The Evsters Super Bowl Special Teams Breakdown

The Evsters Super Bowl Special Teams Breakdown

Hey
SPORTS FAN, you think you’re ready for THE BIG GAME? You’ve got chili
on the stove, a full pack of Imodium, and the Puppy Bowl on DVR, but WHO
YA GONNA ROOT FOR? You GOTTA root for someone. You can’t not ROOT. This
is AMERICA. The land where puppies play FOOTBALL!

ON TELEVISION.

It’s
tough with these two teams -- there’s no clear underdog and there’s no
downright villain. Frank Gore is a G, but Jim Harbaugh is a tweedle. Ray
Rice is a bowling ball, but Ray Lewis is a dork. B-More killed Stringer
Bell, but San Fran birthed Uncle Joey. In the NFL, in tight situations
like this, it all comes down to special teams, which is why I’m picking
my squad based on punters.

You might be thinking, “Punters? Punters?
We sittin’ here, I’m supposed to be the franchise playa, and we in here
talkin’ bout punters?” You’re goddamn right we are, because as much as
you wanna analyze Colin Kaepernick’s scrambling ability, or the fact
that the Ravens like to GRIND IT OUT IN THE TRENCHES, everything in the
NFL comes down to FIELD POSITION. Cris Collinsworth, what are your keys
to the game? FIELD POSITION. Michael Oher, any advice for kids growing
up without socks? FIELD POSITION. Larry, what are two words that rhyme
with veal nutrition? SEAL PETITION.

Wrong!

FIELD POSITION.

Same answer as the previous three sentences!

Shoulda picked up on that!

So seeing as punters are the single most important players when it comes to SEAL PETITIONS FIELD POSITION, let’s get to know Andy Lee of the Niners, and Sam Koch from the Ravens.

This
is Andy Lee, punter for the San FranciscOH MY GOD LOOK AT THOSE EARS.
Those are his real ears. THOSE ARE HIS REAL EARS. I had planned to talk
about Andy’s college career at Pitt, and how he recently broke Reggie
Roby’s record for most 49er punting yards in a season, BUT HOLY MOSES
THOSE EARS.

This
man here -- this normal looking man with normal sized ears who could
very well be your next-door neighbor -- is Sam Koch, punter for the
Ravens. He wears a necklace.

Advantage: RAVENS

Andy
likes to hang out with dogs, which is cool, I like dogs, and these are
nice dogs, especially that dog on the right who is all, “Oh don’t mind
me, I’m just gonna put my paw on your knee, just a dog showing some
affection to his owner, no big deal,” but what is up with Andy wearing
jeans with flip-flops??? C’mon Andy! You can’t do that! Jeans with
flip-flops? That’s unacceptable!

Those are really nice dogs, though.

BUT, STILL.

Sam
on the other hand hangs out with his Ravens teammates -- because this
dude’s got MAD LOCKER ROOM CRED. Even the guy who once stabbed someone
is bout it bout it. Probably because Sam doesn’t look like a total
weirdo. This picture is honestly fascinating, I never knew football
players even acknowledged punters let alone stood on chairs to make this
a THREE TIERED PICTURE! Check out the dude kneeling in the front right,
though. Why is he the only Raven whose shirt is completely covered in
sweat? That dude is DRENCHED.

Advantage: RAVENS

Andy’s
from South Carolina, where people use ice cream scoopers to dish out
mashed potatoes. According to Wikipedia, during his senior year of high
school Andy averaged 42.8 yards per punt, which ranked him as the 33rd
best punter in South Cackalack by something called “SuperPrep.” This
leads me to believe one of two things: either SuperPrep has NO IDEA how
to rank punters, or South Carolina has BY FAR the greatest punters in
the country! Dude, 42.8 yards a punt? For a high school kid? That’s
pretty good! The punter from my high school team used to routinely punt
the ball off his shin. We called him Shinkicker Jones. I faintly
remember Shinkicker Jones once shinning the ball right in his own face.
Pretty sure that guy now sells life insurance. He might even have a
website.

Sam
walked on at Nebraska, and in 2005 made the Big 12 Commissioner’s
Academic HONOR ROLL during the Spring AND Fall semesters. SPRING AND
FALL. While you were sleeping through Statistics class and not doing
laundry, this guy was getting straight As AND booming balls in through
the Alamo Bowl ROOF. In 2005’s bowl game, Sam just so happend to post a
51.5-YARD AVERAGE on 8 punts against mighty Michigan (HAIL TO THE
VICTORS) including 5 punts of over 50 yards THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Now I’m
no STATISTICIAN, but I’m pretty sure that 51.5 is WAY HIGHER than 42.8.

Advantage: RAVENS

This
year against the Raiders, Andy got blasted by some guy who wore a
visor. Not surprising considering his limp-wristed throwing motion most
resembles Lamar’s javelin toss from Revenge of the Nerds.
I’m honestly amazed he could even put his helmet on over those ears.
And why do the 49ers coaches on the sidelines look so relaxed? YOUR
PUNTER IS GETTING BLASTED WHILE TRYING TO COMPLETE SOME SORT OF MUGGSY
BOGUES JUMP PASS. THAT CAN’T BE A GOOD THING. They don’t seem to care,
though. Maybe it was pre-seez.

Against
those same Raiders, Sam the Man scored a little thing called a
TOUCHDOWN. During a fake field goal attempt (BECAUSE SAM ALSO HOLDS
FOOTBALLS ON FG ATTEMPTS), he Kaepernick’d his way into the END ZONE for
six whole points. Six more points than Andy has scored in his ENTIRE
CAREER.

Also,
peep Michael Oher in the background showing love for his punter. Sam
gets LOVE from his linemen and Oher is not a dude who shows affection to
just anyone. I know this because I once read a book about Oher and how
he had a hard life and was born without feet.

Advantage: RAVENS

Just a punter warming his balls. No big deal. Just your average punter, on a Sunday afternoon, warming his balls.

Not only do they sell Sam Koch jerseys, they sell Sam Koch LADIES jerseys, because LADIES LOVE SAM KOCH.

Advantage: RAVENS

The
best athletes get endorsements, so of course Sam Koch -- sorry, LADIES
MAN Sam Koch -- is the spokesman for JIFFY MART, which as everyone knows
is Carroll County’s hometown convenience store offering great food fast
and high quality Tevis brand gasoline.

ANNOYING WHITE PERSON: Hey Sam, great punting today, you look really interested in what I’m saying here.

SAM:
 Yeah, that’s great, are we done here? I’ve got high quality Tevis
brand gasoline to sell. Also, get your Sam Koch bobble heads, only
$5.99. Practically giving ‘em away. I scored a touchdown once. What’d
you ever do? And yeah, I wear a white watch.

“Oh,
don’t mind me, guys, I’ll just be over here STANDING ON ONE LEG and
JUGGLING A BALL ON MY FOOT while wearing this AWESOME ORANGE BEANIE.”  

Look,
the bottom line is, Sam Koch is awesome. The only knock that I could
find on him during my EXTENSIVE RESEARCH was that his three kids are
named Ryan, Braxtyn and Kamdyn, which are two of the three stupidest
names I’ve ever heard in my life. Other than that, this dude is a boss,
and Andy Lee looks like a mongoloid.

That’s why The Evster’s goin’ with:

Ravens 24
49ers 20

Although
to be honest, I kinda think Colin Kaepernick is super exciting to
watch, I mean that guy is like pure lightning, so scratch that.

49ers 27
Ravens 20

He’s really fast!

The Evster writes the blog TV My Wife Watches where he writes about TV his wife watches. You can follow him on Twitter @TVMWW, orrrrrrrrrrr you can watch Sam’s Jiffy Mart commercial here. That’s probably the better move.

With new mindset, Nelson Agholor embraces competition to prove himself to Eagles

With new mindset, Nelson Agholor embraces competition to prove himself to Eagles

Nelson Agholor’s rookie season was a disappointment, but his second year in the NFL was a disaster, the pressure of which was clearly getting to him. Now Agholor finds himself on the roster bubble as his third year with the Eagles commences, and it’s fair to wonder what the wide receiver’s mindset is like in 2017.

“Confident and comfortable,” Agholor said Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex, where phase three of OTAs had just begun.

Earlier in the day, Agholor had been involved at practice — cycling in with the first-team offense and getting plenty of looks, too. Later, he would be the last player to leave the field, continuing to run sprints alone after practice ended. Finally, back in the locker room, Agholor explained the epiphany he arrived at during the offseason, and how he knows he’s ready to put 2016 behind him.

“I just had a realization that the only thing that matters is the current situation,” Agholor said. “I’m here, I have an opportunity to get better and make myself a better football player.”

None of this means everything is about to click for Agholor, and he’s suddenly going to perform up to his status as a first-round pick. The Eagles clearly weren’t counting on that, either, when they signed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency, then selected two more receivers in the draft.

If Agholor intends to turn his career around, a fresh outlook isn’t a bad place to start.

Failing to meet expectations and under relentless scrutiny, Agholor’s demeanor changed over the course of last season. Frustrations finally boiled over during a postgame rant after an Eagles loss to the Cowboys. Four weeks later, he was a healthy scratch against the Packers. Though Agholor suited up for the final five games, there was no discernable change from a production standpoint.

“That’s in the past,” Agholor said. “I practiced today. I got after it today. Anything that happened back then, it happened for a reason.”

Agholor — who turned 24 Wednesday — attributed the bulk of his struggles to youth and inexperience while denying mental or confidence issues were to blame for his performance. With only 59 receptions for 648 yards and three touchdowns to show after two years, the Eagles couldn’t wait for him to grow up any longer, which led to Jeffery and Smith being brought aboard.

“I took it for what it was,” Agholor said. “I said, ‘This was what happened, this is the new opportunity, so every day, just focus on getting better at some aspect of it.’

“It’s all about getting better consistently each day, even if it’s just a little. At the end of the day, the whole world will be like, ‘Man, this is the product?’ Some of the best players in this league, they didn’t just become really great the first day there. It took a process and continuous progression every day.”

But how exactly does Agholor go about making that jump? Because work ethic has never been a complaint, nor was talent a problem at USC, where he finished with 179 receptions for 2,571 yards and 20 touchdowns in 40 games.

There’s no telling whether Agholor will ever put it all together in the NFL. He has refined his approach, however.

“I focused on the simple grind, whether it’s conditioning, whether it was living weights,” Agholor said of offseason workouts. “I wasn’t trying to have just a miracle happen. I just started focusing on the simplest things.

“I got on the track and worked on my speed and worked on my conditioning. I was in the weight room, worked on my strength and my durability, making sure my muscles were working the right way. That’s all it was, little things like that.”

Coaches and teammates are seeing a difference in Agholor as well. Most of all, they believe competing against veterans like Jeffery and Smith will bring the best out of a young receiver still trying to find his way.

“Nelson's attitude has been great. He's worked extremely hard this offseason,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “As I've said all along, competition sharpens you, and that's what I've seen from Nelson.”

“I feel like competition is what’s going to help breed production,” Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews said. “If you’ve got more guys coming in and working, you don’t have time to worry about this, this and this. You have to worry about going in and keeping your job, you have to worry about going in and making plays every single day, and that goes for everybody, not just Nelson.”

Agholor does not disagree.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for me to compete vs. some really good players,” Agholor said of Jeffery and Smith. “These guys have proven themselves in the league, so if I show that I’m capable of performing the same way they are, then I’m in the conversation.”

That might seem like wishful thinking, but for this brief period in OTAs, Agholor has the upper hand — he knows the offense. And even if the Eagles wanted to move on from Agholor this year, his contract is such that a release would cost more against the salary cap than if he was to remain on the roster.

Financial ramifications aside, Agholor’s spot on the final 53-man roster legitimately appears to be in jeopardy. His hope in the meantime is to make himself indispensable.

“I feel like I want to be one of the best players on this team, and that takes care of it right there,” Agholor said. “I want to be a guy when you watch him on tape, you’re like, ‘Yeah, I need him.’

“The best players play, and I want to be one of the best players.”

For all of the doubts about his confidence, Agholor has seldom had any trouble expressing a general belief that he belongs in the NFL. Any doubts he did have, he obviously did not entertain for very long, based on his goals in 2017.

“I love this game, and I want to play this game for a long time, so I’m not going to allow anybody besides myself determine how long I do this,” Agholor said. “This is only Year 3, and I want to play 10-plus. The only way I do that is making myself available and making myself a good football player.”

Coming off of a season that nearly caused him to lose his swagger and cool, Agholor is doing and saying all the right things again, even as the Eagles bring in potential replacements. Perhaps the notion that it feels like a step in the right direction speaks to how poorly those first two seasons went.

Quick Slants podcast: Lane Johnson impressed by Derek Barnett

Quick Slants podcast: Lane Johnson impressed by Derek Barnett

It took Lane Johnson just one day to figure it out: Derek Barnett might be pretty good. 

The Eagles' right tackle went up against the 14th overall pick in last month's NFL draft several times during Tuesday's first OTA practice and the young pass-rusher more than held his own. 

Johnson was a guest on the Quick Slants Podcast with Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks and he said he was impressed by Barnett. 

"I had a chance to go against him today," Johnson said. "He's got a few moves in his arsenal just from being a rookie. I expect a big year from him just from seeing him go against other guys, me going against him. He's a very talented guy." 

What specifically impressed Johnson about Barnett? 

"He can get real low, dip that edge and shave a lot of yards off when he's rushing the passer," Johnson said. "Everybody was talking about Myles Garrett being the best rusher in the class, but I think they underestimated Derek."

Barnett was just one of the topics Johnson touched on in this week's podcast. He also talked about his future after PED violations and the state of the entire Eagles' offense. Check out the full podcast here