Two weeks down. And so much to get to—you all actually crammed the mailbag up this week.
From Ryan (@malloyrj21): If the season is going unhealthy will Belichick get rid of Mac Jones to avoid wasting his own activity by way of blaming Jones for the whole thing?
Ryan, this is a bit of cynical, even for me. Do I’ve some reservations about Mac Jones? I do suppose he’s, to a point, restricted bodily. But that doesn’t imply I don’t suppose he could be a actually just right participant. And I believe the comp I used to be given sooner than the 2021 draft is an excessively apt one—Jones seems to be to me, via 20 NFL begins, like Chad Pennington.
Some took that as a shot once I introduced it up in the spring of his draft yr. I promise you, it’s no longer. I actually favored Pennington as a participant, and his résumé can lead you the place you wish to have to head with this.
• No. 18 pick out in the 2000 NFL draft.
• MAC MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 1999.
• Started greater than 10 video games in 4 seasons and made the playoffs all 4 of the ones years.
• Completed 66% of his passes for 17,823 yards, 102 TDs, 64 INTs, 90.1 passer score.
• Finished tied for moment for the 2008 AP NFL MVP in the back of Peyton Manning.
• Was a two-time NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
Pennington did all that regardless of a litany of accidents to his throwing shoulder. He used to be launched in 2008 triggered by way of the Jets’ pursuit of Brett Favre, and the undeniable fact that the trainer (Al Groh) and team of workers exec (Bill Parcells) who drafted him left the Jets after his rookie yr. He made the playoffs beneath 3 other coaches (Herm Edwards, Eric Mangini, Tony Sparano).
The drawback for Patriots lovers, I perceive, is that you just’re coming off two decades of Tom Brady, and also you wanna imagine that this can also be Brady once more. I don’t see that. But I do suppose the franchise is arrange for a good outcome right here—having a Pennington-level quarterback to at once prevail a legend, should you have a look at the historical past of these items at that place, would qualify as an enormous win for New England.
And to reply to your query, I believe Bill is aware of that.
From Cam Nottage (@itsCam_N): Are the Lions professional?
Cam, I believe they are able to keep in it and compete for a wild-card spot in the NFC all the strategy to the finish, and that is the reason since you’re beginning to see a staff that is taking part in via the traces of scrimmage. The Lions rushed for 181 yards on Philly and 191 yards on Washington, and each the Eagles and Commanders are gifted and deeply invested of their fronts. And on the different facet, Aidan Hutchinson sacked Carson Wentz thrice Sunday, and a tender D-line tightened up towards the run after a shaky effort in Week 1.
These issues are nice indicators, as a result of typically groups that play neatly persistently on the traces, spaces Detroit has spent cash and draft capital to inventory, you’re going to be in each and every recreation. So that’s the place I believe the Lions are—perhaps a pair of talent guys on offense, and back-seven gamers on protection—from in reality contending. But they’re getting nearer and are succesful of stealing a playoff spot.
And then, there’s the trade in mentality that, as you need to see all over Hard Knocks, that Dan Campbell and his body of workers have labored actually laborious on. I requested Jared Goff—who used to be section of the kind of turnaround Detroit’s in quest of in Los Angeles—about that Sunday.
“It’s expectations and beliefs,” Goff advised me. “When things are going bad or you’re losing, you don’t expect to win and you don’t believe in something the coach is telling you. It’s a 180 this year. We walk on the field and we do expect to win. We expect to win by a lot, if we can. And furthermore, the game starts slipping away [like it did against Philly], and [we] still believe in each other, believe in O.K., all we got to do is get one play and then we’re going to have our counterpunch. Truly, that belief and that faith can flip a game and today it did.”
So, yeah, the Lions aren’t there but, however they’re on their approach.
From Henry Matthews (@henrymHuss26H): Can the Jaguars in fact win the AFC South?
Henry, I had this sense sooner than the yr that the Jags may stand up and thieve the AFC South with 9 or 10 wins, and I simply didn’t have the abdomen to pick out them. I simply suppose they’ve were given extra just right gamers (and this sounds simplistic) than other folks suppose, and I nonetheless imagine in what you must be getting from Trevor Lawrence, with the proper training, scheme and staff round him, in Year 2.
Regardless of 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 on the fly for Nick Foles and gained a Super Bowl. And should you have a look at the place Wentz has been since, it’s truthful to mention that Pederson’s nonetheless the trainer that’s gotten the maximum out of him. The more thing is that the formulation in Philly, which had Pederson hiring quarterback infrastructure (Frank Reich, John DeFilippo, and so on.), exists in Jacksonville now with Press Taylor, Mike McCoy and Jim Bob Cooter on the body of workers.
From there, for that staff, I believe it’ll come all the way down to the construction of younger gamers corresponding to Travis Etienne, Luke Fortner, Travon Walker, Devin Lloyd and Andre Cisco. If the ones guys take a collective step ahead, this may develop into a horny bold staff.
From Phil (@SauceCoach): Which 0-2 staff must panic and which 0-2 staff is OK?
I’ll get started with the staff that’s O.Ok.—that is the Bengals. They misplaced their first recreation as a result of their lengthy snapper tore his biceps they usually grew to become the ball over 5 occasions. They misplaced their moment recreation as a result of they were given off to a gradual get started and couldn’t give protection to Joe Burrow. We’ll have extra on them in a little bit, however I believe the ones issues are fixable, and I believe Cincinnati will probably be in the playoffs in January.
As for the place it’s panic time—and it’s too early for someone to panic—I’m a bit of taken with the Panthers. I imagine the Buccaneers are profitable the NFC South, which means the different 3 groups will probably be vying for a wild card. And the subsequent 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 at the finish of October could be tricky to come back again from.
From Corey (@jetsfrek86): What are the probabilities that @ZachWilson performs Week 3 even if Flacco performed neatly?
Corey, I believe that’s going to be purely in keeping with the place he is bodily. Joe Flacco used to be nice on Sunday in Cleveland, don’t get me mistaken. And if issues actually went the mistaken approach, positive, he’s a pleasant choice, and definitely Wilson’s were given so much to come back again from after a actually messed-up rookie yr. Still, I don’t suppose the Jets but know just about sufficient about the moment pick out in the 2021 draft to do one thing rash like that. So they wish to put money into learning.
They’ve already performed a host of issues 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 specializing in his own activity. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur pared the offense down so they might center of attention on what Wilson does neatly. In truth, he lowered the offense to fewer “families” of performs to assist Wilson grasp the ones and develop into gifted at operating the particular person performs off them.
Because of Wilson’s damage, the Jets nonetheless haven’t noticed that but. They wish to, identical to Wilson wishes the recreation 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 must be quickly, regardless of how cast Flacco can have appeared Sunday.
From Jon Ball (@jonb2042): How a lot does Cole Beasley have left? Seems like a super are compatible for Brady’s quick passing recreation if he can nonetheless separate.
This is fascinating, Jon, as a result of I actually didn’t have a perfect resolution for you. The numbers would point out he used to be nonetheless lovely just right in Buffalo final yr—he had a career-high 82 catches, which matched his general for 2020. His yardage and yards in line with catch did fall off to lows in his 3 years in Buffalo, however he used to be nonetheless any individual Josh Allen may depend on (a trait that Beasley’s new quarterback undoubtedly values).
So why used to be he on the boulevard? Part of it used to be by way of selection, with the 33-year-old looking ahead to the proper state of affairs to materialize. And simply checking in with other folks in Buffalo, they suspect there’s nonetheless masses left there (letting him pass used to be as a lot about transferring more youthful guys corresponding to Gabe Davis and Isaiah McKenzie up as the rest), and that the Buccaneers must have the proper position for him running out of a place, the slot, that Tom Brady’s all the time leaned on.
Would I pick out him up in delusion? Maybe, perhaps no longer. But I do suppose he discovered the proper touchdown spot and can give a contribution.
From Jon Ball (@jonb2042): What’s the factor with the Bengals offense to this point? Is it only a subject of scheme and force on Burrow?
Jon, I assume I’ll come up 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 believe the factor is the glaring. The offensive line has so much of transferring portions, and it’s going to take a while for the workforce to come back in combination. The Chiefs went via the identical factor final yr in integrating Orlando Brown, Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith, and a bunch that used to be a legal responsibility from time to time early changed into a energy overdue in the yr. I’m no longer pronouncing the Bengals gets to the point the Chiefs line did, however I believe issues will glance significantly better as soon as La’El Collins, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras get extra paintings with their new staff.
I additionally suppose it’s truthful to invite if shedding the time in camp has had a (transient) impact on Joe Burrow, in having misplaced the time on job with all the ones new guys? So, yeah, I nonetheless have so much of religion in the Bengals’ talent to come back round.
From Bobby Bacala III (@curtisbaccala55): The Bengals invested $74 million in La’el Collins, Alex Cappa, and Ted Karras this low season. What’s occurring with the offensive line???
Hopefully, I were given you with that final one, Bobby. Give it some extra time.
From Pie (@imjustapie2): Will the Raiders make the playoffs after their gradual get started?
Pie, I’ll keep on with my weapons in this and say sure. But it gained’t be simple. In the subsequent 3 weeks, they get an 0–2 Titans staff that’ll have one thing to end up, the Broncos and the Chiefs. Win two of 3, I believe you’re in nice form. We’ll see if they are able to pull that off.
But most commonly, I believe regardless of final Sunday’s cave in, the Raiders have been in each of their video games to the very finish and simply couldn’t end. I believe Derek Carr will play higher. I believe the line will fortify (it very a lot has to). And I believe the gamers and coaches there are too just right for this staff not to be, a minimum of, in the .500 vary at 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 business items away to make sure they get a most sensible pick out? Seems as though they wish to rebuild. Ryan is a just right QB, however they want a long-term face of the franchise.
Schwab! No, I don’t suppose they wish to fireplace the trainer or rebuild. That’s ridiculous. I believe the basis there stays cast. I’m with them in the trust that Matt Ryan can carry out at a quite excessive point for them for the subsequent 3 or 4 years. I additionally suppose Frank Reich’s been actually just right in getting the Colts via all the quarterback transition, in having 5 opening-day starters in 5 years at the place.
That stated, you’re proper to suppose, and say, that discovering a long-term resolution at the place as soon as and for all needs to be at the most sensible of the listing of priorities for the Colts. So they need to be open to doing it in 2023, as I see it, and making ready to do it regardless. That approach hoarding draft choices as absolute best you’ll be able to, to be in a position for the alternative to transport up, and it might 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 City 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 quite 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 of their first 4 years however by no means were given previous the divisional spherical, as they waited for the proper younger quarterback to come back alongside.
Then, they discovered their man—a uncooked prospect from Texas Tech that the NFL used to be cut 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 trade the franchise’s trajectory, and on draft day they dealt their third-rounder and the subsequent yr’s first to transport up 17 spots and get him. So if Ballard sees that kind of younger quarterback in the market, would he get in a similar way competitive? I believe he would.
From Zach Fogelman (@FogelmanZach): Will the Rams be lively in the business marketplace? Could 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 struggling with via a knee damage and the loss of guard Tremayne Anchrum stressing intensity, it’s truthful to mention they’ll be turning over rocks at the ones explicit positions. The drawback is, given the league’s offensive-line disaster, which we’ve raised the previous few months, I’m no longer positive there’ll be a lot beneath the ones rocks.
More real looking could be the concept of discovering a strategy to make up for what the staff misplaced when Von Miller bolted in the offseason. Danielle Hunter’s title is one I introduced up as a possible goal, given the dating the staff has with Vikings trainer Kevin O’Connell. I simply don’t suppose Minnesota’s essentially going to be a vendor. 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 good fortune (final yr), taking part in in the kind of Vic Fangio-centric scheme the staff runs.
The Bears, I’m positive, wouldn’t thoughts getting one thing again for a participant who would possibly or won’t even play in 2023, and Quinn almost certainly could be amenable to chasing a hoop.
From Joel Braunold (@braunold): How ceaselessly do QBs accelerate and get well at pocket consciousness, is it one thing that is grown or simply have it or no longer?
Joel, I really like the query—this is the place what Jalen Hurts has performed is so spectacular. He’s progressed his pocket presence, in addition to his anticipation and accuracy, and the ones are spaces the place you typically don’t see so much of growth. I defined it in my Sept. 5 MMQB, so pass there (you’ll need to scroll down a bit of for it) and test it out.
From Chris (@Chris_PR_13): Can Jaren Hall climb draft forums as the season progresses a lot as Kyler and Baker did in years previous?
Chris, the resolution is sure, of path. And particularly as a result of, out of doors of Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, the different presumed front-runners to head in the first spherical subsequent yr at quarterback (Bryce Young, Tyler Van Dyke, Will Levis, Anthony Richardson, and so on.) haven’t actually proven any kind of large step ahead but. Even in the case of Stroud, there’s some couching wanted—he appeared like the first pick out in the draft final weekend, however … it used to be towards Toledo.
I haven’t requested round a lot on Hall but, however I’m excited to peer how he builds on a pleasant three-game get started.
From Tom Marshall (@aredzonauk): Should Lamar Jackson consider of the Trey Lance damage?
Tom, sure and no. No, in that Jackson has an uncanny talent to steer clear of large hits that, a minimum of at this early level in his profession, Lance hasn’t proven but. Yes, in that he must proceed to offer protection to himself in the market—having misplaced vital on-field time final yr because of damage for the first time in his profession.
This stuff’s all the time a balancing act. You don’t desire a man to lose the magic that makes him what he is. But for all soccer gamers, in a recreation the place the damage charge is 100%, the longer term is by no means promised.
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