Posts by Millissa Beaton

Is Ryan Grigson holding the Indianapolis Colts back?

The Indianapolis Colts played the New England Patriots and lost. Why did the Colts' defense seem to do so little in the game against Brady and the Patriots?

In the 2015 NFL Draft, I imagine Colt fans were puzzled at the team’s draft choices and free agent signings. It seemed evident that strengthening the defense would

The Indianapolis Colts played the New England Patriots and lost. Why did the Colts’ defense seem to do so little in the game against Brady and the Patriots?

In the 2015 NFL Draft, I imagine Colt fans were puzzled at the team’s draft choices and free agent signings. It seemed evident that strengthening the defense would be something the team would endeavor to do after the blowout loss to the Patriots. Surely, Ryan Grigson the team’s general manager would try to fix the disparity between a very talented offense and a defense with as many holes as it had. He brought in free agents in Trent Cole (OLB), Kendall Langford (DE), and Nate Irving (ILB). Obtaining Frank Gore should help the offense eat a little more clock and give the defense more of a rest. They will help the team, but filling needs via free agency does not always bode well for the team. Ask Andy Reid about the dream team he bought and paid for. Moreover, it is expensive and a huge gamble.

What happened in 2014? Kevin Bowen of Colts.com said: “After seven games in 2014, the Colts defense ranks in the top five of the following categories: points allowed (4th), yards allowed (3rd), takeaways (5th), sacks (2nd) and third-down conversions allowed (1st).” It is difficult to understand what happened; however, facing elite quarterbacks like Tom Brady can have that effect on teams. Still, some of the responsibility falls on the defense. Grigson will have to draft for needs instead of paying millions to a couple of players.

It has been said that offense wins games, but defense wins championships. When quarterback Peyton Manning and wide receiver Marvin Harrison were released, Colts owner Jim Irsay said that he jettisoned Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison because Star Wars numbers did not mean anything to him. He wants Super Bowl trophies.

What kind of moves has Grigson made? One of the most notable decisions is the signing of safety Mike Adams. The majority of moves and the draft were on the offensive side of the ball though. The team must learn its lesson. Ryan Grigson, the coaching staff, and front office executives want Super Bowl titles but are going about it the wrong way through free agency. The solution is to procure long-term defensive talent through the draft to help complement a top-tier offense. Until the team embraces this, Super Bowl rings are not in the cards for the Indianapolis Colts.

Millissa Beaton is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. Follow her on Twitter @SportsWizard28

Millissa Beaton

I Love My Kansas City Chiefs. I enjoy talking sports and am also writing about them too. Everyday I want to improve. I value my friends, family, working out. Batman, Star Wars & X-Files fan. I want to work in the field. I am forming my own radio show with my good friend @tweaked74 . Give us a listen to learn about what your favorite team is doing. We will have great guests and would love to hear from you! Go to Blogtalkradio.com

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Justin Houston: Demystifying the Franchise Tag

When Justin Houston signs his franchise tender, he will be due 13.3 million. The compensation figure comes from an average of the top five players salary at that position. Houston led the NFL last season with a total of 22 sacks. He broke the club record once established by the late Derrick Thomas. One more

When Justin Houston signs his franchise tender, he will be due 13.3 million. The compensation figure comes from an average of the top five players salary at that position. Houston led the NFL last season with a total of 22 sacks. He broke the club record once established by the late Derrick Thomas. One more and he would have matched or maybe broken the record of Michael Strahan. There has been some confusion on exactly what Justin’s status is. The goal here is to bring awareness and just the facts without the acrimony. Some fans are calling Houston lazy, that he only cares about money, and should be at every practice and OTAs, regardless of his contract status. I do not share the opinion of fans who think he owes them 24/7.

First, we shall define the franchise tag and the different types of tag used by teams. The NFL introduced the franchise tag in 1993. There are two types of franchise tag designations: the exclusive rights franchise tag, and non-exclusive rights franchise tag:

From the Wikipedia definition: “An “exclusive” franchise player must be offered a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position as of a date in April of the current year in which the tag will apply, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. Exclusive franchise players cannot negotiate with other teams. The player’s team has all the negotiating rights to the exclusive player.”

“A “non-exclusive” franchise player must be offered a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five cap hits at the player’s position for the previous five years applied to the current salary cap, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. A non-exclusive franchise player may negotiate with other NFL teams, but if the player signs an offer sheet from another team, the original team has a right to match the terms of that offer, or if it does not match the offer and thus loses the player, is entitled to receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.”

The Chiefs have used the non-exclusive franchise tag on Justin Houston. This means that he is entitled to receive offers and, again, sign an offer sheet as listed; the Chiefs have a right to match the offer or receive the two first round draft choices as compensation. Few teams attempt to sign such a player because of the high price. Is Justin Houston worth the high price? I would say yes; however, the cost is steep. Moreover, whatever the cost, that team would have to negotiate a contract with him very quickly. As a Chiefs fan, I would sincerely hope the team does not decide that he is expendable. Houston is entering the prime of his career. There are teams out there that dream of having one pass rusher half as good as Houston. If the team decides they cannot keep him, they had better get something worthwhile in return.

“Under the Capped years, a team can designate one additional player only as a transitional tag. A transition player must be offered a minimum of the average of the top 10 salaries of the prior season at the player’s position or 120 percent of the player’s prior year’s salary, whichever is greater. A transition player designation gives the club a first-refusal right to match within seven days an offer sheet given to the player by another club after his contract expires. If the club matches, it retains the player. If it does not match, it receives no compensation.”

Right now, Justin is not under contract, but the Chiefs hold his rights. Houston shouldn’t be criticized for wanting a raise. Some fans forget the expectations for Houston when he entered the league. A first round talent from Georgia, he slipped to the third because of drug charge for having marijuana. Since then, he hasn’t had a single red flag against him. He does not have a contract and will continue to be without the contract until he signs the franchise tag they used to retain his services back in March. Justin is a consummate pro and is staying in shape, regardless of the perception of fans.

He has until the tenth week of the season to sign and receive credit for a full season, a requirement to get to the goal of free agency in 2016. Does this mean he will sit out of practices and games until the tenth week? Maybe. He could sit out, but it might also send a signal to teams considering signing him next year. I doubt his agent would advise him to do so. Nevertheless, he is free to make the choice and the Chiefs can only wait until he signs the tender.

The tag situation is complex. By exploring the meanings of the various tags and how they apply in this situation, perhaps you will have less anxiety, and Chiefs’ fans can begin looking forward to the start of the season.

Millissa Beaton is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. Follow her on Twitter @SportsWizard28

Millissa Beaton

I Love My Kansas City Chiefs. I enjoy talking sports and am also writing about them too. Everyday I want to improve. I value my friends, family, working out. Batman, Star Wars & X-Files fan. I want to work in the field. I am forming my own radio show with my good friend @tweaked74 . Give us a listen to learn about what your favorite team is doing. We will have great guests and would love to hear from you! Go to Blogtalkradio.com

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A change of scenery

 

The offseason has been an interesting one for Jordan Cameron. First, he signed with the Miami Dolphins after it was reported he would stay in Cleveland. Cameron believes the Dolphins' offensive scheme is much like the one he played in during Norv Turner’s time as Browns' offensive coordinator. In 2013, Cameron played in 15

 

The offseason has been an interesting one for Jordan Cameron. First, he signed with the Miami Dolphins after it was reported he would stay in Cleveland. Cameron believes the Dolphins’ offensive scheme is much like the one he played in during Norv Turner’s time as Browns’ offensive coordinator. In 2013, Cameron played in 15 games for the Browns and had seven touchdowns. He blames the lack of production prior to 2013 to Cleveland’s revolving door at Quarterback. Cameron had 8 different starting Quarterbacks during his four seasons in Cleveland. That is a lot of turnover.

His lack of production in 2014 may have been a fluke, along with missing several games due to a concussion. Cameron knows he must prove his toughness and show he can play through lesser injuries. If he is able to play sixteeen games consistently, he could be a pro bowler. If he finds himself making the same excuses next season, talking about the reasons why he didn’t play sixteen games, and blaming his former team, it won’t be appreciated. Coaches care about what you do. They care about how hard you work, your fitness, and doing the little things. (catching extra balls after practice, studying your playbook, etc) NFL teams don’t want excuses.

Ryan Tannehill, Cameron’s new QB, is a reason for optimism. Tannehill has not missed a game in three seasons. Finding a rhythm with one quarterback may lead to big production, the playoffs, and more. Ryan Tannehill has shown he loves his tight ends. The Dolphins former tight end, Charles Clay, had 63 receptions in each of the last two seasons as a Dolphin.

The Dolphins signed Cameron because they believe that his size, large hands, and large catch radius will create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. They have faith in Cameron, or he would not be in Miami.

Will Cameron be able to finish a season healthy or at least be able to play through lesser injuries?  This is the unknown, as Jordan has not be able to play an entire season. Will he make his first pro-bowl? It is a bit too early to tell. But if he cannot finish a season by playing in sixteeen games; it seems unlikely.

Millissa Beaton is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. Follow her on Twitter @SportsWizard28

Millissa Beaton

I Love My Kansas City Chiefs. I enjoy talking sports and am also writing about them too. Everyday I want to improve. I value my friends, family, working out. Batman, Star Wars & X-Files fan. I want to work in the field. I am forming my own radio show with my good friend @tweaked74 . Give us a listen to learn about what your favorite team is doing. We will have great guests and would love to hear from you! Go to Blogtalkradio.com

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Turnaround: Why Alex Smith will succeed in 2015

I know many a Chiefs' fan got tired of hearing about the Chiefs being the only team since 1940 to go without a touchdown from a wide receiver. Injuries and an inability to get open downfield were the primary causes. It might surprise you that in 2012 Alex Smith completed 70.1% of his passes. (65.3%

I know many a Chiefs’ fan got tired of hearing about the Chiefs being the only team since 1940 to go without a touchdown from a wide receiver. Injuries and an inability to get open downfield were the primary causes. It might surprise you that in 2012 Alex Smith completed 70.1% of his passes. (65.3% in 2013) He was very good in 2012 before his injury. This season, more speed down the field, the game opening up due to the team signing Jeremy Maclin, and an improved offensive line should allow Smith to survey through his reads rather than running for dear life and open up the field for playmakers like Maclin, Travis Kelce, Jamaal Charles, and DeAnthony Thomas.

Jeremy Maclin may be the number one reason I expect a turnaround in Smith’s play. Last year, no Chiefs’ WR caught a TD, which allowed defenses to focus on their other weapons like Kelce and Charles. Maclin, who was coming off from ACL surgery the year before, and was playing on a 1-year contract in Philadelphia, had the best year of his career. He was the #1 WR on the team for the first time in his career and caught 85 balls for 1,318 yards and 10 TDs. That is an average of 15.5 yards per catch, and he did it multiple ways. Maclin is a complete receiver, who can play all three WR positions. He is a very good route runner who knows how to take advantage of less experienced or talented corners and safeties. He can catch a screen pass or a 5-yard slant and take it 80 yards for the score, or he can burn his man deep with a double move, catching a deep pass over his shoulder. Maclin is a consummate professional and a good teammate. His presence should open up, not only the other receivers as he draws double teams, but the middle of the field to free up Kelce more often. Jamaal Charles catching the ball out of the backfield will have less attention on him as well as the secondary will have to account for Maclin.

Travis Kelce is one of those rare players who raise the stakes for Smith. Kelce is 6’6 and has many referring to him as Zeus. He did not start the nickname; but he likes it. Over the middle or at the sideline, he can do it all. He had sixty-seven catches with five touchdowns and 862 yards receiving and an average of 12.9 yards per catch. Kelce has good speed to go along with good blocking downfield as well. He has been watching Tony Gonzalez footage of 1997-2008 in the offseason. This does it for me. For Chiefs’ fans (and many football fans), Gonzalez is the gold standard for Tight Ends. Kelce has such high football character with natural instincts, ideal size, and large hands. He will continue to provide Alex Smith with an option rather than just a check-down back or a wide receiver comeback pass. Travis often turns two-yard gains into 5 or 6 yards. That adds up and makes it easier for the team to convert third downs.

I expect Jamaal Charles, healthy once again, will be used much as Andy Reid used Brian Westbrook late in his career. He will still carry the ball, however, catching the ball out of the backfield on flares and swing passes, Charles still has the speed and agility to take a short pass the distance. With Maclin drawing attention from the secondary, and Kelce establishing himself as one of the top TE weapons in the league, defenses can no longer focus solely on Charles, and that should make him more effective than ever.

Andy Reid is critical to this as well. This will be the third season in Reid’s version of the west coast offense. Reid is one of the best coaches in the game and turned around a 2012 Chiefs’ team that had two wins to 11-5 in 2013 and a playoff game against the Colts. They lost that game but not by any fault of Smith’s, who apart from a fumble, played a great game. Andy Reid is the man and author of his own slant on the west coast offense, and that leads to wins. Wins usually equal more fans in the seats of Arrowhead again. That is the stuff of magic. Reid found 137.7 decibels created a home team advantage few other stadiums could match. Arrowhead established in the 90’s that loud was really loud. Andy is a player’s coach. Players want to give more and truly be team players. He will tell you what is expected. He will tell you to be yourself and have fun. We have seen more of that in the last two seasons than ever.

Finally, great special teams can go a long way. In 2013, Special Teams coach Dave Toub did a lot with very little. He used Dexter McCluster and Knile Davis returning punts and kicks. Toub did so well the Tennessee Titans paid Dexter big money to do the same for them. Toub is a mad scientist of special teams coaching. Last season, general manager John Dorsey treated Dave Toub to DeAnthony Thomas from Oregon in the fourth round of the draft. Toub and Reid are building the team with players built for Reid’s offense. While McCluster was decent, Thomas has more game speed, and he can run through tackles. From his first preseason game, when he ran back a punt for a touchdown to his ability to take passes in space and create huge mismatches, he regularly gave the offense great starting position. Smith will be the biggest benefactor of this in 2015.

The Chiefs have a chance to be special in 2015, and I feel confident that Smith is primed for a very big year.

Millissa Beaton is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. Follow her on Twitter @SportsWizard28

This piece was co-written by Lijah Spencer – @tweaked74 on Twitter

Millissa Beaton

I Love My Kansas City Chiefs. I enjoy talking sports and am also writing about them too. Everyday I want to improve. I value my friends, family, working out. Batman, Star Wars & X-Files fan. I want to work in the field. I am forming my own radio show with my good friend @tweaked74 . Give us a listen to learn about what your favorite team is doing. We will have great guests and would love to hear from you! Go to Blogtalkradio.com

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My Rookie Crush Revealed

The cat is out of the bag. I have revealed my rookie crush for new Chiefs DB, Steven Nelson. If you are not as familiar with him, he is a defensive back the Chiefs selected in the third round in this year's NFL Draft. Steven played two years at The College of the Sequoias in

The cat is out of the bag. I have revealed my rookie crush for new Chiefs DB, Steven Nelson. If you are not as familiar with him, he is a defensive back the Chiefs selected in the third round in this year’s NFL Draft. Steven played two years at The College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California to help better his studies before transferring to Oregon State. Sometimes, people think a junior college player may not be as accomplished; but that was not the case here. After completing his studies, Oklahoma and USC, amongst others, offered him scholarships. Nelson chose the Oregon State Beavers.

Nelson looks to add to the Chiefs secondary in 2015

I have not spoken to him; but when we drafted him, I wanted to learn all about him. Ever since I started my introduction to scouting class, I have added watching game film to my analysis, and when I put on the tape, I came away with the following: Nelson is a physical corner and will make anyone work for a catch. He high points the ball well when playing against much bigger opponents. For instance, he held former Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong without a touchdown catch. In 2013, out of 14 passes defended, six were interceptions. In 2014, he had two interceptions. Remember Chief fans, six interceptions during the 2014 season. Yes, we need guys with ball skills. In addition, he has good run coverage. He will wrap up and effectively tackle the ball carrier. He did not miss a tackle last year at Oregon State.

Nelson is quick, however; if Phillip Dorsett has him beat, he will not be able to catch him. He has good game speed though. He looks faster than a 4.4 40-yard dash on tape. I don’t know about you; but a good friend who is now a coach told me once, “Sometimes you may not be the fastest or most skilled, but if you are prepared to work, game on.” I’m not saying he is the next Deion Sanders, but I do see Steven has good, natural instincts. He will, no doubt, make some mistakes, but he was taken because he has great football character and good instincts. He wants to be a great football player. Adding him and Marcus Peters to a secondary with Phillip Gaines and Sean Smith can only help. He is wearing #20. Remember that, you will need it when you place your order for a Chiefs’ @Nelson_island jersey.

Want to let me know what you think? @sportswizard28

Millissa Beaton is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. Follow her on Twitter @SportsWizard28

Millissa Beaton

I Love My Kansas City Chiefs. I enjoy talking sports and am also writing about them too. Everyday I want to improve. I value my friends, family, working out. Batman, Star Wars & X-Files fan. I want to work in the field. I am forming my own radio show with my good friend @tweaked74 . Give us a listen to learn about what your favorite team is doing. We will have great guests and would love to hear from you! Go to Blogtalkradio.com

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In step with JJ Birden

 

JJ chats with me on everything from running track at the University Of Oregon, catching passes from Joe Montana, and everything on his new book due this June.

 

MB: Firstly, allow me to thank you kindly for agreeing to speak to me this afternoon. Which sports did you play growing up?

JB: I did gymnastics

 

JJ chats with me on everything from running track at the University Of Oregon, catching passes from Joe Montana, and everything on his new book due this June.

 

MB: Firstly, allow me to thank you kindly for agreeing to speak to me this afternoon. Which sports did you play growing up?

JB: I did gymnastics for 2 years; however, not many people know. I played baseball. I played football from my sophomore year of high school through college and nine seasons in the NFL.

 

MB: Wow, I would not have guessed gymnastics; however, I know it is common for kids to play two sports. What lessons do you feel sports taught you?

JB: I learned how to focus, setting up time management, teamwork, as it is not all about you. In addition, once I reached my goal I knew I had to repeat the whole process.

 

MB: At the University of Oregon you were an All American in Track And Field. Which events did you do?

JB: I ran the 4X100 meter relay, the 110 hurdles and the long jump.

 

MB: That sounds like fun; however, very busy.

JB: It was and I enjoyed it.

 

MB: You said you walked on the football team your second year at Oregon?

JB: Yes, I really wanted to join them my freshman year; however, it was not allowed for freshman at the time.

 

MB: During the NFL Draft you were selected by the Cleveland Browns in the eighth round?

JB: Yes, I was.

MB: That had to be exciting! During my research for our interview, I learned you only had two practices for the Browns before sustaining the ACL tear. You were preparing for the Olympic trials at the time. How did you handle that? I imagine that had to be disappointing to say the least! Yet, you made a way.

JB: Well, it ended my track career immediately. Later, I thought to myself; NFL, you injured me and now you are stuck with me!

 

MB: I really admire that. Many people would have been adrift after that. I have no idea what I would do in that situation. But you set new goals and went forward. I respect your ability to do so.

JB: Thank You.

 

MB: What do you think of the Chiefs currently?

JB:I think they have a good team. They have a good QB in Alex Smith; good rushing game with Jamaal, excellent defense and a great special teams. I was happy to see them sign Jeremy Maclin. I believe they need to continue to add playmakers on both sides of the ball. I look forward to the draft. I played with four different teams in the Browns, Cowboys, Chiefs and Falcons; but the Chiefs are my favorite team.

Birden amassed 3400 yards in seven seasons as a Chief.

 

MB: Do you see any similarity to yourself and DeAnthony Thomas?

JB: I see some similar qualities.. He has great speed and is great at making people miss. I believe you will see him improve this season. He is now in his second season in this system, and that will help him.

 

MB: JJ, do you stay in touch with your teammates?

JB: Yes! Social Media has brought about so many opportunities. It is a great thing and helps us to be better at staying connected. It used to be much more difficult.

 

MB: In today’s NFL there are so many things happening. Do you feel that an owner can be overly involved in the running of their team? I mention Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins as an example. Moreover, how do some compare or contrast to Lamar Hunt?

JB: I think so. Lamar was great that way. He did not stand in the way. Carl could do his job. Marty had freedom to coach. Players could play. Lamar believed in hiring great people, and then, he allowed them to do their job. Some owners get too involved and it affects their team.

 

MB: Speaking of the team, how did it feel in that huddle the miracle win at Mile High? What was that huddle like?

JB: It was surreal. Joe was great in the huddle. His calm in the huddle carried over to the rest of the team. You knew he could march down the field and score. We knew it and went about our jobs. It was great to win because there had been four games I had been part of and we had lost them. Elway had the same sort of gift for winning like Joe. I was happy to win that game.

 

MB: The Chiefs play the Lions next season in the UK. What do you think of playing overseas? In addition, do you think a team will be set up there in the next few years?

JB: I think it is great. We played a few games overseas; I played in Japan with the Browns. I played in Germany and London with the Chiefs.

 

MB: Since you retired, what have you been up to? I know you are working on a book; tell me about it.

JB: I work with Isagenix in the Health & Wellness industry. They focus on four main solutions. First: Weight Loss. Second: Energy and Performance. Third: Healthy Aging. Fourth: Wealth Creation. I am also doing some motivational speaking in reference to my nine seasons in the NFL.

 

MB: That is great and rather unselfish. You are helping others recognize the signs. I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity to seek my dreams, too.

JB: Oh, I am glad. My new book, When Opportunity Knocks; 8 Surefire Ways to Take Advantage (Pre-order Here) will be available in June.

 

MB: Why do you think we fail to take advantage when opportunity arises?

JB: That is a good question. Well, I think sometimes we do not know. We are scared. We don’t know what our passion is. We allow others to silence us.

 

MB: I know you have a big family; how do you stay close?

JB: We have dinner every Sunday Evening. We do not restrict other activities the kids do; but we save Sunday nights for dinner because we know we will not always have the opportunity to be together like this

 

Millissa Beaton is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. Follow her on Twitter @SportsWizard28

Millissa Beaton

I Love My Kansas City Chiefs. I enjoy talking sports and am also writing about them too. Everyday I want to improve. I value my friends, family, working out. Batman, Star Wars & X-Files fan. I want to work in the field. I am forming my own radio show with my good friend @tweaked74 . Give us a listen to learn about what your favorite team is doing. We will have great guests and would love to hear from you! Go to Blogtalkradio.com

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