Andrew Luck

After letting it all play out and sink it, I can respect Andrew Luck’s decision to retire and that some of
the circumstances were out of his control in regards to the news getting out.

The Colts acknowledged that it was known and in the process of becoming known to his teammates
so it wasn’t just a “walked out” on his teammates before the season started. While the crowd was
clearly pissed, when it is dropped on social media during a game (clearly Luck does not know this
straight away) then an emotion driven reaction is always going to occur.

Rather than focus on the negatives and all the “drama click bait” what needs to be the focus is that
he felt that there was a cycle he couldn’t break without walking away from football. While people
will say how weak he is to walk away from football, they do not understand the physical demands
and toll his body has taken. No one gets publicly ridiculed when they change jobs as they “can’t get
along with their boss” or “it is too draining”. The element of directly comparing yourself to someone
else is “apples to oranges”. No circumstance let alone person will be identical. Yes he is lucky
enough to have his degree and money from his career but he has earnt that right. Maybe the
bashers of luck are more focussed on “what they don’t have” in comparison rather than the true
reasons why he walked away. I personally respect the decision and hope that he has a fruitful and enjoyable post football life.

Collect Like a Patriot; A formula to collecting

The New England Patriots have been regarded as one of the best organisiations of the 2000s on the back of their run of championships. Many have analysed the model or system that they have incorporated and have applied it to multiple areas of life. The premise of this article is to look at the hobby of card collecting and building your collection and offering ways that the reported “common principles” could be applied to your collecting endeavours.

Know your “system” inside out
When people discuss the Patriots system, they talk about how well Bill Belichick understands what is required of his players in his “system”. He does not get caught up in all the “hot” things in the league, he sticks to his lane.

Collecting application – Find your niche. Often people returning to the hobby, or those that have been in it for a while, get caught up chasing the hot player in every product or even trying to collect their guy in every product produced (even I have been guilty of this). This is expensive and often an endeavour that leads to a lot of money spent for little return e.g. boxes ripped and not hitting the guy, breaks you have skunked in, paying marked prices on that player around release.

I have been lucky that I have found my niche (or atleast a couple of areas). Prizm football is my product of choice and I have worked to ensure that I know it inside out and back to front in terms of SPs, SSP color, variations, box ratios for inserts etc. The idea behind this is I enjoy putting sets together and like to hunt for deals.

Acquire “talent that fits your system”
Coach Belichick doesn’t use a “jam a square peg in a round hole” approach to building the roster, Anyone bought in to the organisation has a perceived skill set that is required. If his system requires a certain style of Cornerback e.g tall or long; he isn’t signingdrfting a 5’9 guy.

Collecting application -As above, he get caught up in the hot things and can often decide to add things that don’t fit our collections (to then turn and sell often for a loss). Your Personal Collection (PC) is yours so collect what you love and want. While some items can be flipped for short term profit or you get it right on a guy and can gain some long term profit, you can often take a hit. As much as we want to talk about investing in cards, I work on the idea that the majority of things I buy will depreciate in value. As soon as you cut the box wrap, you are operating at a loss of the box price.

Ignore the noise
When questionable things have happened to the Patriots or they have made a questionable decision e.g. Using rules that are not commonly known, going for 4th downs or even the amount of different “gates” they have been caught up with. They keep doing what they do, they do not seem to be influenced by people outside the organisastion.

Collecting application – Social media has meant that we can see all the cards around the world being hit, get collecting information and interact with many people. We need to realise that their are often agendas as well. The Investing accounts that gurantee the returns, hobby saviours, breakers who are a business in the end of the day (Sorry to my friends that are breakers but it is true). With the amount of information and posts, we can get swayed into ideas of what we should collect or how we should collect.

Project 2020 is an example where there are people who missed the early flip and profit and are stuck with selling cards at a loss. Breakers who “pull fire” and have the hottest hands influence where we should break as we are chasing the hits that we have seen and already pulled – the boxes and packouts are done with odds so it is all chance on the cases of cards they get. The Bounty on a card by a distributor or card shop has people chasing the lottery ticket (but you are buying at marked up retail price to get a card to sell back). In the end of the day, we are humans and can get caught up in things (reading back above, it could be a rant haha) but our collections is for us and we can share it. People will flex but in the end of the day, if you need to be negative in the hobby, maybe you should check out your reality and why you feel the dopamine hit of a negative comment is required…..

Low risk bargain shopping (depreciated market value)
The Patriots annually get an article or two about how smart they are with the free agent market by signing a high profile player (or swinging a trade) by buying when the market has settled. Think about all the Cam Newton stuff currently.

Collecting aplication – First thing that comes to mind here is don’t buy on the secondary market around release. Everyone is scrambling to make their money back by being the first to ebay or comc with crazy marked up BINS. Everyone of us that has sold cards knwos that feeling of hitting stuff you don’t want in breaks (think random teams and you get a team you hate) and you are trying to recoup your money to buy PC stuff.

Second thought I have on this relates to picking up things before the booms (or if you are going to prospect, have a plan). Perosnally I missed the 2012 Prizm football boom and will have serveral Tom Brady cards that will be “future OZ’s problem”. Often there will be players in sets about to retire, close to records or signing contracts (think Mahomes new deal) and the market goes crazy. Sometimes it is get in after release when the price has settled.

Propsecting I am not an expert at (or even experienced as a novice haha) but would recommend having convictions and be willing to take the hit if it doesn’t work out (and be comfortable). Similar to the Chad OchoCinco and Albert Haynesworth trades that Patriots made years back. They gave up low round draft picks for the talent, it didn’t work out and they cut them with no real impact on the team from an asset point of view.

Moving your assets while the market is high
Drew Bledsoe, Richard Seymour, Chandler Jones and Deion Branch are just some of the players they traded away from the team at a time perceived to early by fans (even Bledsoe with Brady as a fan favourite). The Patriots received great compensation in return and most deals look like a great move by them (Chandler Jones may be the exception in terms of his age and performance since leaving but financially it was the right move) as the Players appeared to “not be as great as they were”.

Collecting application – There will be cards that we deem that we no longer want or want to shake up our collections. If this is the case, sitting on a card that has market value hoping it will climb and we can cash in might not be the best way to go as the market might crash as people move on to the next “hot thing”. Twitter is full of the “man I sold to early on this card” threads. My response (often told I am too philosophical or I take it to seriously) is Cash in hand is better than a piece of Cardboard. While everyone wishes they held their Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes rookie year cards, clearly you got a great deal to sell them and hopefully used the money to add pieces to your collection. One injury (or career circumstance) and a player’s market may no longer exist e.g Mark Grace in baseball, RG3 and Andrew Luck markets in football.

The 24 hour rule
Often in books and articles, Belichick seems to refer to having 24 hours to celebrate or dwell on a loss and then it is back to work (most coaches seems to adopt this mindset). This allows us to go through the emotions and move on without questioning the past.

Collecting application – The examples above, don’t focus on the “money you could of had”. If Mahomes ended up a bust, you paid overs to proably get those cards you made a profit on. If you end up making a trade, don’t track the progress of the cards values for the rest of your life. What will happen is you will second guess your choices in collecting and get frustrated living in the “:what if”. It could also lead to questionable decisions chasing the next hot thing or paying crazy prices on breaks for the teams or player that is the next big thing – think the 16 year old in Bowman.

To wrap this up, I hope this offers some entertaining insight. I am no means an expert, I am just a crazy Aussie who collects pieces of cardboard with pictures of athletes on (paying $1AUD for 70 cents USD so often a 30% increase in the price). It is something I enjoy and I would say my collection (and often my thoughts or opinions) are truly unique.

Allen and Ginter Baseball – Niche or Pure Madness

With the upcoming release of the 2019 instalment of Topps Allen and Ginter Baseball and subsequent release of the checklist, I wonder if I am the only one wondering if it has gone too far (or off topic).  It is has always been known for the amount of mini cards (wood, metal), the rip cards and random insert series that make up the set but often the Autograph set has had some unique stars to chase from different pop culture genres (examples below);

2011 edition included Stan Lee autos

2008 edition included Joey Chestnut

2015 edition included Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren as their Rocky 4 characters

2018 edition included Method Man

It also has become filler autos with Topps employees (cool concept and I get why) as well as a bunch of authors and sports writers/ESPN personalities.  With the new release, has it gone more filler than bang?

The list of autos below from the checklist release

Non-Baseball Framed Mini Autographs Set Checklist

MA-AA A.J. Andrews – Softball Player
MA-AC Augie Carton – Brewer & Podcast Host
MA-BF Brian Fallon – Musician
MA-BRO Burton Rocks – Sports Agent & Author
MA-BS Ben Schwartz – Actor & Comedian
MA-CM Charles Martinet – Video Game Voice Actor
MA-DC Danielle Colby – Reality TV Personality
MA-DD Drew Drechsel – American Ninja Warrior
MA-DR Dan Rather – TV Journalist
MA-EJA Emily Jaenson – Minor League Baseball General Manager
MA-GE Graham Elliot – Chef & TV Personality
MA-GV Gary Vaynerchuk – Entrepreneur
MA-HD Hailey Dawson – First Pitch Celebrity
MA-HF Harrison Ford – Actor
MA-HK Hilary Knight – Hockey Player
MA-JB Justin Bonomo – Professional Poker Player
MA-JC John Cynn – Professional Poker Player

MA-JL Jay Larson – Comedian
MA-KS Kyle Snyder – Freestyle Wrestler
MA-LC Loretta Claiborne – Special Olympics Athlete
MA-LR Lawrence Rocks – Chemist & Author
MA-MCO Mason Cox – Australian Rules Footballer
MA-MM Matthew Mercer – Voice Actor & Dungeonmaster
MA-MO Mike Oz – Baseball Card Video Host
MA-MS Mayumi Seto – Topps Artist
MA-MSU Marc Summers – TV Host
MA-QX Quinn XCII – Musician
MA-RB Rhea Butcher – Comedian
MA-RM Rodney Mullen – Professional Skateboarder
MA-RO Robert Oberst – Professional Strongman
MA-SMJ Sister Mary Jo Sobieck – First Pitch Celebrity
MA-TF Thomas Fish – Owner, Blowout Cards (Bonus)
MA-TK Tyler Kepner – Baseball Writer
MA-VS Vincent Stio – Umpire Fan

Harrison Ford jumps out as the big auto to chase with the rest leaving me not impressed.  This isn’t a shot at people as they probably do deserve it but shelling out $100US or whatever for a box and hitting an auto of an Umpire fan or something isn’t really fulfilling as a collector.

Being an aussie the Mason Cox auto is cool and niche, Danielle from American Pickers is also a niche chase as a fan of the show.

The Gary Vaynerchuk auto is an interesting one in terms of link to the hobby.  An entrepreneur with ties back to collecting in the 80s; he has really popped up in hobby circles in the last 6-9 months.  While he sees it as an investment, he has been speaking about the next 3-5 years in the “investment” term.  Whilst I interact with his content, it has me wondering since he does mention when the next economic down occurs, material things will be impacted, just like trading cards and their value.  I look forward to hearing the keynote VIP speech from the National on his many platforms as well as his experiences at the National but I have to wonder – why are Entrepreneurs speaking about the future of the Industry and not the companies themselves.  Either they have no idea (the companies) or are too preoccupied with printing money to want to forecast it.  Either way it won’t impact me in my collecting ways.

This is just one of the releases that make me wonder what the end goal was for it – To cater to a niche market or just chase dollars in a hobby that seems to be seeing more and more overproduction in regards to products.  Are we heading back to the junk wax era?  History has a funny way of repeating itself over and over – just ask any entrepreneur.

Observations from the Rear View Mirror – Denver Broncos


The Season that was….

The Sheriff’s last stand, Peyton Manning gets his second Super Bowl ring. This is how some people will remember the Denver Broncos season.  It should be remembered as a strong defense carrying the Broncos through the playoffs.  Von Miller’s play-off performance must rank up with the best defensive efforts all-time for an individual across a play-off series.  Although Manning ended up on the bench for part of the season, the emergence of young talent was on show week in and week out of the Broncos season.

D ware

The bright spots

Von Miller – Although the play-offs was a show case of his abilities on a national stage, Miller led the team in sacks in the regular season, and wrecked havoc from the edge.  He formed a tandem with Demarcus Ware which gave offensive lines fits in passing situations.

Derek Wolfe – Another talent on the defensive line that may not be known. Not only had a great season, the Broncos smartly locked him up with a contract extension.

Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders – Both wide receivers had 1,000 yard seasons (Thomas – 1304, Sanders -1135) and continued to make plays against opposition secondaries.  Whoever the quarterback is next year in Denver, he will have two legitimate weapons at wide receiver.

Non first round draft pick that was a hit

The most recent draft class is a difficult one to identify a player as most of the selections out of the first round either went on IR or did not really contribute.  This is on potential and a small sample size.

Ty Sambrailo – Only started three games and had rookie struggles (as most rookie offensive lineman do). He will be valuable as the broncos line is influx and will most likely be an area they look to upgrade through the draft or free agency.

Second year player who has taken the next step

Bradley Roby – Fell in the draft last year and the Broncos nabbed themselves a football player.  He was considered by some experts as the best corner in the draft.  He developed into a great nickel cornerback who could limit slot corners to very little production.

Tough decisions to make

The QB – With Manning riding off into the sunset and Osweiler signing a free agent contract with the Texans, who starts at quarterback?  Do they go with Mark Sanchez who has led teams to the playoffs but struggled to live up to his draft hype (maybe Pete Carroll was right and he should have stayed at USC)? Do they throw Paxton Lynch to the wolves (he still needs to develop)?

Peyton manning

Von Miller – Can they get a contract done?  It is great to put a deadline on things but Miller has all the leverage in this situation.  Would they really risk a one year deal where he could walk?  Is Shane Ray already shown them enough to warrant playing chicken in this contract negotiation?

Shane ray

Observations from the Rear View Mirror – Carolina Panthers


The Season that was….

Written off at the start of the year, the Panthers just kept winning games.  Sadly they fell short of winning it all but it was refreshing to see a team come together and have fun playing for each other.  Although they missed Kelvin Benjamin on the field, other players took the opportunity to showcase their talents.  Panthers fans will be left wondering what the season may have been had Newton had both of his big receivers to throw to in the Superbowl. 

J stewart

The bright spots

Cam Newton – Newton continues to be an offensive machine (45 combined TDs and 4,473 yards of offense) .  Whether you like him or not, he can rack up both the passing and rushing yards.  It will be interesting to see how Defensive Coordinators adjust to Newton as a player (with an entire offseason to game plan).

Cam newton

Luke Kuechly – Easily one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL (If not the best), Kuechly continued to make big plays week in, week out.

Greg Olsen – Led the team in receptions (77) and receiving yards (1,104), Olsen was easily Cam’s favourite target.  While he did not have the long touchdown receptions like Ted Ginn (well when Ginn caught them), he always managed to find a way to get open.

Greg olsen

Kawann Short – Led the team in sacks with 11.  Short was a disruptive force in the middle of the defensive line for the Panthers, constantly living in the oppositions backfield.

Josh Norman – Although he is now gone, Josh Norman was in the discussion as one of the best cornerbacks in the league (well more so in terms of the 2015 season).

Non first round draft pick that was a hit

Devin Funchess – This is based on potential more than anything.  Considering in his College career at Michigan he converted from a light tight end to a big wide receiver, he is still learning the position.  He proved that he offers Newton another big target and could potentially cause teams difficulty trying to cover him and Benjamin given their height and catch radius.

Second year player who has taken the next step

Kony Ealy – forget the Superbowl coming out party, Ealy managed to work himself into the rotation and make plays for the Panthers.  He will have to continue to develop but should see more of prominent role with the retirement of Jared Allen.

Trai Turner – The third round pick started all 16 games and appears to have settled in as part of the interior offensive line.  With the reliance on the running game, the Panthers appear to have found themselves a handy road grader.

Tough decisions to make

The secondary – Can they keep winning by not addressing it as a need?  GM David Gettleman has already shown a habit of overlooking this position.  The coaches or the scheme seem to get the best out of the players.  It will be interesting to see if Josh Norman produces in a different scheme.

Kawann Short – They drafted Vernon Butler in the first round of the draft.  If Short has another outstanding season, what kind of contract offer will he get?  The Fletcher Cox deal surely will have Gettleman worried about the price of a new contract.

Observations from the Rear View Mirror – New England Patriots


The Season that was….

The common theme in most Patriots seasons seems to be “controversial drama” followed by them pounding teams into the ground on the way to the post season.  While injuries will always be a reason why they lost in the play offs, it does make a NFL fan wonder when will they not be able to just plug and play random players (well players with a very specific skill set) into their system? Adjustments will be made, the roster will be tinkered with, and the Patriots will continue to be competing for the AFC East title.

The bright spots

Dion Lewis – A player that bounced around the league, Lewis became an early season hit in the passing game for the Patriots before suffering a knee injury.  He is part of the reason the Patriots were able to successfully utilise a “nickel and dime” passing game instead of a rushing attack.

Tom Brady – Somehow he keeps putting up numbers with offensive parts that appear inferior on paper.  Showed once again he knows and understands the offensive system that is in place.  It has become expected he performs year in, year out.

Tom Brady

Rob Gronkowski – The man (well is he really just a mere mortal?) is a match up nightmare and unstoppable at times.  Gronk picked up where he left off and led the teams in receptions (72), receiving yards (1176 yards), touch downs (11) and off season headlines.


Non first round draft pick that was a hit

Shaquille Mason – Mason have found himself a spot on the interior of the offensive line.  Even with the addition of Jonathan Cooper, it appears that Mason will be a starter.

Second year player who has taken the next step

James White – When Dion Lewis went down injured, the little known running back stepped in and picked up where Lewis had left off.  White became a force in the short passing attack until he also got injured.

Tough decisions to make

How do they replace Jerod Mayo? – The surprise retirement caught the team off guard, and it must be assumed that they believe they can replace his production “in house”.  The big question is can they replace his experience and ability to line the team up correctly.

How long can they keep ignoring the run game? The answer to this might be until they stop winning.  LeGarrette Blount seems to be signed every off season to a new 1 year contract to become the bell cow back for them.

Legarette blount

Can they replace Chandler Jones’ production? The trade with the Cardinals had mixed reactions from fans.  It will be interesting to see how they replace his sack production. It must be noted that they do have some very talented young defensive lineman on the roster.

Observations from the Rear View Mirror – Arizona Cardinals


The Season that was….

The Arizona Cardinals were the feel good team that many NFL fans got behind.  The team has slowly been building as a potential force in the NFC West but always fell short.  This season they troubled most teams they played and are potentially in a position to have another playoff run this season as the roster is loaded with talent.

The bright spots

Carson Palmer – Palmer returned to the form we saw when he was in a Bengal uniform (before the knee injury) and torched multiple pass defenses.  He benefitted from the David Johnson running game and could put up similar numbers next year with all the offensive pieces returning or gaining experience.

Carson palmer

Larry Fitzgerald – While all the wide receivers could be mentioned here, Fitzgerald appeared to find the fountain of youth and led the team in receptions (109), receiving yards (1215 yards) and touchdowns (9). 

Larry fitz

Deone Buccannon – The second year player transitioned to a hybrid linebacker-safety position and experienced great success.  He led the team in tackles (112) and ensured the Cardinals had a big body to match up against opposition tight ends.

Non first round draft pick that was a hit

David Johnson – Started with touches on kick off returns and found his way on to field when injuries hit, and showed that he belongs in the NFL.  Johnson will continue to get a big chunk of the touches, and even in a committee, will make plenty of plays in both the running and passing attack.

David Johnson

Second year player who has taken the next step

John Brown – The small school prospect with speed to burn continued to develop his craft as a route runner.  With the early season injury to Michael Floyd, Brown got to start early and show off his deep threat ability.  When Floyd returned, it was evident that Brown offers the Cardinals a different threat in the passing attack.  Brown should continue to see receptions in the passing game.

Tough decisions to make

The secondary – Although they added some draft picks to the cornerback group, it is really Patrick Peterson and no one.  They will need to either hit gold with their draft picks or identify some free agents that will help them.  If they go into the season as is, the opposition will just torch the side that Patrick Peterson is not on.

Patrick peterson

The defensive line – The addition of the talented, yet troubled Robert Nkemdiche means that they may need to make roster moves as it is a numbers game at this position.

Running back – the emergence of David Johnson means that the Cardinals will have to seriously look at cutting some players at this position.  Andre Ellington, Stefon Taylor and company may be on the streets looking for a new team.

Daryl Washington – Super talented kid with substance problems.  Can they keep him and rehabilitate him or is he a lost cause?

Observations from the Rear View Mirror – Kansas City Chiefs


The Season that was….

The season began looking like a nightmare; a 1-5 record as well as the loss of Jamaal Charles, the season looked over.  The team rallied and delivered an impressive run which saw them return to the post season.  A roster that was seen as “lacking talent” showed that the roster was not devoid of talent at all. The Chiefs now seem to own the deepest running back stable in the league.

The bright spots

Jeremy Maclin – Maclin returns to a Andy Reid offense and picks up where he left off in Philly.  Maclin led the team in receptions (87), receiving yards (1088 yards), and touchdowns (8).  Hopefully the Chiefs can develop a running mate or two for Maclin with the young receivers on the roster to stop opposition defenses from double covering him.

Jeremy maclin

Charcandrick West – When Jamaal Charles went down, the season was written off by many.  West stepped in and showcased a skill set similar to Charles.  He was a solid contributor throughout the season and gives the Chiefs a interchangeable piece that allows the Chiefs to not have to alter the offensive system if Charles continues to be injury ridden.

Eric Berry – The return of the play-making safety was one of the best stories of the season.  All NFL fans were glad to see Berry back making plays.  He gives the Chiefs a leader in the secondary and a safety that opposition quarterbacks need to respect.

Marcus Peters- Considered a massive draft risk given his off field baggage at the University of Washington, Peters stepped in day one and was a playmaker straight away.  The Defensive Rookie of the year snagged 8 INTs (2 returned for TDs) and appears to be a shutdown corner for the Chiefs.

Marcus peters

Non first round draft pick that was a hit

Mitch Morse – Morse has been a vital cog in the middle of the offensive line. He stepped in and replaced Rodney Hudson, and the offensive line has not skipped a beat.

Second year player who has taken the next step

Carlos Santos – A kicker taking the next step? He showcased his ability to hit field goals from most places on the field.  His kicking contributed to a number of Chiefs wins, and will continue to give them confidence that every trip into the other teams half (20-36 yards out) will result in three points.

Tough decisions to make

Fixing up the secondary – They let Sean Smith walk and have used a couple of mid-round picks on rookies to add some talent.  Marcus Peters looks like a legit shutdown cornerback, but teams will just throw the other way if their is no one teams will fear on the other side of the field.

The running backs – With Jamaal Charles’ injury history, do we see a running back committee? Both Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware were able to produce in this offensive scheme of Andy Reid’s.

Jamaal Charles

The Andy Reid “developmental QB – Andy Reid has a history of drafting QBs, developing them in his system and then turning them into draft picks down the road.  What are his plans with Aaron Murray and Kevin Hogan?  Is either a Alex Smith replacement in the near future?

Observations from the Rear View Mirror – Green Bay Packers


The Season that was….

The Packers once again wrapped up the NFC North but the season probably did not quite go as planned. They loss Jordy Nelson before the season began, Davante Adams suffered the sophomore slump, and the running backs were up and down.  Aaron Rodgers again flashed why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL but Packers fans can only be left wondering how the Rodgers/Nelson combo could have done.

The bright spots

James Jones – In amidst the madness of the Jordy Nelson injury, the Packers re-signed Jones (After he was cut) and he slotted into his old role of catching touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers. Himself and Randall Cobb formed a handy duo of pass catchers for the Packers.

Richard Rogers – The second year tight end continued to get the quarterback’s attention in the red zone.  He had a team-leading (tied with Jones) 8 receiving touchdowns.  The return of Nelson will open up more soft spots in opposition defenses for him to take advantage of next season,

Julius Peppers – He continues to defy father time.  Peppers had a team leading 10.5 sacks and will hopefully get Clay Matthews opposite him next year as a pass rusher.

Julius Peppers

Non first round draft pick that was a hit

Both players will have spots on the defense next year (Randall would be included if he was not a first round pick).

Quinton Rollins – Rollins worked his way onto the field in sub packages and showcased his talent and versatility.  He will be a good defensive back for the Packers for many years to come.  It will be interesting how they utilise both Rollins and Randall with the versatility they offer.

Jake Ryan – Showcased some ability as an inside linebacker before injury struck.  The Packers need quality inside linebacker so that Clay Matthews can return to Outside linebacker.

Second year player who has taken the next step

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – The safety out of Alabama was drafted to make plays and he delivered.  The Packers appear to have themselves one of the best young safeties in the game.  He will only continue to get better.

Tough decisions to make

Eddie Lacy – Are his weight troubles worth the headache?  They have resigned James Starks who has shown he can produce in this offense, and has often out produced Lacy.  The signing of Matt Forte will really shake things up (but it is only a short term deal).  Long term wise, will they draft a replacement in the next couple of drafts?

Eddie Lacy

The linebackers – How long will Julius Peppers continue producing? This is an area that the Packers need to address as they want to get Clay Matthews back to the outside.

Clay Matthews

The Draft class – The Packers loaded up with some defensive talent; is this infusion of youth enough to ensure the Packers continue to see post season appearances?

Observations from the Rear View Mirror – Seattle Seahawks


The Season that was….

The Seahawks were painted as a dynasty before the season, a team that was built through the draft and had hit on multiple mid-to-late draft picks. While they didn’t win the NFC West, they continued to impart their will on opposition through a combination of running the ball and their imposing defense.  The season will also be remembered for how poorly Jimmy Graham was used.  Seen as the missing weapon Seattle needed, the pairing of Wilson and Graham seemed more like giving a child a toy that they were too young to know how to use properly.

Richard ShermanKam ChancellorEarl Thomas

The bright spots

Thomas Rawls –  When Marshawn Lynch went down injured, many wondered how the offense would function.  Up until he suffered an injury himself, Rawls excelled as a runner in the Seattle system and should prove to be more than an adequate replacement for Beast Mode.

Doug Baldwin – Every year Baldwin is written off by many as a NFL wide receiver, and every year he seems to go out and play lights out.  The Wilson-to-Baldwin connection resulted in 1069 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.  Baldwin is Wilson’s favourite target in the passing game and seemed to always have a multi-touchdown game when it mattered.

Doug Baldwin

Michael Bennett/Cliff Avril – This pair have produced ever since they both signed as free agents and give the Seahawks a talented set of pass rushers (19 sacks between them for the 2015 season).  Bennett is easily one of the most underrated defensive lineman in the game.

Non first round draft pick that was a hit

Given that Thomas Rawls was an undrafted free agent, he was not considered.

Tyler Lockett – The diminutive wide receiver out of Kansas State took the league by storm as a returner and as a wide receiver.  He will continue to develop into a big play receiver and will give Wilson a weapon who can take any catch to the end zone.

Tyler Lockett

Second year player who has taken the next step

Justin Britt – Taken in the second round, Britt started as a rookie at right tackle and has moved inside to guard.  He appears to made that position his, which is a good thing given the movements that have occurred on the offensive line in the last 12 months.

Tough decisions to make

Does the offense evolve?

With the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, do we finally see Russell Wilson unleash his arm? While he is still feeling out Jimmy Graham as a receiver, he  is developing a great relationship with Baldwin and Lockett.

The offensive line – This is an area that needs to be fixed and will most likely get targeted in the draft.  Russell Okung leaving town could be a massive loss for the team.