Two weeks down. And so much to get to—you all in reality crammed the mailbag up this week.
From Ryan (@malloyrj21): If the season is going unhealthy will Belichick eliminate Mac Jones to save lots of his personal task via blaming Jones for the whole thing?
Ryan, it is a little cynical, even for me. Do I’ve some reservations about Mac Jones? I do suppose he’s, to a point, restricted bodily. However that doesn’t imply I don’t suppose he is usually a in reality excellent participant. And I feel the comp I used to be given earlier than the 2021 draft is an excessively apt one—Jones seems to me, via 20 NFL begins, like Chad Pennington.
Some took that as a shot once I introduced it up within the spring of his draft yr. I promise you, it’s now not. I in reality appreciated Pennington as a participant, and his résumé can lead you the place you wish to have to head with this.
• No. 18 pick out within the 2000 NFL draft.
• MAC MVP and Offensive Participant of the 12 months in 1999.
• Began greater than 10 video games in 4 seasons and made the playoffs all 4 of the ones years.
• Finished 66% of his passes for 17,823 yards, 102 TDs, 64 INTs, 90.1 passer score.
• Completed tied for moment for the 2008 AP NFL MVP in the back of Peyton Manning.
• Used to be a two-time NFL Comeback Participant of the 12 months.
Pennington did all that regardless of a litany of accidents to his throwing shoulder. He used to be launched in 2008 precipitated via the Jets’ pursuit of Brett Favre, and the truth that the trainer (Al Groh) and body of workers exec (Invoice Parcells) who drafted him left the Jets after his rookie yr. He made the playoffs below 3 other coaches (Herm Edwards, Eric Mangini, Tony Sparano).
The issue for Patriots lovers, I perceive, is that you just’re coming off twenty years of Tom Brady, and also you wanna consider that this may also be Brady once more. I don’t see that. However I do suppose the franchise is about up for a good outcome right here—having a Pennington-level quarterback to at once be triumphant a legend, for those who have a look at the historical past of this stuff at that place, would qualify as an enormous win for New England.
And to reply to your query, I feel Invoice is aware of that.
From Cam Nottage (@itsCam_N): Are the Lions authentic?
Cam, I feel they are able to keep in it and compete for a wild-card spot within the NFC all of the technique to the tip, and that’s the reason since you’re beginning to see a group that is enjoying during the traces of scrimmage. The Lions rushed for 181 yards on Philly and 191 yards on Washington, and each the Eagles and Commanders are proficient and deeply invested of their fronts. And at the different aspect, Aidan Hutchinson sacked Carson Wentz thrice Sunday, and a tender D-line tightened up in opposition to the run after a shaky effort in Week 1.
These items are nice indicators, as a result of in most cases groups that play smartly persistently at the traces, spaces Detroit has spent cash and draft capital to inventory, you’re going to be in each and every recreation. In order that’s the place I feel the Lions are—perhaps a few talent guys on offense, and back-seven gamers on protection—from actually contending. However they’re getting nearer and are able to stealing a playoff spot.
After which, there’s the exchange in mentality that, as you must see throughout Exhausting Knocks, that Dan Campbell and his team of workers have labored in reality arduous on. I requested Jared Goff—who used to be a part of the kind of turnaround Detroit’s searching for in Los Angeles—about that Sunday.
“It’s expectancies and ideology,” Goff informed me. “When issues are going unhealthy otherwise you’re dropping, you do not be expecting to win and you do not consider in one thing the trainer is telling you. It’s a 180 this yr. We stroll at the discipline and we do be expecting to win. We think to win via so much, if we will. And moreover, the sport begins slipping away [like it did against Philly], and [we] nonetheless consider in each and every different, consider in O.Okay., all we were given to do is get one play after which we are going to have our counterpunch. Really, that trust and that religion can turn a recreation and nowadays it did.”
So, yeah, the Lions aren’t there but, however they’re on their approach.
From Henry Matthews (@henrymHuss26H): Can the Jaguars if truth be told win the AFC South?
Henry, I had this sense earlier than the yr that the Jags may just get up and scouse borrow the AFC South with 9 or 10 wins, and I simply didn’t have the tummy to select them. I simply suppose they’ve were given extra excellent gamers (and this sounds simplistic) than folks suppose, and I nonetheless consider in what you will have to be getting from Trevor Lawrence, with the precise training, scheme and group round him, in 12 months 2.
Without reference to the way it ended, Doug Pederson were given a ton out of Carson Wentz early in his profession in Philly, then made his offense paintings at the fly for Nick Foles and received a Tremendous Bowl. And for those who have a look at the place Wentz has been since, it’s truthful to mention that Pederson’s nonetheless the trainer that’s gotten essentially the most out of him. The opposite factor is that the components in Philly, which had Pederson hiring quarterback infrastructure (Frank Reich, John DeFilippo, and many others.), exists in Jacksonville now with Press Taylor, Mike McCoy and Jim Bob Cooter at the team of workers.
From there, for that group, I feel it’ll come right down to the improvement of younger gamers similar to Travis Etienne, Luke Fortner, Travon Walker, Devin Lloyd and Andre Cisco. If the ones guys take a collective step ahead, this may increasingly transform a beautiful ambitious group.
From Phil (@SauceCoach): Which 0-2 group must panic and which 0-2 group is OK?
I’ll get started with the group that’s O.Okay.—that is the Bengals. They misplaced their first recreation as a result of their lengthy snapper tore his biceps they usually became the ball over 5 instances. They misplaced their moment recreation as a result of they were given off to a sluggish get started and couldn’t offer protection to Joe Burrow. We’ll have extra on them in slightly, however I feel the ones issues are fixable, and I feel Cincinnati will likely be within the playoffs in January.
As for the place it’s panic time—and it’s too early for somebody to panic—I’m a bit fascinated with the Panthers. I consider the Buccaneers are profitable the NFC South, that means the opposite 3 groups will likely be vying for a wild card. And the following 5 weeks, the Panthers have the Saints, Cardinals, 49ers, Rams and Buccaneers. So even getting to a few–4 is a large ask, and being 2–5 or worse on the finish of October can be difficult to come back again from.
From Corey (@jetsfrek86): What are the possibilities that @ZachWilson performs Week 3 even supposing Flacco performed smartly?
Corey, I feel that’s going to be purely in line with the place he’s bodily. Joe Flacco used to be nice on Sunday in Cleveland, don’t get me improper. And if issues in reality went the improper approach, certain, he’s a pleasing possibility, and surely Wilson’s were given so much to come back again from after a in reality messed-up rookie yr. Nonetheless, I don’t suppose the Jets but know just about sufficient about the second one pick out within the 2021 draft to do one thing rash like that. In order that they want to spend money on studying.
They’ve already carried out a host of items to get there. Flacco’s been useful to Wilson in telling him to forestall being worried about commanding the whole thing the offense and protection are doing in the market, one thing that’s over each and every second-year quarterback’s head, and get started that specialize in his personal task. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur pared the offense down so they might center of attention on what Wilson does smartly. Actually, he lowered the offense to fewer “households” of performs to lend a hand Wilson grasp the ones and transform talented at working the person performs off them.
On account of Wilson’s damage, the Jets nonetheless haven’t observed that but. They want to, identical to Wilson wishes the sport reps to proceed his construction. So the Jets are going to provide him the ones, simply once he’s in a position to take them. Which will have to be quickly, irrespective of how forged Flacco could have seemed Sunday.
From Jon Ball (@jonb2042): How a lot does Cole Beasley have left? Turns out like an excellent are compatible for Brady’s brief passing recreation if he can nonetheless separate.
That is attention-grabbing, Jon, as a result of I in reality didn’t have a super solution for you. The numbers would point out he used to be nonetheless lovely excellent in Buffalo ultimate yr—he had a career-high 82 catches, which matched his general for 2020. His yardage and yards according to catch did fall off to lows in his 3 years in Buffalo, however he used to be nonetheless any person Josh Allen may just rely on (a trait that Beasley’s new quarterback indubitably values).
So why used to be he in the street? A part of it used to be via selection, with the 33-year-old looking ahead to the precise state of affairs to materialize. And simply checking in with folks in Buffalo, they believe there’s nonetheless lots left there (letting him pass used to be as a lot about shifting more youthful guys similar to Gabe Davis and Isaiah McKenzie up as the rest), and that the Buccaneers will have to have the precise function for him working out of a place, the slot, that Tom Brady’s at all times leaned on.
Would I pick out him up in fable? Possibly, perhaps now not. However I do suppose he discovered the precise touchdown spot and can give a contribution.
From Jon Ball (@jonb2042): What’s the problem with the Bengals offense to this point? Is it only a topic of scheme and drive on Burrow?
Jon, I guess I’ll provide you with two questions this week (most commonly as a result of I didn’t realize I selected two of yours when I used to be grabbing them on Tuesday).
And I feel the problem is the most obvious. The offensive line has numerous shifting portions, and it’s going to take a little time for the gang to come back in combination. The Chiefs went via the similar factor ultimate yr in integrating Orlando Brown, Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith, and a gaggle that used to be a legal responsibility from time to time early become a power past due within the yr. I’m now not announcing the Bengals gets to the extent the Chiefs line did, however I feel issues will glance much better as soon as L. a.’El Collins, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras get extra paintings with their new group.
I additionally suppose it’s truthful to invite if dropping the time in camp has had a (brief) impact on Joe Burrow, in having misplaced the time on activity with all the ones new guys? So, yeah, I nonetheless have numerous religion within the Bengals’ talent to come back round.
From Bobby Bacala III (@curtisbaccala55): The Bengals invested $74 million in L. a.’el Collins, Alex Cappa, and Ted Karras this low season. What’s occurring with the offensive line???
Optimistically, I were given you with that ultimate one, Bobby. Give it some extra time.
From Pie (@imjustapie2): Will the Raiders make the playoffs after their sluggish get started?
Pie, I’ll keep on with my weapons in this and say sure. But it surely received’t be simple. Within the subsequent 3 weeks, they get an 0–2 Titans group that’ll have one thing to turn out, the Broncos and the Chiefs. Win two of 3, I feel you’re in nice form. We’ll see if they are able to pull that off.
However most commonly, I feel regardless of ultimate Sunday’s cave in, the Raiders had been in either one of their video games to the very finish and simply couldn’t end. I feel Derek Carr will play higher. I feel the road will support (it very a lot has to). And I feel the gamers and coaches there are too excellent for this group not to be, a minimum of, within the .500 vary on the finish of the yr. Surviving the following couple of weeks is a large key to that.
From Mr. Schwab (@schwab_mr): Do the Colts fireplace Reich or do they industry items away to verify they get a most sensible pick out? Turns out as though they want to rebuild. Ryan is a superb QB, however they want a long-term face of the franchise.
Schwab! No, I don’t suppose they want to fireplace the trainer or rebuild. That’s ridiculous. I feel the basis there stays forged. I’m with them within the trust that Matt Ryan can carry out at a moderately excessive point for them for the following 3 or 4 years. I additionally suppose Frank Reich’s been in reality excellent in getting the Colts via all of the quarterback transition, in having 5 opening-day starters in 5 years on the place.
That mentioned, you’re proper to suppose, and say, that discovering a long-term solution on the place as soon as and for all needs to be on the most sensible of the listing of priorities for the Colts. In order that they should be open to doing it in 2023, as I see it, and getting ready to do it regardless. That implies hoarding draft choices as very best you’ll, to be in a position for the chance to transport up, and it will imply dealing choices from ’23 into ’24 and ’25 to buoy that effort.
And it may be instructive right here, too, to take a look at the place GM Chris Ballard got here from. He were given to Kansas Town as then Chiefs GM John Dorsey’s most sensible lieutenant in 2013. In tandem with Andy Reid, they spent 4 offseasons construction the roster up, and being moderately conservative with draft choices after spending two second-rounders to land their first quarterback, Alex Smith, upon their arrival. They made the playoffs in 3 in their first 4 years however by no means were given previous the divisional spherical, as they waited for the precise younger quarterback to come back alongside.
Then, they discovered their man—a uncooked prospect from Texas Tech that the NFL used to be break up on. As Ballard used to be leaving for Indy, a plan used to be being hatched to head all in on Patrick Mahomes, the participant who’d exchange the franchise’s trajectory, and on draft day they dealt their third-rounder and the following yr’s first to transport up 17 spots and get him. So if Ballard sees that form of younger quarterback in the market, would he get in a similar fashion competitive? I feel he would.
From Zach Fogelman (@FogelmanZach): Will the Rams be energetic within the industry marketplace? May O-line be a space for growth?
Is the Pope Catholic?
Yeah, Zach, I’d say the Rams will flip over each and every rock. And given their state of affairs alongside the offensive line, with beginning middle Brian Allen combating via a knee damage and the lack of guard Tremayne Anchrum stressing intensity, it’s truthful to mention they’ll be turning over rocks at the ones explicit positions. The issue is, given the league’s offensive-line disaster, which we’ve raised the previous few months, I’m now not certain there’ll be a lot below the ones rocks.
Extra sensible may well be the theory of discovering a technique to make up for what the group misplaced when Von Miller bolted within the offseason. Danielle Hunter’s title is one I introduced up as a possible goal, given the connection the group has with Vikings trainer Kevin O’Connell. I simply don’t suppose Minnesota’s essentially going to be a dealer. So right here’s any other—ex-Ram Robert Quinn. GM Les Snead used to be in St. Louis with Quinn, and Quinn now has revel in and has had luck (ultimate yr), enjoying in such a Vic Fangio-centric scheme the group runs.
The Bears, I’m certain, wouldn’t thoughts getting one thing again for a participant who might or won’t even play in 2023, and Quinn most probably can be amenable to chasing a hoop.
From Joel Braunold (@braunold): How continuously do QBs accelerate and get well at pocket consciousness, is it one thing this is grown or simply have it or now not?
Joel, I like the query—that is the place what Jalen Hurts has carried out is so spectacular. He’s stepped forward his pocket presence, in addition to his anticipation and accuracy, and the ones are spaces the place you in most cases don’t see numerous growth. I defined it in my Sept. 5 MMQB, so pass there (you’ll need to scroll down a bit for it) and test it out.
From Chris (@Chris_PR_13): Can Jaren Corridor climb draft forums because the season progresses a lot as Kyler and Baker did in years previous?
Chris, the solution is sure, in fact. And particularly as a result of, outdoor of Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, the opposite presumed front-runners to head within the first spherical subsequent yr at quarterback (Bryce Younger, Tyler Van Dyke, Will Levis, Anthony Richardson, and many others.) haven’t in reality proven any form of giant step ahead but. Even in terms of Stroud, there’s some couching wanted—he appeared like the primary pick out within the draft ultimate weekend, however … it used to be in opposition to Toledo.
I haven’t requested round a lot on Corridor but, however I’m excited to look how he builds on a pleasing three-game get started.
From Tom Marshall (@aredzonauk): Must Lamar Jackson take into accout of the Trey Lance damage?
Tom, sure and no. No, in that Jackson has an uncanny talent to keep away from giant hits that, a minimum of at this early level in his profession, Lance hasn’t proven but. Sure, in that he must proceed to give protection to himself in the market—having misplaced important on-field time ultimate yr because of damage for the primary time in his profession.
These items’s at all times a balancing act. You don’t need a man to lose the magic that makes him what he’s. However for all soccer gamers, in a recreation the place the damage fee is 100%, the long run is rarely promised.
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