home run by Scooter Gennett to tie the game at 5 in the bottom of the night. The top of the tenth saw a pair of home runs from Alex Bregman and George Springer to take an 8-5 lead. Joey Votto led off the bottom of the 10th with a solo shot, but it wasn’t enough. The American League beat the National League 8-6 to end the 2018 MLB All-Star Game.

MLB Honors USA At All-Star Game

Major League Baseball will recognize 30 Medal of Honor recipients in our nations capital on the field during the 2018 All-Star Game festivities tonight.

Image result for Staff Sgt. Clinton L. RomeshaOne of the oldest honorees is Cpl. Hershel Woodrow Williams, 94, who received the Medal of Honor for his brave efforts in Iwo Jima in February 1945. Williams was “instrumental in neutralizing one of the most fanatically defended Japanese strong points encountered by his regiment,” according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s website.

Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha, 36, is one of the youngest honorees. Romesha earned his Medal of Honor after fighting members of the Taliban in October 2009 in Afghanistan. Despite suffering shrapnel wounds, Romesha courageously fought to secure a combat post, according to the website.

A video commemorating the honorees will feature narration by four-time Academy Award nominee and Georgetown University graduate Bradley Cooper, who starred in American Sniper.  A group of local choirs, led by CEO of NEWorks Productions Nolan Williams Jr., will perform the national anthem.

“These extraordinary veterans are national treasures and we are honored by their attendance. I hope this stage provides an opportunity to recognize their unmistakable commitment to our country and start the 89th MLB All-Star Game in an inspiring and patriotic way,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.Image result for Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha

The Medal of Honor is the highest and most prestigious decoration awarded by the United States military. It celebrates “valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.”

The 30 recipients in Tuesday’s ceremony served in the armed forces during conflicts ranging from World War II to Iraq.

“Medal of Honor recipients are honored to be included in the All-Star celebration of America’s favorite pastime sport, Baseball,” said Drew Dix, president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, in a statement.

In addition to the pre-game festivities, MLB also honored the U.S. Armed Forces with the inaugural All-Star Armed Services Classic, an exhibition game that took place between members of the Air Force and the Army at Nationals Park on Friday.

The 30 recipients who will be in attendance are as follows:

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Bennie Adkins
Donald BallardImage result for all-star armed services classic
Harvey Barnum, Jr.
Gary Beikirch
Edward Byers
Bruce Crandall
Roger Donlon
Michael Fitzmaurice
Robert Foley
Harold Fritz
Charles Hagemeister
Thomas Kelley
Charles Kettles
Gary Littrell
James Livingston
Walter Marm, Jr.
James McCloughan
Melvin Morris
Robert Patterson
Leroy Petry
Alfred Rascon
Gordon Roberts
Clinton Romesha
Gary Rose
Ronald Rosser
Clarence Sasser
Kenneth Stumpf
James Taylor
Brian Thacker
Hershel “Woody” Williams

JJ Watt Continues To Show True Compassion

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has donated $10,000 to help the family of a Wisconsin firefighter killed in an explosion.

A natural gas leak in downtown Sun Prairie led to an explosion Tuesday evening that claimed the life of Sun Prairie Fire Department Capt. Cory Barr. He leaves behind a wife, Abby Barr and 3-year-old twin daughters, who, according to Abby Barr, would shout “Daddy’s home!” whenever he walked through the door.

Kate Cichy, a spokeswoman for GoFundMe, said in a news release Wednesday evening that Watt has donated $10,000 to the GoFundMe for Barr’s family. She added that the Sun Prairie community has already raised nearly $70,000 for the family.

Watt is not only a Wisconsin native but he also played college football for the University of Wisconsin. The explosion, which injured 15 and killed Barr, occurred on the corner of Main and Bristol streets after a gas main was struck by a contractor, which caused a leak. Sun Prairie is located near Madison, which is where the University of Wisconsin is located, and about 60 miles from Watt’s hometown of Pewaukee.

Barr had been a member of the Sun Prairie Fire Department for 15 years. He was also a realtor and owner of The Barr House tavern, which was one of the buildings destroyed in the explosion.

Watt’s donation is just one of over a thousand that have been made to support Barr’s family during this tragedy. But Watt’s donation also may have more of a personal connection as his father was also a firefighter. He did so after a woman tweeted him for his support.

In my opinion, the best part about this is that Watt has not yet made any public comments about the donation. He is gracious with his money, and does it for the absolute right reason. Not to be noticed, or to have people heap praises on his massive shoulders, but because it is the right thing to do. This is not the first time that Watt has donated money or time to a worthy cause. He helped raise over $37 million for those affected by Hurricane Harvey and he donated $10,000 to a Texas student who was injured during a football game.

I understand that he has made, is making and will continue to make much more money than most people reading this article. And before you criticize him because of that, we here at cleatgeeks will allow you to do a smaller part money wise, but no lesser part according to your financial means. Barr’s GoFundMe page has raised over $190,000, most of it by average people like you and I. Every little bit helps, and cleatgeeks would like to spread the word, and help all of the effected people in this tragedy that was brought to our attention by Watt’s generous donation. Therefore, GoFundMe has created a centralized page for all GoFundMe campaigns involving the Sun Prairie explosion. To donate click here.

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals struggled again last week only winning two of their six games. They started the week on the road against the Minnesota Twins. The Royals won one game in the three game series. The weekend series was on the road against the Chicago White Sox. They lost two of the three games in the series. The Royals current record is 27-68. They are tied with the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in baseball.

Salvador Perez will be the American League starting catcher for the fifth season in a row. Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos was the winner of the fan vote but needed to be replaced after he suffered a hamstring injury on Saturday. Perez is the only Royal on the All-Star roster this season. It is the first time since 2012 that the Royals will only have one representative on the team. Perez has a .250 batting average and one home run in five All-Star appearances.

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Whit Merrifield was considered one of the snubs for the All-Star game roster. He is in the top five in the American League in doubles and stolen bases. He would have been able to provide depth at second base and in the outfield. Second base is one of the most competitive positions in the American League. Jose Altuve, Jed Lowrie and Gleyber Torres were all named to the All-Star game. Merrifield has had a strong season but did not make the All-Star roster because of the exceptional talent at the position around the league.

Jorge Bonifacio has played well since he returned to the team on June 29th. Bonifacio was suspended to start the season. This season he has a .306 batting average and one home run. He should see a lot of playing time because of the injury to Jorge Soler. Bonifacio could have a big impact on the Royals this season and in the future.

The Royals will have a break for the All-Star game until Friday. Their only series this week will be at home against the Minnesota Twins. The Royals are 3-3 against the Twins this season. Alex Gordon will be a player to watch in the series. In 27 at bats against the Twins this season he has a .333 batting average and one home run. The Royals will look to get back on track after the all-star game.

What does Murray’s Retirement Say About The Current NFL?

Image result for demarco murray college

Photo by; NewsOK

DeMarco Murray is calling it a career after only seven seasons in the league. The former three team running back made his announcement during NFL Live on ESPN on Friday. While in the NFL he played for the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans as a running back.

“I think it’s time for me to hang it up, as hard as it is,” Murray said. “It’s bittersweet, but I think for me, it’s the right timing for myself and my family moving forward.”

Murray was a three-time Pro Bowl selection who began his career with the Cowboys as a third-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2011. He led the NFL in rushing in 2014 with 1,845 yards on 392 carries, the most attempts of any player since 2000. While playing for Dallas in 2014 he won both the NFL rushing title and Offensive Player of the Year honors. He was a dominant force that season for the Cowboys, who went 12-4 to win the NFC East.

He was then signed to a five-year, $42 million contract with the Eagles in 2015, but managed just 702 rushing yards on 193 carries (3.6 yards per carry) in an acrimonious year with then-coach Chip Kelly. Murray was subsequently traded to the Titans the following off-season and enjoyed a career resurgence in his first season in Tennessee, rushing for 1,287 yards on 293 carries.

The Titans couldn’t wait to add Murray as a running threat to help protect quarterback Marcus Mariota in the 2016 season. Behind a revamped offensive line, Murray proved very durable, playing through a torn plantar plate in his right foot. Murray led the AFC and was third in the entire NFL with 1,287 yards rushing on 293 carries. It was the second-most carries of his career and his second-best rushing season.

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Photo by; SI.com

“I think you just wake up,” Murray said. “I’ve always heard the saying when you know, you know, and one day that day will come, and for me it was the last year or two. … I’ve been constantly thinking about this. Working out still, in great shape, feel great and it’s time.”

Murray, 30, lost his job to Derrick Henry last season and was due to make $6.25 million this season when the Titans let him go. He ran for 659 yards and six touchdowns last season. He dealt with a knee injury late in the year, and missed the Titans’ final regular-season game and two playoff contests.

“I just woke up a couple weeks ago and it started to burn and burn and trigger and it got deeper, so this morning I decided to call it a career.”

But last year was problematic and ended in injury. He was released by the Titans in March and did not sign with another team. And now, without a team or a job, Murray is leaving football.

“I’m very blessed to have had the coaching staff and the players and teammates that I’ve been fortunate to play with the last seven years of my career,” Murray said. “It’s been a long time thinking the last year or two physically, mentally, emotionally. I think it’s time for me to hang it out there. As hard as it is … the fans have been great. I had a lot of great games and a lot of great teammates. It’s bittersweet, but I think for me it’s the right timing for myself and my family moving forward.”

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Photo by; SB Nation

What Does This Say About The Current NFL?

1)      The running back position or virtually any other position on the football field is hard on a person’s body. It was not like he was not, at least at times, a successful running back. He led the league one of the seven years he was in the NFL.

2)      The NFL is a young man’s game. Thirty teams could have signed Murray, and all of them choose not to. And they basically had four months to do so. I am sure Murray saw the writing on the wall and decided to call it a career.

3)      The offensive lines are more important in the current state of football than the running backs. As long as the lines can make a hole for the back, almost anyone can run through it.

4)      The league is shifting to a pass heavy offense. Even running backs must be able to catch the football. And they must also be able to block defensive players not only protecting the quarterback, but also giving that same quarterback a few extra seconds for a play to develop downfield.

5) These players want to be tough, want to contribute and want to win. But in 2016 in the first year with the Titans he fought through an injury to prove himself to his new team. Did that fight lead to the other injuries that now caused the Titans to release him? We may never know, but playing through injuries for the Titans may have cost him millions of dollars.

Do you think the retirement of DeMarco Murray says something else about the current NFL product? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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