Bucs Training Camp 2019 has Begun!

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Photo by: Buccaneers.com

Just like that, football is back! Thursday, July 25th the Tampa Bay Bucs returned to begin training camp for the 2019 season. The upcoming season holds a lot of anticipation due to the many moves made in the off-season, the most exciting one being the Bucs new head coach, Bruce Arians. Arians known for his previous successes with the Arizona Cardinals told Florida National News in May that he was bringing a new system and pace to the Bucs and felt confident with how the guys were already taking to the new tempo, but that training camp would be the tell all.

Day one of training camp opened with a press conference with Coach Arians telling us what he was expecting with this camp, coach stated that “the next two days were to see exactly what they have and where they stand as a team”. The team had their conditioning test that day as well and coach mentioned that so far, all the guys have reported back in great shape, but there has not been any confirmation of who is or isn’t injured heading into the 2019 pre-season. As important as it is to see the whole team when starting a new season, most importantly fans want to know what to expect from the rookies and how much of a role some of those guys will have. When asked about the rookies, coach Arians said that “this is the most mature group of rookies I’ve ever worked with in my 20-something years in the NFL”. Coach mentioned how impressed he was with serious they were and ready to get to work.

As we know from last season, the Bucs battled many issues trying to keep their top players healthy and creating some consistency on offense. After coach Arians, Quarterback, Jameis Winston, came in and of course there were plenty of questions about this team’s dynamic so far and how the new system is coming along. Winston responding by saying how excited he is to work with this new coaching staff and learn even more. They are in the process of still dumbing things down, so that they get this new tempo down pact. Winston was asked about his progression from last season to this season and he said he is just focused on doing his job the best he can, so that he can help the team do better. He has already been working with the new receivers to start building that relationship before the season, but other than that he is focused and excited for this training camp, “Coach Arians is a players coach, it’s great how he’s able to relate to the players”.

The atmosphere at the Bucs facility is fresh and hungry! All of the Bucs players, old and new are on a clean slate with a new coach and a new system, so everyone has one job at this point to learn and apply, which is what training camp is all about and Florida National News will be there to see this new team grow!

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An AFC Championship Rematch To Remember…

Regardless of it being recorded as one of the hottest games played in Jaguars history, 68,527 fans were adamite about being present for the AFC Championship rematch, Sunday! The initial AFC Championship was a nail bitter, a game the Jaguars controlled until early in the 4th quarter, before the Patriots defense wore down Bortles and maximized on the Jaguars defense being on the field too much. After the Jaguars suffered a tough loss versus the Patriots, January 21st, 24-20, eyebrows were raised at the potential Jacksonville had to win that game and move forward.
Sunday, Jacksonville reassured fans that their hope was in the right place. From the beginning of the game Jaguars controlled the pace as well as the Patriots. The game opened with the Jaguars on defense and showing us early in the 1st quarter that they still got. Holding the Patriots to an early 54-yard field goal attempt that Gostkowski missed.
As the Jaguars offense jogged out to the field, I’m sure many were wondering what was the protection for Blake Bortles going to look like and how efficient was the offense going to be without weapons Marqise Lee and Leonard Fournette? Bortles and the offense answered that question as they took over, roughly 4 minutes into the 1st quarter and nine plays later, Jacksonville found the end zone for a touchdown. Right out the gate you were seeing a different quarterback in Blake Bortles and his connection with two new weapons, Grant and Cole.
Aside from Bortles connecting with new offensive weapons, we got a flashback of UCF quarterback, Blake Bortles, as he used his feet a lot more this game. The first half the Jaguars held the Patriots offense to 1 field goal before heading into halftime 21-3. The Patriots are known for rallying in the second half, so fans were anxious to see what was in store for the second half…
Jacksonville’s defense had a field day containing Brady and the Patriots offense. Linebacker, Telvin Smith had very keen vision out there, contributing to New England’s inability to get to mid-field. Jalen Ramsey backed up his words of “fearing no man”, as he continued to make his presence known of the field… It was not until the end of the 3rd quarter and some of the 4th quarter that the Patriots started to finally get closer or past mid-field. The best they were able to accomplish was more field goals, until 3:48 left in the 4th quarter, New England finally saw the end zone.
Unfortunately, the Patriots one and only touchdown came too late, as the Jaguars took their 31-20 victory once the 4th quarter wrapped. All in all, what a game, and home opener for the Jacksonville Jaguars! Stay tuned with us at Florida National News as the Jaguars will be back home, hoping to continue the season with this momentum, versus the Tennessee Titans, this coming Sunday at 1pm!

2018 NFL Season Week 2: The AFC Championship Rematch

Pats v Jags imageThe Jacksonville home opener is nothing short of highly anticipated! As the Patriots travel down to Florida for the week 2 game, also known as the AFC Championship rematch, fans are eager to see Sunday’s results. The last time these two teams saw each other it was a neck and neck game that turned into a tough loss for the Jaguars even though they held the lead against the Patriots until the early 4th quarter. Once the 4th quarter was underway the Patriots, or should we say Tom Brady did was he does best, tunnel vision on his playmakers and the last-minute touchdowns.
So, what should we expect Sunday? Both teams are dealing with injuries and losses of important players. The Jaguars lost Marquis Lee for the season with a torn ACL and Fournette is listed as questionable after battle a hamstring injury last week 1. As for the Patriots, they lost Jeremy Hill for the season and Sony Michael is questionable versus the Jaguars. Furthermore, the Patriots have lost playmaker, Danny Amendola to the Dolphins and their other ole reliable, Julian Edelman is suspended, leaving Chris Hogan, Rob Gronkowski, and James White as Brady’s main weapons.
In the AFC Championship the Jaguars had Jalen Ramsey covering Gronk for majority of the game and Ramsey was quite successful at minimizing Gronk as an option. It may be safe to say the Jacksonville will return to that coverage plan. Where Jacksonville struggled in the AFC Championship was on offense, Bortles took a beating, especially from defensive lineman, Trey Flowers. Bortles, who was playing with an undisclosed wrist injury was not very well protected. If the Jaguars can protect Bortles and give more time in the pocket, Jacksonville could potentially redeem themselves from the tough loss January 21st.
Although Jacksonville maintained majority of their dominate defense from last season, the Patriots do have their shut down corners, Gilmore and Rowe whom we have seen Belichick utilize effectively in a shadow coverage. But the Jaguars defense is stronger and if not on the field too much can help the Jaguars seal the deal. All in all, it’s safe to say we are probably looking at another close game this Sunday! Stay tune with us at Florida National News as we bring you coverage of this exciting game, Sunday at 4:25pm.

2018 NFL Draft, Night 2!

Night two, Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft continued with trades, surprise, and much anticipation! Players who did not get selected in round are back in hopes of their dreams coming true on night two.

As 7pm ET arrived, the Browns were back on the clock, with the 33rd pick selecting offensive tackle, Austin Corbett from Nevada. The Browns kept the ball rolling by trading Houston for their 35th pick, selecting a dominant running back, Nick Chubb from Georgia, Chubb has had NFL comparisons to running back, Alfred Morris, after seeing Chubb’s performance at Georgia, it’s safe to say that Chubb will be an asset to open the Browns’ offense utilizing his lower body strength and ability to break tackles when he is carrying the ball. The next top prospect off the board was tight end, Mike Gesicki, selected by the Dolphins with the 42nd pick. Although Gesicki is an overall talented tight end, I pictured his talents with another team, other than the Dolphins. Further into the 3rd round, top wide receiving prospect, Christian Kirk, out of Texas A&M was drafted to the Cardinals. The Cardinals is a great fit for the All American wide receiver and to have an athlete like Larry Fitzgerald to learn from and play alongside for at least one season is huge. Next is a running back that was initially talked about as a potential 1st round pick up, LSU, running back, Derrius Guice. Guice has been projected to be an instant starter in the NFL. With the 59th pick, the Redskins could definitely utilize him. Guice is a powerful back that carries multiple skill comparisons to Marshawn Lynch.

The eagerness for us here in Florida come round 3, was two of University of Central Florida’s very own getting selected, starting tight end, Jordan Akins. Akins got selected 98th to the Houston Texans, whom we knew was in the market for a tight end to work in with Ryan Griffin. At the 91st pick, UCF, wide receiver, Tre’Quan Smith found out he is heading to New Orleans. Smith showed everyone that he is a reliable receiver in traffic and deep down the field. Shortly into round 3 with the 76th selection, the Steelers grab Oklahoma quarterback, Mason Rudolph. Rudolph has the skill set to do big things in the league, but playing under a center will be an adjustment for him, although whom better to learn from than Big Ben.

Rounds 1 through 3 are exhilarating, but a chance to play in the NFL regardless is a dream come true. So who were the prize pick-ups of rounds 4 through 7 and top undrafted free agents? Stay tune with us at Florida National News.

Night 1, Round 1: 2018 NFL Draft

 

BucsdraftpicRound 1 on the 2018 NFL Draft was nothing short of exciting and with a handful of surprises for football fans per usual! The Draft opened up with a moment of silence for a fallen Dallas police officer and a know Houston Texans fan and a very special former first lady, Barbra Bush. After the moment of silence the national anthem was song by recording artist, Devon Gilfillian and then our NFL Draft hosts for the night greeted the fans, Colleen Wolfe and Mike Irving.

Wolfe and Irving then introduced NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, who is unfortunately still being welcomed with boos. Goodell came on stage to officially open the 2018 NFL Draft and start the clock for the Cleveland Browns to situate their 1st round pick. This turned out to be the first surprise of the night! Many mock drafts had the Browns taking quarterback, Sam Donald, Josh Allen, or Shaq Barkley 1st. Last minute there were rumors of the Browns going with Baker Mayfield. As the clock counted down and Cleveland’s pick rung in, the crowd went wild as Roger Goodell announced quarterback, Baker Mayfield as the number 1 pick, to the Browns. Not only was that a good pick, but also Mayfield is the first college football walk on to go number 1 in the draft, wow!

Barkley to the Giants was a given. The Jets sealed their need for a quarterback by drafting Sam Donald, a much better system fit and snag than the other quarterbacks originally predicted.

First up on the board for the Florida teams was the Bucs until they traded their pick to the Bills, leaving the first Florida team to pick being the Dolphins. Dolphins selected, Mink Fitzpatrick, a prospect many fans were hoping Tampa Bay would grab. With the 12th pick, the Bucs got their defensive player, just not exactly the secondary player most hoped for, but a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line, Vita Vea. As if the Jaguars defense could get anymore fierce, with the 29th pick, Jacksonville picked up defensive tackle, Taven Bryan. That pick was a little unexpected seeing, as the Jaguars need offensive line help and a tight end.

Round 2 will be shortly underway; lets see whom your teams select tonight!

2018 NFL Draft!!!

NFLD1On this exciting and life changing night we can’t wait to see where these hard working players end up to begin the next chapter of their football career. Tonight we’ll be keeping a special close eye on the home team picks, Tampa Bay Bucs, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Miami Dolphins.

We know Tampa Bay is in the market to keep building their defense, starting with the secondary and then adding to the defensive line. The Bucs defense tried to hang in there last season, but was left helpless after many injuries and not much depth to step in. It would also be beneficial to the Bucs to add some additional offensive weapons to help out Winston and add more versatility to break down other teams defenses. The Jaguars are coming off one of their best seasons in years! As we all saw, defense is not a problem for them, as they were one of the best this past season. Jaguars made some surprising trades this off season and lost a few guys to free agency, so they will need to pick up some consistency on offense to assist Blake Bortles, starting with the offensive line, a strong tight end is needed and another wide receiver. After the quarterback shuffle that has taken place in Miami, Tanehill. Moore, Tanehill, Cutler… they need a franchise quarterback they can count on and with this quarterback class, they should take advantage. The Dolphins are probably also looking to add to their offensive line.

The time is now! Stay tune to see who the Florida home teams add to their roster!

It’s go time in Arlington,Texas at AT&T Stadium, Good Luck Gentlemen!

UCF 2018 Pro Day

The UCF Knights 2018 Pro Day was a must see after the 2017 season the proclaimed National Champions had. The NFL had representation for all 32 to in attendance of UCF’s Pro Day March 29th. Predomintely sources said that most of the teams’ interest were to evaluate cornerback, Mike Hughes, and linebacker, Shaquem Griffin, but don’t be fooled, although those two were the draw in, UCF had much talent to display from the 2017 football class, as well as, many returning veterans such as, Jeff Godfrey, Jordan McCray, Chris Martin, Cal Bloom, Justin Tukes, TJ Mutcherson, Drico Johnson, and Tarik Cook.

Starting with the offense, Jeff Godfrey returned to do some drills and perform as the quarterback for the day, showing that he can still throw and giving the receivers and tight ends tokens for the routes. Trequon Smith showed this past season that he is a play making wide receiver who can also block, Smith continued to show his catching ability and clean routes on pro day. Tight End, Jordan Aikens, who was a big target for the Knights the past two seasons continued to show scouts that he can be a big target and more of a receiving tight end at the next level, scouts also like Aikens ability to catch in traffic, making him valuable in big plays. Jordan Franks stirred up some conversation with his speed, Franks initially played wide receiver for the Knights before transitioning to tight end with coach Frost. Franks mentioned playing a lot of different positions showing versatility which can draw teams in, especially as a special teams factor. Returning tight end, Cal Bloom showed that he can be a big target for teams as well, showing efficiency in routes, yet also displaying a lot of power in the blocking drills. Justin Tukes was apart of Coach O’Leary’s predominately blocking system, so yesterday more eyes were on routes, which Tukes showed comfortability with which will be beneficial to him. Guard, Jordan McCray returned working hard for an opportunity like his brother Justin McCray got last year. Jordan McCray had a solid pro day showing that he is still very capable of working the line. Offensive tackle, Aaron Evans, had some scouts concerned after his back injury, but Evans appeared in all 12 games this past season for the Knights and showed no discomfort in his back. Evans even showed quicker feet and an ability to be agile during his pro day.

Now for the defensive side of the ball Shaquem Griffin had a solid pro day furthering scouts adoration for him. Although Griffin is listed as a linebacker, he chose to do defensive back drills as well. Mike Hughes who is projected to go in the first round of the NFL draft had a promising pro day as well, showing his versatility in participating in as many different drills as possible for scouts, Hughes has been spoken of as a potential hybrid on the defense for teams. Returner, TJ Mutcherson who had a shot with the Texans last year, displayed to teams he deserves another chance. Mutcherson was a key asset in Coach Frost’s secondary in the 2016 season. Jamiyus Pittman, a name that should be familiar on the defense. Pittman was a aggressor and top interior lineman for UCF totaling 42 tackles in the 2017 season. Pittman showed scouts his capabilities in all the drills, but his film is definitely going to speak highly for him.

Overall UCF 2018 pro day was a successful platform for most of the UCF players current and former to show their hunger and desire to take their abilities to the next level. Stay tune with Florida National News as we keep you updated on these hard workers’ journeys and hopeful success stories in the National Football League!