Polynesian Bowl announces Doug Williams, Trent Dilfer as coaches

… Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii Building & Construction Trades Council, Hawaii News Now, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel …

(October 14, 2020) – The Polynesian Bowl announced today that two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, Doug Williams and Trent Dilfer have been selected as head coaches for the 2021 Polynesian Bowl.

The Polynesian Bowl is an annual all-star game featuring 100 of the nation’s top senior high school football players. This year’s game will be held on Saturday, January 23, 2021 (6:30 p.m. HST) at Aloha Stadium on O’ahu, Hawaii and will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.

Doug Williams will serve as Head Coach for Team Mauka (Mountain). Doug was named Super Bowl XXII MVP, making him the first black QB to both start and win (Washington) a Super Bowl. Following his playing career, Williams began coaching, most notably serving as the head coach of the Grambling State Tigers. He currently serves as Senior Vice President of Player Development for the NFL’s Washington Football Team. Doug is only one of a handful of players honored in two NFL Stadium “Ring of Honors” (Washington and Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

“The Polynesian Bowl is going to be an incredible cultural experience,” said Doug Williams. “I’m looking forward to coaching the nation’s best high school players in paradise.”

Trent Dilfer will serve as Head Coach for Team Makai (Ocean). Trent played 14 seasons in the NFL including starting QB for the Baltimore Ravens during their Super Bowl XXXV championship. After his NFL playing career, Trent was hired by ESPN as an NFL analyst, a position he held until 2017. He currently serves as head coach of the Elite 11, a quarterback camp featuring the nation’s best high school quarterbacks and at Lipscomb Academy.

“I’m excited to be part of the 2021 Polynesian Bowl,” said Trent Dilfer. “The talent is off the charts. It’s going to be a lot of fun coaching these elite athletes.”

Past Polynesian Bowl head coaches include: Dick Tomey & June Jones (2017), Dick Vermeil & Terry Donahue (2018), Mike Bellotti & Jim Zorn (2019) and Frank Beamer & Steve Spurrier (2020).

About the Polynesian Bowl: The world’s top high school football players gather in Hawaii to celebrate culture & play the game they love. It is televised live on CBS Sports Network, presented annually by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame. Major partners include adidas, BodyArmor, CrossCountry Mortgage, Friends of Hawaii Charities, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii Building & Construction Trades Council, Hawaii News Now, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel and Riddell.

For more information, visit www.PolynesianBowl.com and www.PolynesianFootballHOF.org.

The Polynesian Bowl began in 2017 with current Stanford running backConnor Wedingtonthe inaugural Offensive MVP and Iowa defensive lineman A.J. Epenesa the Defensive MVP. The 2018 game was the second year and Washington cornerbackKyler Gordonand Stanford quarterback signeeTanner McKeewere named Co-MVP’s. The 2019 game saw linebackerDaniel Heimuliand receiverPuka Nacua, both now at Washington, earn co-MVP honors. The 2020 game saw BYU signeeSol-Jay Maiavaand Washington preferred walk-onMeki Peiwin co-MVP.

The fifth Polynesian Bowl is set for January 23, 2021 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, with nearly 40 players already selected to the 2021 game.

For a look at the 2021 Polynesian Bowl roster,go here.

Fantasy football insights with Watson for Week 5

For those who are looking for a tool to concentrate various web opinions into one location in order to help make roster moves, IBM offers Watson’s …
3:06 PM ET

  • Andre SnellingsESPN

For those who are looking for a tool to concentrate various web opinions into one location in order to help make roster moves, IBM offers Watson’s Insights as an unsupervised, quantitative supplement to the more in-depth, personalized analysis that you would normally expect from an ESPN analyst.

IBM Insights uses Watson AI to analyze thousands of fantasy articles, blogs, websites and podcasts and provide support data to assist with fantasy football decisions. Watson outputs an estimated scoring range for each player, as well as projecting the chances that a player will exceed the upside estimate (e.g. “boom”) or fall short of the low end estimate (e.g. “bust”) on any given week.

The following article points out a few notable insights from Watson for Week 5 of the 2019 NFL season, as of early Friday afternoon.


Wide receiver decisions

While wide receivers can provide some of the best fantasy value in a given week, it can be difficult to decide beforehand which receivers to start. Because most of the 32 teams in the NFL regularly run three wide receiver sets, there are a plethora of options available each week with the potential to score even during bye weeks.

IBM Insights provides information that can help make these decisions easier. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the wide receivers that IBM Insights projects with the best value for this week.

Projections higher than rank

James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens

  • Weekly rank 178, 58th among eligible WRs

  • High projection: 30.2 fantasy points

  • Low projection: 4.0 fantasy points

  • Boom chance: 0.23

  • Bust chance: 0.20

Watson tabbed Washington with the highest weekly high score among wide receivers this week, which has to be largely attributed to lead wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster battling a toe injury that has yet to let him practice this week. The Steelers are also facing a Ravens defense that ranks 23rd in the NFL, allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

Watson’s Insight: Insight tabs Washington as a high-risk, high-reward prospect with the potential to produce WR1 numbers this week.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

  • Weekly rank 115, 41st among eligible WRs

  • High projection: 22.0 fantasy points

  • Low projection: 8.5 fantasy points

  • Boom chance: 0.27

  • Bust chance: 0.20

Valdes-Scantling has already been productive in his own right, but he also has additional upside based upon lead wideout Davante Adams‘ injury that has kept him out of practice this week. Valdes-Scantling has a prime-time matchup with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, and has the potential to put a big number on the board even against a strong Cowboys defense.

Watson’s Insight: Valdes-Scantling is a high-floor, high-ceiling prospect in a matchup where he may be Rodgers’ lead receiver.

Most likely to go boom/least likely to bust

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Weekly rank 85, 32nd among WRs

  • High projection: 18.3 fantasy points

  • Low projection: 8.3 fantasy points

  • Boom chance: 0.26

  • Bust chance: 0.08

Brown has seen his production dip in the past two weeks after his scorching start to the season, but Insights tabs him as a potential bounce-back candidate with big upside this week. The Steelers’ defense shut down the Bengals on Monday night, but that was primarily through pressuring quarterback Andy Dalton. Lamar Jackson‘s scrambling ability should afford him more time to make throws downfield against this defense, which opens up the possibility for Brown to boom.

Watson’s Insight: Brown always has the ability to go the distance, and Insights tabs him as a good chance to boom in his matchup with the Steelers.

Ted Ginn Jr., New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Weekly rank 237, 72nd among WRs

  • High projection: 25.2 fantasy points

  • Low projection: 4.2 fantasy points

  • Boom chance: 0.27

  • Bust chance: 0.14

The story here is that both Ginn and teammate Tre’Quan Smith (ranked 283rd, 84th among WRs) both projected with high potential scores and better odds given to boom than to bust. It appears that the Watson has identified this week’s matchup with the Buccaneers as a good opportunity for the Saints’ wideouts to go big, including both the second and third receivers on the team.

Watson’s Insight: Neither Ginn nor Smith ranks highly overall and should be found on the free-agent wire in most leagues, but Watson pegs both of them as potential fantasy starters this week in what could be a high-scoring matchup against the Buccaneers.

Insights provided by IBM Watson in partnership with ESPN

From DoorDash to field, Troy’s Blatt had unusual week

TROY — Tanner Blatt was in his apartment, getting ready to go to work when the phone unexpectedly rang. Blatt was used to being summoned …
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Troy Trojans Scrimmage and media day

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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey talks with players after Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey talks with players after Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy running back B.J. Smith (26) breaks free for a touchdown as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy running back B.J. Smith (26) breaks free for a touchdown as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy safety Koby Perry (4) and safety TJ Harris (8) celebrate Harris' interception return for touchdown as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy safety Koby Perry (4) and safety TJ Harris (8) celebrate Harris’ interception return for touchdown as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker (7) passes the ball while warming up for Troy University's football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker (7) passes the ball while warming up for Troy University’s football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy wide receiver Khalil McClain (6) dives for extra yardage as defender Reddy Steward (18) defends as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy wide receiver Khalil McClain (6) dives for extra yardage as defender Reddy Steward (18) defends as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy safety Micah Murphy (13) breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Troy tight end Sam Letton (17) as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy safety Micah Murphy (13) breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Troy tight end Sam Letton (17) as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey coaches as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey coaches as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy cornerback O'shai Fletcher (11) nearly intercepts a ball intended for Troy wide receiver Luke Whittemore (83) as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy cornerback O’shai Fletcher (11) nearly intercepts a ball intended for Troy wide receiver Luke Whittemore (83) as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy running back DK Billingsley (20) is defended by Troy defender Kevin Nixon (21) as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy running back DK Billingsley (20) is defended by Troy defender Kevin Nixon (21) as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy wide receiver Reggie Todd (2) is stopped after a catch as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy wide receiver Reggie Todd (2) is stopped after a catch as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy running back Jamontez Woods (35) is defended by Troy linebacker Carlton Martial (2) Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy running back Jamontez Woods (35) is defended by Troy linebacker Carlton Martial (2) Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker (7) passes the ball as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker (7) passes the ball as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy defensive tackle Rickey Samuel (93) pressures the quarterback as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy defensive tackle Rickey Samuel (93) pressures the quarterback as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey coaches as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey coaches as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy University warms up on their new turf as the prepare to scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy University warms up on their new turf as the prepare to scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy safety Micah Murphy (13) stops Troy wide receiver Demontrez Brown (88) as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy safety Micah Murphy (13) stops Troy wide receiver Demontrez Brown (88) as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker (7) loos to pass as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker (7) loos to pass as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy running back B.J. Smith (26) carries the ball as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy running back B.J. Smith (26) carries the ball as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson (8) carries for a touchdown as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson (8) carries for a touchdown as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker (7) as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker (7) as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy wide receiver Jaden Warren (87) carries the ball as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy wide receiver Jaden Warren (87) carries the ball as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy quarterback Gavin Screws (9) passes as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy quarterback Gavin Screws (9) passes as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey coaches as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey coaches as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy University has installed new turf at their stadium on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy University has installed new turf at their stadium on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey with his team after a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey with his team after a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson (8) scores a touchdown as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson (8) scores a touchdown as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy cornerback Craig Slocum (17) returns an interception as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy cornerback Craig Slocum (17) returns an interception as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy running back DK Billingsley (20) carries the ball as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy running back DK Billingsley (20) carries the ball as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy quarterback Jacob Free (12) as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy quarterback Jacob Free (12) as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy safety TJ Harris (8) is congratulated after scoring a touchdown on an interception during Troy's scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy safety TJ Harris (8) is congratulated after scoring a touchdown on an interception during Troy’s scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey during warm ups before the football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey during warm ups before the football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy University defensive line coach Davern Williams during warmups for Troy's football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy University defensive line coach Davern Williams during warmups for Troy’s football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy wide receiver Reggie Todd (2) is stopped asTroy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy wide receiver Reggie Todd (2) is stopped asTroy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy quarterback Jacob Free (12) looks to throw as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy quarterback Jacob Free (12) looks to throw as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy running back B.J. Smith (26) carries the ball as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy running back B.J. Smith (26) carries the ball as Troy University holds a football scrimmage on campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey talks with reporters as Troy University football media day is held on the campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey talks with reporters as Troy University football media day is held on the campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey talks with reporters during media day in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy head coach Chip Lindsey talks with reporters during media day in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy Offensive Coordinator Ryan Pugh talks with reporters as Troy football media day is held on the campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy Offensive Coordinator Ryan Pugh talks with reporters as Troy football media day is held on the campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy defensive coordinator Brandon Hall talks with reports as Troy's football media day is held on the campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy defensive coordinator Brandon Hall talks with reports as Troy’s football media day is held on the campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy defender Zo Bridges (50) talks with reports as Troy University football media day is held on the campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy defender Zo Bridges (50) talks with reports as Troy University football media day is held on the campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy running back B.J. Smith (26) talks with reporters as Troy University football media day is held on the campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy running back B.J. Smith (26) talks with reporters as Troy University football media day is held on the campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker (7) talks with reporters as Troy University football media day is held on the campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019.

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Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker (7) talks with reporters as Troy University football media day is held on the campus in Troy, Ala., on Saturday August 10, 2019. Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
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TROY — Tanner Blatt was in his apartment, getting ready to go to work when the phone unexpectedly rang.

Blatt was used to being summoned — that’s how DoorDash and other delivery services work. Someone orders food from a restaurant or a fast-food joint, or orders groceries, or orders whatever.

Blatt picks it all up and delivers it.

But this phone call came from an unexpected place and had a most-unexpected request.

Can you deliver the ball?

Blatt, a former walk-on at Troy who gave up football more than a year ago, was listening to Troy running backs coach Brian Blackmon, who is also his former high school coach at Opelika.

The Trojans, due to injuries, were digging deeper than ever in search of running backs.

Might Blatt, instead of running deliveries all over town, run the ball instead?

“He said, ‘I have the craziest proposition of your life. I need you to come back and play running back for us,’” Blatt remembered Tuesday over how he skipped his Door Dash shift and soon rejoined the Trojans.

“I said, ‘I can be up there this afternoon,’” Blatt said. “I took a shower, got a little bit of food and took off to practice.”

Thus began an unusual week that Blatt ended with 11 carries for 44 yards in Troy’s 35-7 win at Akron last weekend.

With the Trojans missing three running backs, including one to a season-ending knee injury, they turned to Blatt rather than risk another scholarship player.

“They may make a ‘30 for 30’ on that one day,” Troy coach Chip Lindsey said. “I think you have to be impressed with a guy who gets a few days of work and goes into a game trying to help us put it away.”

More: Troy crossing fingers on health status of RBs

Blatt’s decision took less time than he needed to convince his family that the news was real.

Older brother Zach openly scoffed. His parents weren’t as incredulous, but they still didn’t believe.

“The first person I called was my brother,” Tanner Blatt said. “He did not believe me. At all.

“He didn’t believe me for about four days. He thought I was just messing with him.”

Tanner had to resort to 21st-century tactics to sway his family. He showed them practice film.

“It’s ‘The Waterboy’ all over again,” defensive coordinator Brandon Hall said.

Hall remembered how he “hated” when Blatt left the Trojans more than a year ago and how Blatt’s work ethic and enthusiasm were “infectious” to the other players.

Hall also said Blatt’s quick reaction to Blackmon was no surprise.

“Of course, his head coach told him he had to play,” Hall said. “He never wavered one bit. He was like, ‘Hey, I need you out here tomorrow,’ and he’s like, ‘OK.’”

Blatt had decided to give up football more than a year ago for financial reasons.

Without much promise of playing time, he decided he needed to work to help pay for school. He worked for DoorDash several nights a week in Troy and went home on the weekends to work in lawn care.

Blatt also helps in Troy’s strength and conditioning department as part of a class internship. “Baseball and softball in the mornings,” he said.

He has 19 class hours this semester, including the three-hour internship, plus the two jobs. And now football.

“It’s crazy how it worked out,” Blatt said. “Over the past semesters, my classes had been in the afternoons. It just so happens that all my classes now are done right before practice.

“It’s 19 hours, the most I’ve ever had, and it just so happens that it’s done right before we have practice.”

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Tanner Blatt, well before the Troy Trojans recalled him to the football team, made a food delivery to the Troy football complex. A. Stacy Long, Montgomery Advertiser

Blatt, the week before fielding the football call, did field a food delivery to Troy’s football complex.

Offensive graduate assistant Nick Anderson stood out, Blatt said, because he tipped well.

“Coach Nick has been the best, by far,” Blatt said, reviewing his tipping memory. “Students typically don’t tip so much, obviously. I don’t blame them. It’s college.”

Blatt skipped another DoorDash shift Sunday — “You pick when you want to work,” he said — due to bodily conditions.

“I hadn’t been that sore in a while,” Blatt said. “I wasn’t tired, but my body felt like I had been hit by a train.”

He plans to continue working at DoorDash a few nights a week, though he’ll go on a sabbatical from his weekend job at home in Opelika. Hey, Troy (2-1) has more games, starting with Saturday’s home game against Arkansas State (2-2).

As far as DoorDash, Blatt said he’ll likely work Monday nights, when Troy has an off day, and Sunday nights. Potentially Thursday, too.

“I don’t want to overdo it, but it’s still a possibility,” he said. “It’s easy work, depending on the night, and it pays pretty good.

“If you’re busy, it’s good. If you’re not, I can just sit in my car, do homework and study.”

Lindsey said he was unaware of Blatt’s employment status and admitted it, during the game, “might have scared me even more.”

But Blatt’s football deliveries garnered his rave review.

“That’s amazing, isn’t it?” Lindsey said. “I didn’t even know what that was. DoorDash, is that what they call it?”

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Troy coach Chip Lindsey says Tanner Blatt deserves recognition after going from delivering food around town to running the ball for the Trojans. A. Stacy Long, Montgomery Advertiser

Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter A. Stacy Long at slong1@gannett.com

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Four Down Territory – QB Blast from the Past

This is an era of big data, analytics, and explosive passing in the NFL. The rules disproportionately favor wide receivers, and true shutdown corners …

Welcome to Four Down Territory! This is a space where I’ll write about four things in professional sports every Saturday. Whether it’s the four greatest moments or the four worst blunders or anything in between, the only rule is that I’ll discuss four things. In my ninth installment, I’ll be outlining some of the best quarterbacks to play before the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.

This is an era of big data, analytics, and explosive passing in the NFL. The rules disproportionately favor wide receivers, and true shutdown corners are harder and harder to come by. Thursday’s Hall of Fame game gave me a blast from the past. I want to showcase some of the game’s greatest quarterbacks before 1970, because these guys tend to fall by the wayside when we think of the greatest QBs ever. Their statistics simply can’t match the modern players because the game was different back then. Today, we use the term “game manager” derisively, but that’s what a quarterback should do: manage the game. These QBs were the best at it, thanks to their knowledge of the game and consistent performance. Hope you enjoy!

Slingin’ Sammy Baugh

Slingin’ Sammy was destined for greatness as the sixth overall selection from TCU to the Washington Redskins. Yet, we had no idea of his impact on the very game as we know it. Baugh played during the Great Depression and World War II. These were very lean years for the NFL, as World War II pressed many of the players into military service. During the war, there just wasn’t much interest in the seemingly insignificant games and teams had to merge or fold to field full games. Sammy Baugh was able to rise above these adverse conditions and become one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. His trick was the forward pass, a routine play today but highly uncommon back then. Baugh was more accurate than any quarterback before him, making the forward pass a viable option that Washington used regularly. Passing wasn’t his only strength, as he was one of the most versatile players ever. He played quarterback, cornerback, and punter, filling important needs in a league starved for players. In 1943, he had his finest season as a pro: he led the league in passing, punting (45.9 yard average), and interceptions (11). When all was said and done, Baugh set 13 NFL records over three positions, won six passing titles and two championships, and made Washington the football town it is today. Oh, and every team utilized the forward pass after him.

Otto Graham

We talk about winning as an important individual statistic, even though it’s done as a team. How many times have you heard someone compare players by the number of championships won? We all know that this is what defines legacies, but Otto Graham is still overlooked. Graham won seven championships and appeared in the NFL or AAFC Championship game ten times. He played for the Browns that long ago. Yes, they were actually elite back then. They started play in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), winning four of the league’s eight championships in total. Following the 1949 season, the AAFC merged into the NFL, but this did not change the disrespect that NFL owners had for the AAFC teams. Commissioner Bert Bell scheduled the Browns to play the two-time defending champion Philadelphia Eagles (boy, this really was a long time ago), figuring it would be a smackdown. But, Otto Graham led coach Paul Brown’s innovative offensive, taking advantage of advanced passing concepts and motion shifts to beat Philadelphia through the air. He threw for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns, a great line no matter the era. 14 weeks later, Graham led the Browns to their first NFL championship, passing for four touchdowns to beat the Los Angeles Rams. When all was said and done, Graham was the greatest winner this game has ever seen, and we ought to hear his name more when we discuss winning at any level of football.

Bart Starr

Pretty much every time New England plays, we have to hear about how Tom Brady was a sixth round draft choice and the 199th overall pick. But when we’re thinking about draft steals, our view is too narrow, and Bart Starr rarely comes up. Guy was picked in the 17th round, 200th overall, and again, all he did was win. Starr compiled a 9-1 record in the postseason and a 104.8 passer rating, still the highest mark in league history. His only loss was his first playoff game, the 1960 NFL Championship that they dropped to Philadelphia by three points. Perhaps more importantly, Starr was the engine that made Lombardi’s machine go. He acted as a coach on the field and called his own plays, executing Lombardi’s game plans to a T. Starr and the Packers employed a very balanced offensive attack, placing particular emphasis on the sweep to showcase the mobility of their offensive line. Though Starr never attempted more than 300 passes in any season, his passes were almost always effective. When we think of Starr, though, one shining moment stands out from his five championships. In his and Lombardi’s last hurrah, Green Bay trailed Dallas by three in the 1967 NFL Championship Game, better known as the Ice Bowl. The last drive was vintage Packers football: six passes, six runs, and a -50 degree wind chill. Starr calmly drove Green Bay down the field and his last run on the drive was most memorable. Without telling any of his teammates (but of course consulting with Lombardi), Starr ran a quarterback sneak, using a double-team from center Ken Bowman and guard Jerry Kramer to score the winning touchdown. Had Starr made the wrong call, time would’ve run out and Green Bay’s three-peat would’ve been foiled. He is still the only QB to win three championships in a row. When all was said and done, Starr was a winner who cared most about the team, and who was the best field general for Vince Lombardi.

Johnny Unitas

This is the QB who transcended era, a player so great that he still gets mentioned as one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. It’s hard to believe he was cut by Pittsburgh and was paid $6 a game playing semi-pro ball for the Bloomfield Rams. But in a very representative story in sports, John Constantine Unitas made the most of a lucky break. After signing with the Baltimore Colts, he was thrust into the starter’s role after George Shaw went down with an injury. He proceeded to throw an interception returned for a touchdown, but he persevered. In 1957, Unitas led the league in passing (2,550 yards) and touchdowns (24), but the next year he would achieve greater heights. We all know of The Greatest Game Ever Played, but it was only made that way because of Johnny Unitas. In the 1958 NFL Championship Game, Unitas and the Colts found themselves down by three with two minutes remaining in regulation. Undeterred, Unitas introduced the league’s newest innovation in front of a national audience: the two-minute drill. Calling his own plays, Unitas calmly and swiftly led the Colts down the field for the tying field goal. He didn’t call a run the entire drive, instead throwing the ball and finding Hall of Fame receiver Raymond Berry time and again. In overtime, Unitas had the opportunity to lead a drive to win the game this time, and he mixed the pass and the run to punch it in the end zone and secure the title for the Colts. The game was a master class in timing and execution, the two elements of offensive playcalling that are still used today. Unitas and Berry also showed the world the importance of rhythm between quarterback and receiver, as Berry recorded 12 receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown. This game lifted the NFL to the popularity it enjoys today, thanks to Unitas’ clutch performance for the dramatic victory. Over the rest of his impressive career, Unitas amassed three MVP awards, three championships, an innumerable amount of records, and the distinct title of the best quarterback ever. When all was said and done, Unitas was a hard worker who perfected his craft, revolutionized football, and made it the game it is today.

Artificial Intelligence Could Slash Salaries of Overpaid NFL Star Players

As computing power continues to improve, one company plans to take data analytics to the next level. They are using an artificial intelligence (AI) …

As computing power continues to improve, one company plans to take data analytics to the next level. They are using an artificial intelligence (AI) system to provide recommendations on player salaries for all National Football League (NFL) teams.

Cincinnati-based Pro Football Focus (PFF) is owned by broadcaster and former Cincinnati Bengals player Cris Collinsworth. The company is in business with all 32 NFL teams and 62 college programs. PFF sells player data in every game, provided in a searchable setup. The data package comes with videos.

In an interview with Fox Business Network, PFF’s Collinsworth said:

“We break down every player on every play in every game. So we have this treasure trove of data that we work with.”

For now, teams are using the data provided by PFF to analyze plays, make strategic changes, and recruit new players. Within a year, however, the company will leverage the immense repository of data and use it in conjunction with machine learning algorithms to more accurately predict a player’s market value.

So far, the data analytics firm has discovered that some teams are not making every dollar count.

Initial Analysis Reveals That Some Teams Are Overpaying Players by Millions of Dollars

Early results have been shocking, even to the chief executive of the company. PFF’s analysis shows that some NFL teams are paying more than they should. Collinsworth said:

“Who knew that running backs aren’t as valuable as quarterbacks in the National Football league?”

Even if quarterbacks have more value than running backs on the field, PFF found that no team has won the Superbowl with a quarterback receiving more than 13 percent of the salary cap. Based on this insight, one can easily assume that at least 10 quarterbacks are significantly overpaid.

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AI suggests many star NFL players are overpaid. | Source: Shutterstock

Examples of Overpaid NFL Players Based on PFF Numbers

  • Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is the highest-paid player in the history of the sport at $35 million per year. Wilson occupies 20 percent of the team’s $175 million salary cap. Based on PFF’s numbers, the team is overpaying Wilson by $12.5 million per year.
  • The same is true for Aaron Rodgers, who is earning $33.5 million. The Green Bay Packers team is paying the quarterback $11 million more than they should.
  • Atlanta Falcons star Matt Ryan is receiving $30 million per year. PFF data suggests that the franchise is paying the quarterback an excess of $7.5 million per year.
  • Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings is making $28 million per year. He fills 16 percent of the team’s salary cap, which means the Vikings are overpaying by $5.5 million each year.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo is still an unproven asset, but the 49ers decided to give him $27.5 million. PFF data suggests that he is earning $5 million more than he should.
  • Andrew Stafford may be the best quarterback to play in a Lions’ uniform, but he is overvalued by at least $4.5 million.
  • Andrew Luck may have thrown 39 touchdowns last year, but the Colts are paying him $3 million more than they should.
  • Derek Carr and Drew Brees are both overpaid by $2.5 million. That money could have been spent to bolster other positions.
  • Khalil Mack and Alex Smith are both earning $23.5 million. Their teams blew an extra $1 million.

Bottom Line

Overall, PFF can restore some balance in the NFL by using AI technology to disrupt player salaries. Based on data-driven analysis, teams can opt to pay according to the actual market value of the players instead of their star power. Sure, some stars may see their salary dwindle, but if they value winning more than earning millions, they’d understand that the money will likely be used to acquire more above-average players in other positions.