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Steve Smith’s expectations realistic in coming to Ravens

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Steve Smith’s expectations realistic in coming to Ravens

Posted on 23 July 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Steve Smith has talked plenty about motivation this offseason but is also grounded in reality as he officially begins his first training camp with the Ravens on Thursday.

Understandably having a chip on his shoulder over being released by the Carolina Panthers after spending the first 13 seasons of his career in Charlotte, the 35-year-old wide receiver is looking to prove he still has plenty left in the tank to help the Ravens, but there are no predictions of a 1,300-yard season or a return to the Pro Bowl. His motivation is shaped by perspective with an eye toward the end of his career knowing nobody wins the battle with Father Time.

“You can never perform at as high a level at 35 that you did at 25,” Smith said. “My job is to go out there and catch what’s catchable and have fun doing it. [I don’t want to] really concern myself too much on the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘Should I be here?’ or ‘Should I be there?’ The things that I’ve experienced in my career, honestly, they’re not going to get any better, and the reason why is because my perspective is different. Hopefully, I will accomplish better things statistically, but I’m living the dream.”

It’s difficult to predict what to expect from Smith in terms of production on the field as his yards per catch average has decreased from 17.6 in 2011 to 16.1 in 2012 to 11.6 last season, which was his lowest mark since 2007. The 5-foot-9, 195-pound wideout has depended on speed on the outside for much of his career, but he will need to reinvent himself as more of a possession receiver to thrive in Gary Kubiak’s offensive system while Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones provide two stronger outside options in the vertical passing game.

The University of Utah product turned in an excellent spring, catching nearly everything thrown his way and running crisp shorter routes whether working outside or in the slot. Smith downplayed how long it will take to build a rapport with quarterback Joe Flacco — simply explaining he’ll catch anything that should be caught — but also recognizes he doesn’t have to be the primary focus of the passing game like he was for more than a decade with the Panthers.

“I understand there are going to be times when I’m the premier receiver,” Smith said, “and there are times that I need to clear through for Torrey or Jacoby or Marlon [Brown]. You have to be able to be efficient in any offense; you’ve got to understand in every play what your role is.”

Of course, the Ravens’ motivation in signing Smith to a three-year, $11.5 million in March went beyond the number of passes he’ll catch as the offense lacked vocal leadership and swagger last season following the trade of veteran wideout Anquan Boldin. Smith has already shown he isn’t afraid to stir the pot as he mixed it up with cornerback Lardarius Webb during last month’s mandatory minicamp.

He’ll need to be productive on the field to authentically establish himself as a leader, but the early returns suggest both sides of the ball have benefited from his competitive fire during practices. It’s a reputation that was well known to the Ravens long before the veteran stepped foot in Owings Mills this spring.

“We get another defensive guy playing offense with Steve coming over,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “This is one guy last year [who defensive coordinator] Dean Pees told us not to anger, and it was a preseason game. The goal was to do our time and get out of there. It’s great to have him on our team.”

Smith’s ability to rebound from an underwhelming 745-yard season a year ago will go a long way in determining whether the Ravens can substantially improve their 29th-ranked offense in 2013. He doesn’t need to be a 1,000-yard receiver, but the veteran will be asked to catch shorter passes and help move the chains on third down, an area in which the Ravens ranked only 20th last season.

The longtime Panther knows his career is winding down but thinks he’s found the ideal place to fit his personality.

“I’m lucky to even be here,” Smith said. “After you hit 35, you should be with a walker and all that stuff. I’m just happy to be playing ball and have the opportunity to play in a conference where it’s smash-mouth football, and I’m going to fit in perfectly [with] that.”

Pierce, Reid ready to go

The Ravens will conduct their first full-squad workout on Thursday morning and enter the summer with a short injury report as running back Bernard Pierce and offensive lineman Jah Reid both participated fully in Tuesday’s workout.

Pierce has now been cleared after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery while Reid was sidelined with a calf injury in the spring.

“These two days they both looked good. They both looked fine; they have no problems,” coach John Harbaugh said. “There are some full-speed-type drills out there, not contact, but the speed of it, and they had no problems. We’ll work them through the first two days. Thursday and Friday are both full speed, but they’re not full contact, so that’ll be another chance for them to take the next step that way. I don’t anticipate any problems.”

Defensive tackle Terrence Cody is the only veteran with a clear injury concern entering camp as he’s still recovering from offseason hip surgery. Harbaugh said the fifth-year lineman is progressing, but there is no clear target date of when he’ll return to the practice field.

Dumervil grateful for opportunity provided by Bowlen in Denver

With Wednesday’s news of Pat Bowlen stepping down as owner of the Denver Broncos due to Alzheimer’s disease, Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil offered his support after spending the first seven seasons of his career in Denver.

“He helped impact my life [and] my family for generations to come,” Dumervil said. “He was a great guy. He always asked about my health, and when I was out for the year [in 2010], we talked a bit. He was always great to me, and I was always grateful for that. When I heard about the news, it was a sad day for that.”

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 14 July 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: WNBA: Washington Mystics @ Phoenix Mercury (Tuesday 10pm from Phoenix live on ESPN2), Washington Mystics @ Los Angeles Sparks (Thursday 10:30pm from Los Angeles live on WNBA Live Access); WNBA All-Star Game (Saturday 3:30pm from Phoenix live on ESPN); MLS: Chivas USA @ DC United (Sunday 8pm from RFK Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet/Univision); Mixed Martial Arts: UFC Fight Night-Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Jim Miller (Wednesday 9pm from Atlantic City live on Fox Sports 1), UFC Fight Night Conor McGregor vs. Diego Brandao (Saturday 3pm from Dublin live on UFC Fight Pass)

10. Artscape (Friday-Sunday Mount Royal); Flip Orley (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); The Purge: Anarchy“, “Planes: Fire and Rescue” and “Sex Tape” out in theaters (Friday); Rio 2” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

Artscape is so much better when Robert McClintock is involved. For example,

I’ll bet “Sex Tape” is horrible, but it doesn’t change how much this appears to be a nice scene.

9. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings/Kelly Bell Band (Friday 7:30pm Artscape), Ozomatli/Galactic (Saturday 5:30pm Artscape), Anthony Hamilton (Sunday 6:30pm Artscape); New Edition (Saturday 8pm Baltimore Arena Sunday 8pm Verizon Center); Queens of the Stone Age/St. Vincent (Thursday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Fall Out Boy/Paramore/New Politics (Friday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), O.A.R./Phillip Phillips (Saturday 5pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Queen + Adam Lambert (Sunday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Bad Company/Lynyrd Skynyrd (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); The Fray (Wednesday 7pm Wolf Trap), Straight No Chaser (Thursday 8pm Wolf Trap), Huey Lewis & The News (Sunday 8pm Wolf Trap), Lionel Richie/CeeLo Green (Monday 8pm Wolf Trap); Better Than Ezra (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); The Bacon Brothers (Friday & Saturday 6:30pm & 9:30pm Rams Head on Stage); Bret Michaels (Thursday 8pm Rams Head Center Stage), Dennis DeYoung (Sunday 8pm Rams Head Center Stage); Lyfe Jennings (Friday 8pm Howard Theatre), De La Soul (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre); Puss N Boots (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club); Edwin McCain (Friday 7:30pm Birchmere); B.B. King (Thursday 8pm Warner Theatre); Ben Folds (Thursday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Veruca Salt (Monday 8pm Black Cat); John Hiatt/Robert Cray Band (Sunday 8pm Strathmore); Rise Against “The Black Market”, Jason Mraz “Yes!”, Bleachers “Strange Desire” and “Weird Al” Yankovic “Mandatory Fun” available (Tuesday)

Sharon Jones is a DAMN fine Artscape headliner. Maybe the best since Robert Randolph.

Ozomatli is also quite good at the music stuff.

The guy with two hands up? He’ll be at O.A.R. Saturday night.

And when it comes to guys who have the same first and last names (or close enough), I’ll take Phillip Phillips over Cam Cameron.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 07 July 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: WNBA-Washington Mystics @ Chicago Sky (Wednesday 12:30pm from Chicago live on WNBA All-Access), Washington Mystics @ Tulsa Shock (Saturday 8pm from Tulsa live on WNBA All-Access); Auto Racing: NASCAR Camping World RV Sales 301 (Sunday 1pm from Loudon, NH live on TNT); Charm City Roller Girls (Saturday 6:30pm Ice Gardens Laurel)

10. John Witherspoon (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Sandra Bernhard (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre); Jim Jeffries (Friday 7pm & 10pm Lincoln Theatre); Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” out in theaters (Friday); Bad Words” and “Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 & Vol. 2” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

Jim Jeffries uses the F word a lot. So if you enjoy the F word and laughing, you’d probably enjoy him. (I’m looking at you, grandma.) (Not even remotely safe for work.)

Also, national Pecan Pie Day is coming up this Saturday. So here’s this. (Oddly enough, if you’re like me this isn’t safe for work either. I’ll be staying at this desk for a bit.)

9. Justin Timberlake (Monday 7:30pm Baltimore Arena); Bruno Mars (Friday 8pm Jiffy Lube Live); Jennifer Nettles (Sunday 8pm Wolf Trap), Sara Bareilles (Monday 7:30pm Wolf Trap); Neon Trees/Smallpools (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club), Ashley Monroe (Sunday 7:30pm Rams Head Live); All Time Low/Cinder Road (Saturday 7pm Baltimore Soundstage); Brand New (Sunday 7:30pm Fillmore Silver Spring); The Original Wailers (Sunday 8pm Howard Theatre); The Neighbourhood (Wednesday 7pm Echostage); Peter Frampton (Tuesday 6:30pm Lincoln Theatre), Natalie Merchant (Saturday & Sunday 6:30pm Lincoln Theatre); Dirty Heads “Sound of Change”, John Mellencamp “Performs Trouble No More Live at Town Hall” and Blackberry Smoke “Leave a Scar: Live in North Carolina” available (Tuesday)

I’ll see you Monday night. Don’t even try to act like he’s not amazing.

Remember back when we could pretend like we didn’t know how good Bruno Mars was?

Smallpools is responsible for one of the more notable songs of the last couple years.

Support our boys from All Time Low. They’re good boys.

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Former Towson F Benimon to play with Heat, Nuggets in Summer League

Posted on 27 June 2014 by WNST Staff

TOWSON, Md. – Former Towson forward and two-time Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon will begin his professional basketball career on the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets NBA Summer League teams.

Though not selected in the 2014 NBA Draft, Benimon will join the Heat, which will participate in the Summer League from July 5-11 in Orlando, and the Nuggets, which will compete in the Summer League from July 11-21 in Las Vegas.

“We are excited for Jerrelle as he gets ready to begin play in the NBA summer league for two very strong franchises,” said Tiger Head Coach Pat Skerry. “I know he will carry over his many talents as well as his strong work ethic and team-first attitude that he played with here at Towson as he continues to build his professional basketball resume.”

Benimon put together one of the most impressive two-year stints by a player in Towson basketball history. A two-time CAA Player of the Year and 2013 AP Honorable Mention All-American, Benimon ranked in the Top 5 nationally in both rebounding and double-doubles each year he was in a Tiger uniform.

A Mid-Major First Team All-American this past season, Benimon guided Towson to a Division I school-record 25 wins, including a pair of victories in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The 6-8 forward led the Tigers in scoring (18.7 ppg), rebounding (11.2 rpg) and assists (3.6 apg) as a senior. His 404 total rebounds during the 2013-14 season set a new school record and his mark only trails NBA Hall of Famer and former Navy standout David Robinson for the most rebounds in a season in CAA history.

Benimon also impressed scouts after the season as he was named the Most Valuable Player of the Reese’s College All-Star Game at the Final Four and posted impressive numbers at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.

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Duke tops Denver, reaches NCAA Championship Game again

Posted on 24 May 2014 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE — (AP) Attackman Kyle Keenan scored four goals, Jordan Wolf had three goals and two assists, and top-seeded Duke defeated No. 5 Denver 15-12 in the NCAA semifinals Saturday.

Deemer Class added three goals for Duke (16-3), which will seek its second consecutive national championship and third overall Monday against the winner of the second semifinal between Maryland and Notre Dame.

Attackman Wesley Berg scored five goals for Denver (16-3), which has lost all three of its semifinal appearances. Jack Bobzien added three goals for the Pioneers.

Denver scored three straight goals to pull within 11-10 with 13:46 left. The two teams then traded scores before Duke reeled off three goals in a row to hold off the comeback attempt.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 20 May 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Crowne Plaza Invitational (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 1pm live on Golf Channel 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Ft. Worth, TX), Champions Tour Senior PGA Championship (Thursday & Friday 12pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on NBC. All golf from Benton Harbor, MI), Airbus LPGA Classic (Thursday & Friday 6:30pm Saturday & Sunday 3pm from Mobile, AL live on Golf Channel); MLS: Houston Dynamo @ DC United (Wednesday 7pm from RFK Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet), DC United @ New England Revolution (Saturday 7:30pm from Foxborough, MA live on Comcast SportsNet); WNBA: Washington Mystics @ Indiana Fever (Friday 7pm from Indianapolis live on WNBA Live Access), Seattle Storm @ Washington Mystics (Saturday 7pm Verizon Center); Boxing: Adonis Stevenson vs. Andrzej Fonfara (Saturday 9pm from Montreal live on Showtime)

10. Brew at the Zoo (Saturday & Sunday 1pm Maryland Zoo in Baltimore); X-Men Days of Future Past” and “Blended” out in theaters (Friday); The Monuments Men“, “3 Days To Kill” and “Pompeii” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

Oh man. Do you guys remember when Adam Sandler was funny? NO I SWEAR.

9. Wild Cub/Sleeper Agent (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head Live); Art Garfunkel (Saturday 8pm Sixth & I Historic Synagogue); 10,000 Maniacs (Saturday & Sunday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Eric Hutchinson (Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Mobb Deep (Friday 9pm Howard Theatre); Tegan and Sara (Wednesday & Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club); Wolfmother (Tuesday 6:30pm Lincoln Theatre), Ingrid Michaelson (Friday & Saturday 7pm Lincoln Theatre); Chatham County Line (Friday 8:30pm The Hamilton); Coldplay “Ghost Stories”, Phillip Phillips “Behind The Light”, Kenny Wayne Shepherd “Goin’ Home” and The Roots “And Then You Shoot Your Cousin” available (Tuesday)

I’ll be at RHL Wednesday night because Wild Cub is GREAT.

I also want to see Sleeper Agent…or maybe we could go hang out in a prison.

Ingrid Michaelson’s tribute to Robert Palmer is LOVELY.

The Roots are doing a pretty damn good job of reminding you they have things to do besides their job.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 13 January 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Syracuse @ Maryland (Thursday 8:30pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Georgia Tech @ Maryland (Sunday 2pm Comcast Center); Boxing: Jean Pascal vs. Lucian Bute (Saturday 10:15pm from Montreal live on HBO), Ivan Redkach vs. Tony Luis (Friday 10pm from Memphis live on Showtime); MISL: St. Louis Ambush @ Baltimore Blast (Friday 7:35pm from Baltimore Arena live on YouTube), Baltimore Blast @ Syracuse Silver Stars (Sunday 1pm from Syracuse, NY live on YouTube)

10. Paul Mooney (Saturday 7:30pm Howard Theatre)l Iliza Shlesinger (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Doug Stanhope (Thursday 8pm Magooby’s Joke House); Todd Glass (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Baltimore County Restaurant Week (Tuesday-Sunday throughout Baltimore County); Enough Said“, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler“, “Riddick” and “Carrie” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit“, “The Nut Joband “Ride Along” out in theaters (Friday)

Iliza Schlesinger is both humorous and not safe for work.

I have no interest in seeing Jack Ryan, but I could use some more Keira Knightley in my life.

9. Jay-Z (Thursday 8pm Verizon Center); Stone Sour/Pop Evil (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live); Rusted Root (Monday 7:30pm Rams Head on Stage); Big Daddy Kane (Friday 9pm Howard Theatre); Charles Bradley (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Big Head Todd and The Monsters (Saturday 7pm 9:30 Club); Gipsy Kings (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Dangermuffin (Friday 8pm Gypsy Sally’s); Bruce Springsteen “High Hopes”Switchfoot “Fading West” and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings “Give The People What They Want” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I’ve seen Jay-Z a few times, probably won’t make down to DC Thursday night. But if he ever toured with The Roots there would not be a price I wouldn’t pay.

Charles Bradley > Charles Barkley > Matt Barkley > My elementary school friend Matt Besche. Actually, strike that. Matt Besche is WAY better than Matt Barkley.

Drew Forrester said the new Springsteen record isn’t a home run. Fair enough. I really like this tune though.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are example number 6,789,403 why Brooklyn is now the capital of the music world.

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“The Reality Check” Final Regular Season NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 01 January 2014 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Houston Texans (Last Week 32)

Bill O’Brien plus Teddy Bridgewater seems like a pretty solid equation.

31. Washington Redskins (31)

No solid equations to be found.

30. Oakland Raiders (30)

You’d assume most coaches that are still employed a few days after the season ends are safe…unless they coach the Oakland Raiders.

29. Cleveland Browns (29)

Can we just get to the part where they hire Romeo Crennel already?

28. Atlanta Falcons (28)

Jadaveon Clowney would fit REALLY well here.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (27)

Oh hey look-anything else!

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26)

Not Greg Schiano sounds like an improved equation to me.

25. Buffalo Bills (23)

They were interesting at times.

24. Detroit Lions (22)

Jim Schwartz did a nice job there, but it was an absolutely unthinkable end.

23. Minnesota Vikings (25)

Some new coaches inherit one quarterback. The new Vikes coach will inherit negative three.

22. New York Giants (24)

Their record was one game worse than the Ravens’.

21. St. Louis Rams (19)

Would Jeff Fisher take a chance on Jay Cutler?

20. Tennessee Titans (21)

Would Mike Munchak/next Titans coach take a chance on Jay Cutler?

19. Miami Dolphins (13)

Knicks-like choke.

18. Chicago Bears (16)

Stupid to take that chance on Jay Cutler.

17. Dallas Cowboys (14)

And what could have been. (Probably nothing.)

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“The Reality Check” Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 25 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Houston Texans (Last Week 32)

Yup.

31. Washington Redskins (31)

But at least you didn’t lose to a guy playing through a season ending back injury or anything.

30. Oakland Raiders (30)

Less interesting than the “Best of” shows some radio stations air on Christmas.

29. Cleveland Browns (29)

There’s a chance they’ll be involved with the playoff race.

28. Atlanta Falcons (28)

But for a moment.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (27)

Thank God I won’t have to write about them again.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26)

Kinda remarkable they’ll finish in the top 30 when you think about it.

25. Minnesota Vikings (22)

Thanks for nothing.

24. New York Giants (25)

There’s DEFINITELY no way they can still make a Super Bowl run, right?

23. Buffalo Bills (24)

That should’ve been more helpful.

22. Detroit Lions (18)

I probably shouldn’t drop them this far. Also, I don’t really care that much.

21. Tennessee Titans (21)

Calm down. They only beat Jacksonville.

20. New York Jets (23)

We’ve never been bigger fans.

19. St. Louis Rams (20)

And with the number two pick.

18. Green Bay Packers (16)

But I think they get in.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (19)

No freaking way this can happen, right?

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“The Reality Check” Week 15 NFL Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Week 15 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 11 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Houston Texans (Last Week 32)

Maybe they pull a swerve and hire Nick Saban?

31. Washington Redskins (31)

Maybe THEY pull a swerve and hire Nick Saban?

30. Oakland Raiders (30)

I legitimately forgot who they had played this weekend before I started writing this.

29. Atlanta Falcons (29)

Dear Harry Douglas…you’re still at play in my push for a Fantasy title. Hugs and kisses.

28. Cleveland Browns (27)

Doing Cleveland Browns things.

27. Buffalo Bills (25)

Dear CJ Spiller…please see above.

26. Minnesota Vikings (23)

Someone already picked up Toby Gerhart in your league.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28)

So…do they NOT fire Greg Schiano?

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (26)

It’s kinda neat that they managed to win games.

23. New York Giants (20)

Nice game, She-li. (Get it? ‘Cause of the face thing?)

22. St. Louis Rams (21)

Anyone set up better for the Draft?

21. New York Jets (24)

Somehow still winning football games.

20. Tennessee Titans (19)

What could have been.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (16)

Shouldn’t be this bad.

18. Green Bay Packers (22)

NO CHANCE they stay in it without Rodgers.

17. San Diego Chargers (17)

Right on the cusp of the race, but MASSIVE games ahead.

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