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Heel Tough Blog: 2018-19 NFL Heels Recap

Run Gio

Giovani Bernard RB/Cincinnati Bengals

2018-19 Stats: 12 GP, 4 GS, 56 rush, 211 yds, 3 TD, 48 tar, 35 rec, 218 yds

Bernard had to work through an injury for a portion of the season, but the emergence of Joe Mixon was the biggest factor in Bernard’s step back. 2018-19 was the worst season statistically of his career, but the good news is that Bernard is still listed as the No. 2 running back on the depth chart. If Cincinnati was to draft a mid-round running back, that’s when Bernard may have to become concerned.

Duncan Williams- CSM

Russell Bodine C/Buffalo Bills

2018-19 Stats: 10 GP, 10 GS

Bodine started the first ten games in his first season in Buffalo before suffering a broken fibula that cost him the final six games of the season. Bodine is expected to be fully recovered in time for the start of the 2019-20 season, and should re-assume the starting role in the final year of his two-year deal with the Bills.

Arizona Cardinals

Tre Boston S/Arizona Cardinals

2018-19 Stats: 14 GP, 13 GS, 79 ttkl, 1.0 TFL, 3 INT, 9 PD

Boston was signed just prior to the preseason and continued his steady production as a key starter in the secondary. Boston started 13 of the 14 games he was active for this season and once again forced turnovers from his free safety. Expect Boston to start once again wherever he is at next season and continue his steady career trajectory.

Steve Dykes- Getty Images

Zach Brown OLB/Washington Redskins

2018-19 Stats: 16 GP, 12 GS, 96 ttkl, 10.0 TFL, 1.0 scks, 2 FF, PD

Brown took a step back following back-to-back flawless seasons and was even phased out of the starting lineup a few times throughout the season. Still, he finished with nearly 100 tackles for the third straight season and should be a starter once again as he enters the final year of his three-year deal with the Redskins.

Icon Sportswire- Getty Images

Bruce Carter OLB/Atlanta Falcons

2018-19 Stats: 11 GP, 0 GS, 21 ttkl

Carter played a reserve role this past season with Atlanta this past season and performed well enough to receive a contract extension with the team just a few days ago. Carter should hold down a similar role this upcoming season with the Falcons for the 2019-20 season.

@Caysooo- Twitter

Cayson Collins OLB/Oakland Raiders

2018-19 Stats: DNP (Practice Squad Member Only)

Collins was apart of the Dolphins practice squad in the preseason, but was cut, narrowly missing out on the 53-man roster in Miami. The Raiders placed him on the practice squad mid-season and he did enough to earn a futures contract with the team, meaning he will be apart of the team in the preseason.

Pro Football Rumors

Jonathan Cooper OG/Washington Redskins

2018-19 Stats: 4 GP, 4 GS, 3 penalties

Cooper’s career has been dominated by injury issues and those injuries reared their ugly heads once again in 2018-19. Cooper was off to a solid start in Washington before being placed on the IR back in early December. Cooper will be a free agent this offseason and with the issues he’s had staying on the field, it seems highly unlikely that he will receive anything more than a one-year prove it deal.

USA Today Sports

Eric Ebron TE/Indianapolis Colts

2018-19 Stats: 18 GP, 9 GS, 125 tar, 74 rec, 827 yds, 14 TD

Ebron was at a crucial point of his career following his release from Detriot. He responded by heading to Indianapolis and reigniting his career behind a Pro Bowl season. Ebron was one of the key receiving targets for Andrew Luck and helped return the Colts to the playoffs for the first time in four years. Expect Ebron to continue to be a big part of the Colts passing game going forward and build off of this strong season.

Bill Streicher-USA Today Sports

Mack Hollins WR/Philadelphia Eagles

2018-19 Stats: DNP (Injury)

Hollins was expected to be an important part of the Eagles 2018-19 wide receiving corps, especially with the injury to Alshon Jeffery. However, Hollins’ season would end before it could even start, though, as he suffered a groin injury in the first preseason game and was placed on IR. Hollins should have no issues re-assuming his role as a rotational outside receiver for the 2019-20 season.

Mike McCarn- AP Photo

Elijah Hood RB/Carolina Panthers

2018-19 Stats: DNP (Injury)

Hood was on track to potential make the Panthers 53-man roster heading into the final game of the preseason, but suffered a knee injury on the opening kick return of that final game. The Panthers did place him on the IR, though, so he will be a restricted free agent this offseason. Hood will once again have to battle to make a roster this upcoming season.

Patrick Smith- Getty Images

James Hurst OT/Baltimore Ravens

2018-19 Stats: 10 GP, 10 GS, 2 penalties

Hurst missed six games with an undisclosed injury, but was once again a key starter on the offensive line for Baltimore. He did start all ten games that he played in, but may have to work to reassume a starting position in 2019-20. The battle between him and Alex Lewis at left guard will likely determine that.

Mark Hoffman- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Naz Jones DT/Seattle Seahawks

2018-19 Stats: 10 GP, 0 GS, 7 ttkl, 1.0 TFL

Injuries prevented Jones from taking that next step in 2018-19, but don’t be shocked if that next step is taken in 2019-20. With starting defensive tackle Shamar Stephen being a free agent, there may be a battle for the starting defensive tackle position opposite of Jarran Reed. Jones and Poona Ford would likely be the favorite, so there is a chance that he could be locked in a battle to start in the preseason.

Shane Roper- Cal Sport Media

T.J. Logan RB/Arizona Cardinals

2018-19 Stats: 10 GP, 0 GS, 2 rush, 2 yds, 7 tar, 7 rec, 37 yds, 12 KR, 24.7 avg

Logan is stuck at the No. 3 running back position on the depth chart, but has carved himself a productive role as the Cardinals kick returner. After missing all of his rookie season with injury, Logan became on of the most consistent kick retuners in the league this past season and he should take over the role full time next season.

Icon Sportswire- Getty Images

Kareem Martin DE/New York Giants

2018-19 Stats: 16 GP, 7 GS, 48 ttkl, 5.0 TFL, 1.5 scks, 2 PD

Martin had a career year with the Giants after following defensive coordinator James Bettcher to New York from Arizona. With the Giants expected to make some moves in the offseason on the defensive line, Martin may be counted on to have an even larger impact for a pass rush that mmust improve in 2019-20.


Robert Quinn DE/Miami Dolphins

2018-19 Stats: 16 GP, 16 GS, 38 ttkl, 9.0 TFL, 6.5 scks, 2 FF

Quinn had another solid season in his first season in Miami after being traded by the Los Angeles Rams in the offseason. Quinn lead the Dolphins in both tackles for loss and sacks and should remain a key member of this defense for Miami for the next few seasons.

Sports Illustrated

Julius Peppers DE/Carolina Panthers

2018-19 Stats: 16 GP, 8 GS, 22 ttkl, 6.0 TFL, 5.0 scks, 2 FF, FR, 6 PD

Peppers closed his 17-year NFL career out with just the second season of his career with 5.0 or less sacks. Even with that, he started half of the Panthers regular season games and finished second on the team in sacks at age 38. Peppers announced his retirement the day before Super Sunday and will almost certainly be a first ballot hall-of-famer.

Jason Pohuski- CSM

R.J. Prince OG/Pittsburgh Steelers

2018-19 Stats: DNP (Practice Squad Member Only)

Prince was brought in as a camp body and was expected to be cut by many following the preseason. While Prince was cut, he was resigned to the practice squad after making a strong impression on the Steelers staff and he will be back with the team in preseason after signing a future/reserve contract with the team earlier this offseason.

David Crane- Los Angeles Daily News

Austin Proehl WR/Los Angeles Rams

2018-19 Stats: DNP (Practice Squad Member Only)

Proehl was not active for a single game this season, but had the Rams won Super Bowl LIII, he would have received a ring for being a part the team that his dad won his Super Bowl ring with back in Super Bowl XXXIV. Proehl was signed to a future/reserve contract following the season, though, and the Rams are expecting him to compete for a depth role with the team for next season.


Da’Norris Searcy S/Carolina Panthers

2018-19 Stats: 2 GP, 2 GS, 5 ttkl

Searcy was expected to be a key member of the Panthers secondary and started the first two games of the season, before getting shelved with a concussion that would cost him the remainder of the season. While Searcy will is expected to be back with the Panthers next season, if he doesn’t get cut, he will likely be a depth safety, fighting for reps behind Eric Reid and Collin Jones.

The Riot Report

Andre Smith OLB/Carolina Panthers

2018-19 Stats: 3 GP, 0 GS, 3 ttkl

Smith was only active for three games this season, but seems to be apart of the Panthers future plans at linebacker. With veteran Thomas Davis already departing and other changes expected, there is a chance that Smith could have a chance to battle for a rotational spot come August.

Icon Sportswire- Getty Images

M.J. Stewart CB/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2018-19 Stats: 11 GP, 5 GS, 33 ttkl, 3 PD

Stewart had an injury early in the season that cost him five games of his rookie season, but showed a ton of upside that should make him a key part of the Buccaneer secondary for the next few seasons. Stewart is expected to start as the slot corner for the Buccaneers, but if needed, he can kick outside to help if Brent Grimes isn’t resigned.

Jeffrey Becker- USA Today Sports

Ryan Switzer WR/Pittsburgh Steelers

2018-19 Stats: 16 GP, 1 GS, 44 tar, 36 rec, 253 yds, TD, 6 rush, 21 yds. 30 KR, 20.2 avg, 30 PR, 8.4 avg

Switzer made a nice impression in his first season in Pittsburgh after being traded in the preseason from Oakland. Switzer had another strong season, as he handled both return roles as he did in 2017-18 with Dallas, but also found a role as a rotational receiver and even took some snaps at running back. One would expect Pittsburgh to use him in an expanded role next season with Antonio Brown likely to be traded this offseason.

Quinn Harris- USA Today Sports

Mitch Trubisky QB/Chicago Bears

2018-19 Stats: 15 GP, 15 GS, 315-477, 3526 yds, 25 TD, 12 INT, 71 rush, 430 yds, 3 TD

Trubisky took a major step forward in his first full season as a starter in 2018-19. He responded well to new offensive minded head coach Matt Nagy and helped put a Bears team well ahead of schedule by leading the team to eleven wins and a division title. Trubisky was rewarded with a Pro Bowl appearance for his effort and with some stability with the coaching stafff in the offseason and another offseason for him to improve and the weapons around him to do the same, this could be the start of something special in Chicago for Trubisky.

Icon Sportswire- Getty Images

Landon Turner OG/Carolina Panthers

2018-19 Stats: DNP (Practice Squad Member Only)

Turner was cut by the Saints just prior to the season, allowing the Panthers to add Turner to the practice squad midseason when the injury bug bit the team hard, especially on the offensive line. The Panthers did sign Turner to a future/reserve contract, so he will be fighting for a roster spot with the Panthers in August.

USA Today Sports

Sylvester Williams DT/Detroit Lions & Miami Dolphins

2018-19 Stats: 14 GP, 4 GS, 14 ttkl

Williams started the season with the Lions before being cut and signed by the Dolphins. Williams started four games with Detroit, but became a backup before assuming that same role with Miami. He will enter next year off of the worst statistical season of his career, so 2019-20 will be a “prove it” year for Williams.

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