How the Rams’ blockbuster trade for Jalen Ramsey signals a new NFL

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For a guy who’d been on the team for four days, Ramsey didn’t seem like much of a newcomer in the 37-10 rout of the pathetic Falcons. He didn’t give the full Jalen, but it was close. He didn’t start. He came in early in dime packages only, where he could match up against Julio Jones, mostly in bump coverage in the left slot or wide left or right. He did play in the regular scheme later, and it appeared he played six or seven snaps in the Rams’ zone coverage. In all, after two practices, he played 36 of the Rams’ 53 defensive snaps.

Ramsey was not a shutdown corner Sunday. In coverage snaps against Jones, he allowed four catches for 69 yards. He used a jarring hit on Devonta Freeman to force a fumble that the Rams should have recovered but lost in a scrum. Ramsey also demonstrated why he’s a cornerback so many receivers love to hate. On six different occasions, he yapped full-throated at Jones; it’s a wonder with the blizzard of flags in the league now why Ramsey didn’t get one for taunting/berating. Ramsey’s the classic case of a guy you hate when your team plays him, but you like his results when he’s on your team.

“I talk sh– every game,” said Ramsey, matter-of-factly and unapologetically, in a short madhouse locker-room scrum after the game.

In the upset of the week, his back seemed just fine.

When this was still a game in the second quarter, in an eight-play sequence, Jones beat Ramsey twice for significant plays. First, a quick slant from right to left for 17 yards, when Jones got inside Ramsey and sprinted toward the middle with a full stride on him. Then, a simple go route down the right sideline. Gain of 39. Jones simply out-raced Ramsey. So Jones didn’t torch Ramsey; overall, he got the better of him, but it was a good contest.

“If I was really in my groove, like on my sh–, it would really be scary out there,” he said.

Good for Ramsey in not bragging about his game, because it was a decent performance. That’s it. But maybe that’s to be expected after three weeks off with an injury no one in Jacksonville believed was an injury.

“I feel like I played okay,” he said. “I’ve got to get in my groove a little bit more. There’s maybe one, maybe two plays I wanted to have back or play a little bit different.”


For a game at least, all was right with the Rams. After losing three straight, this was a good week for a star-jolt, and for a soft underbelly of the schedule. The Rams stay in Atlanta to practice this week before over-nighting to London on Thursday evening, then playing the Bengals at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. Combined Falcons/Bengals record: 1-13.

There’s enough in what the Rams are doing for a book about how modern football is changing. I don’t have time for a book, so let’s do Cliff’s Notes. The Rams are not alone in bulking up on trades. Cleveland, Baltimore, Oakland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (!) are dipping their toes in the pool more than they used to, or more than their predecessors. This could be an outlier season regarding trades, but I doubt it. With eight days to go before the trading deadline, see how times have changed in 10 years:

2009: 39 trades in the calendar year, involving 50 players. Seven traded players were Pro Bowlers at least once.

2019: 54 trades (with eight days left in the period), involving 69 players. Thirteen have been to at least one Pro Bowl.

That’s a snapshot, not a long-term study. But it just feels like trading has picked up, and though the Rams may be at the head of the pack, they’re not alone. One GM told me over the weekend when I relayed those trading stats: “I bet that numbers ends up at 65.”

“I’ve been thinking about it,” said Hall of Fame GM Bill Polian, “and I want to withhold final judgment, but there are a few factors. Miami’s getting rid of players. The Rams are aggressive. And I think for players with leverage, they see this as being the NBA. I’ll go where I want to go. Ramsey, Antonio Brown—trade me, and the hell with the consequences. But there’s also a little bit of the old [Dodgers GM] Branch Rickey in some of the newer GMs. Rickey said, ‘The only title you can win is the title you can win this year.’ “

Polian then made a fascinating point: He said he didn’t want to be a “curbstone psychologist.” But he said, “I think this generation of GMs might be a little more transactional. It used to be not many GMs thought about taking risks. They were from a generation where their parents might have grown up in the Depression, or remembered the Depression. Life was hard enough without taking risks. Today, the idea that you can make these decisions and change your team quickly is inculcated in this generation. I’m not sure of that, but it seems to be true.”

I love that theory. I think it is dead-on. Why wait to fix a problem when you might get fired after two years? When I told Demoff and Snead, they were fascinated. “Bill makes a great point about our league now, and your trade data backs up the fact it’s not just us. Bill Belichick is great at it too. When they have a hole, he doesn’t wait. He attacks. He trades. He takes chances too.”

Demoff pounced next: “The NBA is coming to the NFL. This [the Ramsey trade] is a similar case to those NBA deals.

“Prior team-building formulas, where you basically had guys for their careers, is pretty much over,” he said. “Think of the guys who’ve moved in the past year. Khalil Mack. Marcus Peters. Jalen Ramsey. Jarvis LandryLaremy Tunsil—”

“Odell!” Snead interjected.

“Beckham too—forgot him,” Demoff said. “But I think there’s one other important factor here. Today, it’s easier to find ways to measure performance. There’s a rise of analytics, there’s better technology, better and more accurate data. What we’ve found is you can find undervalued players easier than before. So I think football people are getting better at synthesizing data to find players.”

I had one more question: “All indications are that Ramsey pulled a power play to force his way out of Jacksonville. They weren’t going to trade him until he basically just stopped playing. Do you have any fear that’ll happen here?”

“No,” Snead said. “I can honestly say I do not fear that. He’s coming to L.A., which is where players love to play. He’s got Sean, who is great at creating a culture players thrive in.”

The Rams are a destination place now. But in trading two first-rounders for Ramsey, they’ve basically gone all-in on paying him for the long term. And already they are paying four players top-of-market deals: quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley, wideout Brandin Cooks and defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Peters was jettisoned to Baltimore in part because L.A. knew it didn’t want to pay him in the $15-million-a-year range long-term after this season; Baltimore may not either, but they needed a playmaking cornerback for this season. And though Ramsey could make more than Peters, that’s coming in 2021, not 2020. Getting Ramsey now gives the Rams two seasons—and, as importantly, two postseasons—to maximize their window.

One thing worries me, even with the cap rising $10/12 million a year. When players get quite good, will the Rams, as the Ravens have done regularly, be willing to let them go to get the compensatory third/fourth-round pick? I present the case of wide receiver Cooper Kupp. He has become Jared Goff’s favorite target. (Targets in 2019: Kupp 78, Robert Woods 58, Brandin Cooks 44.) At $1.05 million and $1.2 million through the end of 2020, Kupp is incredible value. You can’t pay ‘em all, and Kupp could be a casualty of Ramsey’s arrival—if the Rams pay to keep him. That’s an issue for 2021, but the Rams must have angst about it now.

“The Rams way is just not sustainable,” one veteran front-office man (not a GM) told me Friday. “You cannot pay all those guys in a cap era.” Maybe. But I’d have two rejoinders, neither of which is, It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. One: The Rams have found some pretty good low-cost players in the process. Two: It probably depends on the development of Jared Goff more than anything else, because no one wins everything without very good play out of the quarterback.

The Ramsey deal went over big in the locker room, as you’d figure it would. Don’t discount the importance of that. “Players loved it,” Goff said. “Going out and seeing him at practice the other day—wow. That’s something players really like.”

“When your team is built for the now,” safety Eric Weddle told me in the locker room Sunday, “and you have a chance in the future to have two of the best players in this league to build around, Jalen and Aaron Donald, you can get role players to build around them. In all honesty, a draft pick around 25 or 30 you’re probably going to trade anyway. When you have a chance to get one of the best players in the league for two ones, I mean, why not do it?”

The only reason is Ramsey might not be around forever. But the Rams are comfortable with what I call The Newbie Risk/Reward Factor. Which means: When in doubt, go get the stud, and worry about everything else later.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

What to know about the 2023 Pro Bowl: Dates, how to watch/live stream info, AFC, NFC coaches, competition schedule, and more

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The 2023 NFL Pro Bowl will take place over the course of two days at Allegiant Stadium–home of the Las Vegas Raiders–in Paradise, Nevada. The excitement begins on Thursday, February 2 as NFL fan-favorites compete in a brand-new skills challenge featuring the following events: Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball, Lightning Round, Longest Drive, Precision Passion, and Best Catch.

Sunday, February 5 will feature the following: the Best Catch Finale, Gridiron Gauntlet, Kick Tack Toe, Move the Chains, and three seven-on-seven non-contact Flag football games between the league’s best players.

See below for additional information on how to watch the 2023 Pro Bowl as well as answers to all of your frequently asked questions.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

Who are the coaches for the 2023 Pro Bowl?

AFC Coaches:

  • Peyton Manning – Head Coach
  • Ray Lewis – Defensive Coordinator
  • Diana Flores – Offensive Coordinator

NFC Coaches:

  • Eli Manning – Head Coach
  • Demarcus Ware – Defensive Coordinator
  • Vanita Krouch – Offensive Coordinator

How will the 2023 Pro Bowl be different from previous editions of the event?

Rather than the traditional tackle football game, this year’s Pro Bowl will debut a skills competition and a non-contact flag football game.

How will scoring work?

According to the NFL, points will be calculated in the following way:

  • The winning conference of each skill competition earns three points towards their team’s overall score, with 24 total points available across the eight skills events.
  • The winning conference from each of the first two Flag football games on Sunday will earn six points for their team, for a total of 12 available points.
  • Points from the skills competitions and first two Flag games will be added together and will be the score at the beginning of the third and final Flag game, which will determine the winning conference for The Pro Bowl Games.

How to watch the 2023 Pro Bowl:

  • Where: Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada
  • When: Thursday, February 2 (7:00 PM ET) and Sunday, February 5 (3:00 PM ET)
  • TV Channel: ESPN, ABC, and Disney XD

When is Super Bowl 2023?

Super Bowl 2023 takes place on Sunday, February 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

Where is Super Bowl 2023?

Super Bowl 2023 will be contested at State Farm Stadium–home of the Arizona Cardinals– in Glendale, Arizona.

What teams are playing in Super Bowl 2023?

The Philadelphia Eagles will face the Kansas City Chiefs marking the first time since 2017 that both top seeds qualified for the Super Bowl.


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Super Bowl food 2023: Appetizer, entrée, and dessert ideas for Super Bowl LVII inspired by the Eagles and Chiefs

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As the countdown continues toward Super Bowl LVII, the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs are getting their game plans set. But while they go over their plays, the rest of America goes over their menus in preparation for the big day. When it comes to the Super Bowl, everything is always the best — the best teams, the best performers and, of course, the best food.

But how can you impress your party in the kitchen while showing support for your favorite team? Let’s take a look at some iconic food from each of the Super Bowl team cities to prepare for Super Bowl LVII.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl LVII: Date, location, how to watch

Philadelphia Super Bowl food

Crabfries

Why have plain old fries when you could have crabfries? That’s exactly what Pete Ciarrocchi, the CEO of the legendary Philadelphia restaurant Chickie and Pete’s, said one day when creating this intriguing concoction.

While the name may be misleading, crabfries do not contain any actual crab, but rather a blend of spices and Old Bay seasoning that allow the dish to take on a subtle seafood flavor. Topped with a creamy, cheesy dipping sauce, the crinkle-cut fries are sure to take your taste buds to the next level.

Cheesesteak sloppy joes

It simply isn’t Philly without a cheesesteak. Keep it casual in your kitchen on Super Bowl Sunday with Katie Lee Biegel’s Philly Cheesesteak sloppy joes, an easy way to rep the Birds.

Can’t get enough of the cheesesteak? Bring some more Philly specials to the table with this cheesesteak dip, the perfect way to amp up your appetizer game and leave party guests feeling like they just took a trip to the City of Brotherly Love.

RELATED: Rob Gronkowski predicts Eagles to win Super Bowl LVII

Water ice

Is the action of the game heating up? Cool down with a classic Philly treat, water ice. First originating in Bensalem, Pennsylvania in 1984, the icy dessert is now sold in over 600 stores nationwide. The original Rita’s Water Ice shop, however, still remains open for business.

You can even show a little extra passion for the Birds by whipping up this green apple variation, sure to leave you refreshed and ready for the Lombardi.

Kansas City Super Bowl food

Cheese slippers

If you’re looking for a classy, yet authentic appetizer to bring to the table, there’s no better fit than the cheese slipper. This ciabatta loaf baked with melty cheeses and topped with seasonal vegetables and herbs has Kansas City natives hooked.

While the bread is typically baked to perfection by local shops, test your own skill level with this gourmet slipper bread recipe that you can complete with the mouth-watering toppings of your choice.

RELATED: How many Super Bowls have the Chiefs been to, won?

BBQ burnt ends

It’s rare to hear the words Kansas City without barbeque following short after. If you’re looking to impress your guests with your Super Bowl food spread, get out to the grill and start showing off.

While many cities in America know how to cook up some excellent BBQ, the combination of the sweet flavors and mouth-watering sauce has made Kansas City a hub for barbeque lovers for decades.

BBQ burnt ends, while a bit time-consuming, are  well worth a little elbow grease. The dish is also one of the few in Kansas City with a distinct origin story. The meal first found its creation at Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque, a legendary African American restaurant in KC. Bryant originally made the burnt ends from the trimmings of pork belly, but since then, BBQ lovers have made incredible bites out of many styles of meat.

And if you’re feeling extra ambitious, try fixing up some classic Kansas City sides to pair with your entrée to perfection.

RELATED: What to know about Rihanna, the Super Bowl LVII halftime performer

Chiefs chocolate chip cookies

While there is no specific dessert that defines the Heart of America, you can still show your Kansas City pride with these ever-colorful Chiefs chocolate chip cookies.

Make sure to have your food dye handy, because the red and yellow hue of these cookies are sure to show everyone whose side you are on.

Or, if you’re feeling artistic, design an eye-catching Chiefs jersey out of the fan-favorite rice krispie treats. Whether you make Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce or Chris Jones, you’ll have the tastiest Super Bowl jerseys around.

How to watch the Super Bowl 2023 – Philadelphia Eagles vs Kansas City Chiefs:

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