Here is the first big test for Deshaun Watson: Franchise Quarterback. A deadly road matchup against a forever great defense that chews up and spits out young quarterbacks in their building. If Watson shreds the Legion Of Boom, you can begin engraving his name on that Rookie of the Year trophy.
Watson will be a fascinating quarterback to watch in the back half of his rookie season. Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus wrote a compelling piece this week that posited that traditional statistics don’t capture some of the shortcomings in Watson’s game this season. Per Palazzolo, Watson has missed too many open receivers, has been able to dodge the fallout of turnover-worthy plays, and has been aided by the lowest drop rate in the league by his receivers. In a nutshell: Watson has been special in flashes, but he’s also been lucky.
While the Titans and Cowboys have their offensive issues, the odds are still against San Francisco and Cleveland this week.
At 5 a.m. he rose, put on a brown custom suit and headed to 30th Street Station to meet up with teammates Chris Long and Torrey Smith and to catch a train to Harrisburg. Two hours later, they arrived at the Pennsylvania Capitol for a full day of meetings with legislators to champion for various bills related to criminal justice reform.
This is what an off day can look like for NFL players around the league who have dedicated themselves to social activism.
On Oct. 17, Jenkins and Long were among those who traveled to New York to meet with NFL owners about ways they can work together on causes about which the players have been demonstrating during the pregame national anthem. This time, the meeting was with lawmakers. The players were joined by Omar Khan, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ vice president of football and business administration.
With no rule in place to force players to stand, there will be no official league punishment for players that protest. However, many teams may have their own guidelines in place to discourage protests.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters that he would make sure players who disrespect the flag won’t play. But other owners, like Jed York of the 49ers, has supported the activist efforts of players on his team.
Some players, including Michael Bennett and Eric Reid, said they will continue to protest. We’ll keep you updated about demonstrations around the NFL with details as they come along.
Buffalo also won last week on the strength of its offense, a departure from its early identity of relying on tough defense. In the Bills’ 30-27 squeaker over Tampa Bay, quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for 268 yards and ran for 53, while running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 91 yards and his first two touchdowns of the year.
Whatever that means.
Bowles, as he usual does, put things more succinctly. When asked what the Jets have to do this week, he said: Just finish and play mistake-free football.
Asked if that was easier said than done, he responded: Always.
Only once before in his career had Taylor thrown for 250 yards or more in a game his team won. He spiced it up by finding former Virginia Tech teammate Logan Thomas, who came into the NFL as a quarterback and has switched to tight end, for a 22-yard touchdown pass.
If you’re a football fan who’s never really bought into the Joe Flacco thing, the last couple of years have been satisfying. Flacco has been a mess this season for the worst offense in football. Meanwhile, the Ravens have surged into first place in the Worst Teams To Re-Watch On Game Pass power rankings. Congrats, guys.
Here’s something we touched on during Tuesday’s edition of the Around The NFL Podcast: How bad would it have to get for the Ravens to a) select a quarterback high in the 2018 draft or b) move on from their Super Bowl hero entirely?
Edward Lewis: Watkins hasn’t been bad for the Rams this season, but he certainly hasn’t been worth the second-rounder they gave up for the soon-to-be free agent. He has just 264 yards and two touchdowns thus far, so the Rams wouldn’t miss his production. And with a name brand that would command more than he’s probably worth at the moment, the Rams could possibly get back a starter somewhere else, or at least future draft compensation.
Marc Sessler: Every team comes packed with strengths and weaknesses. The Vikings, though, are leaning on a formula that feels destined to take them deep into the NFC playoffs: They have a Super Bowl-worthy defense and just enough from an offense missing rookie running back Dalvin Cook. It makes no sense to jettison one of the quarterbacks — not this year, and not considering the durability questions — and Minnesota has gotten by in the backfield with Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon. In this exercise, this is one team that should sit tight and not fiddle with the roster’s chemistry.