Jonathan Ogden is a huge man. We met the greatest LT in NFL history following the Gatorade Athlete of the Year Awards.
Jayson Tatum and Sydney McLaughlin took home the hardware as they were named Gatorade Male and Female Athletes of the Year for 2016. We were on hand at the L.A. Hotel in downtown Los Angeles for the festivities hosted by ESPN’s Sage Steele.
This prestigious award for high school athletes has been an annual tradition since 1985 (when it was know as the Player of the Year Awards), and this was our fifth year covering this fun event. The event was attended by sports stars including Cam Newton, Karl-Anthony Towns, Todd Gurley, April Ross, Abby Wambach, Landon Donovan and Matthew Stafford.
New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski will join the Madden NFL cover family as the featured cover athlete forMadden NFL 17, hittingshelves on August 23rd for Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
Electronic Arts Inc. officially unveiled the Madden NFL 17 cover art, featuring New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski. EA and ESPN jointly revealed the cover live during the 6pm ET/3pm PT edition of SportsCenter, alongside a video debuting this year’s game.
In Madden NFL 17, players on Xbox One and PlayStation®4 can take their team all the way with new gameplay features that elevate the ground game, arming teams for success on both sides of the ball.
“It’s great to finally be able to share with the world that Gronk will be joining our cover fraternity,” said Josh Rabenovets, Senior Director of Global Marketing at EA SPORTS. “He’s one of the most fun, dominant and exciting players in the league, and it’s awesome to feature the famed Gronk Spike on the Madden NFL 17 cover.”
Gronkowski is one of the most decorated tight ends in the NFL, holding the season record for most touchdowns by a tight end in a season, as well as a four-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl Champion. He’s widely regarded as one of the most physically dominant players in the league, and was the highest-rated tight end in Madden NFL 16.
“It’s a really special honor to appear on the cover of Madden NFL 17,” said Gronkowski. “It’s one of those things that pretty much every guy in the league secretly dreams of, so to actually be the one on the cover, it’s a really big deal.”
EA also released a Madden NFL 17 video today showcasing Gronkowski and the first of several new features for next-gen consoles in this year’s game. Fans can check out the Madden NFL 17 website to learn more about improvements to the ground game, including a new path assist feature, new defensive AI and expansion of ball carrier special moves, which give players new creative controls on the ground, all of which are featured on the Xbox One and PlayStation®4 versions of the game.
EA Access* members can try Madden NFL 17 before it’s released for a limited time as part of a Play First Trial, only on Xbox One.
Madden NFL 17 will be available for Xbox One, Xbox 360®, PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 on August 23. To learn more about Madden NFL 17, visit http://www.easports.com/madden-nfl.
Is Mike Shanahan trying to rehabilitate his image by speaking up now about Robert Griffin III?
Shanahan has plenty to answer for, as many of us felt he committed coaching malpractice by letting RGIII take a beating as they implemented the read-option in RGIII’s first season. In many ways that season was a smashing success, but there was a price to pay with those injuries.
Shanahan defends what they did with the read-option, pointing out that they took advantage of what RGIII did best. Ok, that’s a fair point. Yet he tries to argue that RGIII’s injuries came from more traditional QB plays as opposed to designed runs. That may be true, but the real reason for the injuries had to do with RGIII’s poor judgement about when to slide. Shanahan addresses this, comparing RGIII to Russell Wilson who has been brilliant using his judgement on when to run and when to slide:
And Wilson doesn’t care how many yards he gets. He gets as many yards as he can, and then he falls to the ground. You will never see him get hit running the read-option, or very seldom, because he knows when to give it, when to keep it, when to slide, and that’s what quarterbacks who run the read-option have to do. He knows there is nothing more important than him staying healthy. For all these analysts that say, oh, you can’t run it because you take too many hits, well, that was true about Robert. Robert did take too many hits. One thing I didn’t do a very good job of is trying to emphasize to him that you can’t take a hit; you’ve gotta slide, you are too valuable. But was hard for him, because that’s not what he did in college. He was such a good athlete, and he was used to being faster and quicker and sometimes bigger. But in the NFL, these guys all can run and they all can hit, so you have to give yourself up. He was very competitive, and he didn’t want to do that.
Shanahan’s admission here that he didn’t do a good enough job teaching RGIII when to avoid contact tells the real story. The success of the read-option only reinforced RGIII’s willingness to take chances, and it was in this context that Shanahan let things get out of control.
Shanahan’s larger point is that judicious use of the read-option can be a huge advantage, and that argument is persuasive. He points to RGIII’s initial success, the success of Russell Wilson, and the success of Colin Kaepernick before he and Jim Harbaugh made the mistake of focusing way to much on pocket throws.
The question now is how will RGIII do in Cleveland with Hue Jackson. Shanahan likes that Jackson is very flexible and he thinks Jackson will use some read-option principles to take advantage of what RGIII does best. But he seems to put way to much emphasis on RGIII not being able to do much from the pocket. It’s hard to imagine RGIII being effective without making at least some progress on that front.
The good news with Jackson is that he focuses much more on play-action and deep throws to stretch the field, as opposed to the complex West Coast Offense employed by Shanahan and Jay Gruden in Washington. One can argue that the West Coast Offense was the worst fit for RGII, and he may have a better chance to succeed in a more vertical passing game that takes advantage of his strong arm.