Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has a reputation for making memorable speeches. Even if at times the substance isn’t fully decipherable.
I love Ray, and I love how he always spoke from the heart, but if you listened to those speeches, a lot of them didn’t even make sense, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said in 2013. He meant everything he was saying, but I didn’t know what he was talking about 90 percent of the time.
We’ve been waiting to unequivocally say Ed Oliver is the best player in the country for two long years, ever since he sacked Baker Mayfield twice in the first game of the 2016 season and it was pointed out that that was a true freshman out there, terrorizing Oklahoma and its future Heisman winner on national television in his college debut. After two years of watching the 6’3, 290-pound former five-star recruit slice through offensive lines that spent all week worrying about containing him, swim through the backfield with the agility of a cornerback and rip down ballcarriers with one hand, it’s clear now that there’s no one else like Oliver in the country.
His 39.5 tackles for loss over two seasons (2017 included a knee injury that held Oliver back in a couple of games) can’t be chalked up to the quality of his regular competition. In fact, in one sense the AAC, with its abundance of quick-strike offenses and shifty playmakers, is the perfect setting to marvel at the way Oliver storms the pocket with no regard for who’s trying to block him, blowing up plays before they get off the ground.
The Falcons have never renegotiated a contract with more than a year remaining, per Schultz, but they have promised Jones a renegotiation after this season.
Despite the news, which surely doesn’t sit well with Jones, the Falcons still hope the five-time Pro Bowler will report to training camp on time next week. Jones has spoken to head coach Dan Quinn, and agent Jimmy Sexton has had a number of conversations with the front office, according to Schultz.
Jones has participated in quarterback Matt Ryan’s annual passing camp with the team’s other receivers in Los Angeles.
With the Rams, 49ers, Chargers and Raiders all offering compelling storylines and the promise of the playoffs, 2018 is shaping up to be the most anticipated season ever for pro football in California. The MMQB’s Andy Benoit is diving into those storylines for our special offseason project: California Week. Check back regularly for more.
One thing that made Saleh an appealing D-coordinator candidate was his willingness to diversify his scheme just enough to not be predictable. But that diversity would stem more from his safeties in coverage and linebackers on blitzes. For D-linemen, the task was consistently clear: penetrate gaps. That’s the hallmark of many 4-3 schemes, as opposed to a 3-4, where D-linemen are asked to clog multiple gaps. This in mind, the NFL was eager to see how Saleh would repurpose his talented defensive linemen.