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.
Teams are running out of excuses now.
The deeper Luck’s recovery extends into the season, the more the Colts need to consider shutting him down and preserving the franchise’s only irreplaceable player.
The decision won’t be easy for a staff full of people coaching for their jobs in 2017. Yes, Luck’s return late in the season could lead to a better record for the Colts, who were 2-4 entering Week 7 and one game out of the first place in the AFC South. The Jaguars, Texans and Titans were gridlocked at 3-3 atop the division.
But coach Chuck Pagano and his staff also have to consider the nightmare-inducing hypothetical of a premature Luck return leading to more long-term injury. How would that reflect on those in charge?
9. Buffalo Bills cornerback E.J. Gaines (hamstring), guard Richie Incognito (ankle) and safety Jordan Poyer (knee) all missed practice for the second consecutive day.
10. Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby was limited again on Thursday with an ankle injury.
11. New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas does not have a serious knee injury, coach Sean Payton told reporters Thursday. Thomas missed practice Wednesday, but was seen participating on Thursday.
12. Chicago Bears center Hroniss Grasu (hand) was limited for the second straight day. Grasu hasn’t played since Week 3. Guard Kyle Long (ankle) was a full participant after missing practice Wednesday.
We’re going against the Texans (next week), and we’re not looking at the Rams, said defensive end Michael Bennett. The Rams are playing somebody else next week, so we’re just looking forward to playing the Texans.
That’s just the fans. Fans always make different things that they see; that they talk about. Obviously the media makes up stuff so y’all can have something to talk about.
The Rams, with a star running back in Todd Gurley and an up-and-coming quarterback in Jared Goff, present the biggest challenge in the Seahawks’ divisional ecosystem. But this is a script with which the Seahawks are familiar; one they’re not reading into as the NFL calendar rolls into Week 8.
We never concern ourselves with other teams, Sherman said. We concern ourselves with our building and what we do.
Johnson played the first four games last season before his appeal was denied.
Although he served the suspension in full, Johnson wasn’t done trying to clear his name. He filed both a lawsuit and unfair labor practices complaint against the NFL and NFLPA, claiming he was a victim of union negligence and fundamentally unfair appeals process.
The NFLPA has filed a motion to dismiss the case in the U.S. District Court of Southern New York, which is where the lawsuit was transferred per the union’s request from a U.S. District Court in Ohio. Johnson’s attorneys are requesting the chance to deliver oral arguments to the court as well as having the ruling that led to the 10-game suspension overturned. The latter would open the door for Johnson to collect the $422,000 in prorated base salary he lost last season. It also would reinstate financial guarantees in his five-year, $56 million contract that were voided by the suspension.
The Bucs just lost speed-rusher Noah Spence, who suffered another shoulder injury and is now on injured reserve. The team also waived Jacquies Smith after he recovered from a torn ACL. The Bucs (2-4) are last in the league with seven sacks in six games. By comparison, the Jacksonville Jaguars lead the NFL with 33.
Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian tossed six touchdowns over the first two games of the season but has thrown just two since. He has five interceptions in that span and has fumbled four times. The Broncos offensive line hasn’t played well, allowing 22 sacks in six games, including five last week.
Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston has 5 1/2 sacks so far and could be looking at a huge night Monday.
I feel like it’s time for people to start seeing what kind of player I really am and maybe been misunderstood a little bit due to the headlines.
The bad news first arrived in August 2016, when Johnson received word he would be suspended again for an even longer period of time than two years earlier when he received a four-game PED ban. Rather than accept the punishment, Johnson fought it under the pretense that he ingested an NFL Players Association-approved supplement that contained a prohibited substance under the league’s drug-testing policy.
For the teams that are attempting to win without one, it takes mistake-free football grounded by an excellent defense. The Bears and the Jaguars haven’t quite found that balance yet to be consistently successful.
Even the Giants’ defense, which was supposed to be the team’s strength this season, has slipped. They are ranked 27th defensively and have allowed several late leads to slip away.
The general manager says the blame should be in his direction, and he knows where the spotlight shines.
It’s the National Football League. If you can’t take criticism, you should quit, Reese said. If you’re a general manager of a football team, or a player, or a quarterback, or you play any position, if you can’t take criticism, you should quit.
Giants coach Ben McAdoo and Reese have been common targets over the first seven weeks of the season.
The 49ers turned their offense over to rookie C.J. Beathard, who became the 41st different quarterback to start a game this season. Packers quarterback Brett Hundley was starter No. 40, making his first NFL start in place of injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Both first-time starters lost.
Browns tackle Joe Thomas left Sunday’s loss to the Titans in the second half with a triceps injury that ended his streak of playing in 10,363 consecutive snaps.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott played like a man possessed with 147 yards and three total touchdowns against the 49ers. Dallas tight end Jason Witten, who also scored in the game, provided a nice block on Elliott’s second TD run.
Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton after the 27-0 loss to the Jaguars: The O-line’s just got to play better. We’ve got to take some pride up front and block for (Brissett). What if we put them back there to take those hits? You’ve got to start up front.
Alex Collins ran for a career-high 113 yards, and Baltimore (4-4) returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the most lopsided shutout in franchise history.
In the midst of one of his best performances of the season, Flacco was hit high by Alonso while sliding at the end of an impromptu run. Flacco’s helmet flew off his head, and the 10-year quarterback appeared wobbly as he struggled to his feet.
Alonso was flagged for unnecessary roughness, providing Baltimore with a first down that ultimately turned into a touchdown.
Flacco was initially placed in concussion protocol, and by halftime was ruled out.
Joe had a concussion and a cut ear, coach John Harbaugh said. They were stitching it up without any anesthesia, so he’s a tough dude. That’s as much as I know.
The winner will remain within shouting distance of the Eagles, while the loser might need to focus on the wild card.
Rice spent time helping Spence and defensive end Ryan Russell during camp this summer.
He taught me things in five minutes that I’d never even heard of or even thought to put into my game, Spence said. He pointed out things in my game that I’d never even heard of. It was a blessing to have him out here to talk to us.
He had no excuse for the interceptions. Linebacker C.J. Mosley went 63 yards for a score, and Jimmy Smith took his 50 yards to the house.
On the first one, he made a heck of a play. He just jumped up there and caught it, Moore said. On the second one, (Smith) sat back a little bit and waited for me to throw.