Concluding another weird weekend in the NFL …
• There is no better example of Trevor Lawrence’s looming presence at the bottom of the NFL rankings than in ESPN’s Sunday morning news this weekend measuring Jets QB Sam Darnold’s commercial value. And I hope I’ve been as clear as possible about this with people in the past couple of months. There is very little chance that anyone with the first pick will trade it, regardless of who else is on the roster. The team that takes him will have to be the worst team in the league, because that’s the kind of prospect Lawrence is. It was like this in 2012 for Andrew Luck (and I imagine 1
And to continue the exercise, I reached out to some people to assess what the price would be to pay for Darnold and how much they would be willing to pay. An NFC executive said: “A little more than the [Josh] Rosen trade, so maybe a second and a quarter. “An AFC scouting director was willing to go a little further, saying,” If I had a 1 in the 1920s like, say, a Pittsburgh, I would. The guy has a talent to die for and is under brutal [situation]. “A second NFC executive said he would consider” a 1 year delay for him, maybe two 2s “and added,” He’s still an asset. This is not Hackenberg. “
This makes a lot of sense to me. And if I were the Steelers, I would see a lot of the value of the remediation project there. The Niners took such a picture in the 1980s, and they did it despite Joe Montana being on the roster, and I don’t think they regret it.
• While on the Jets, continued acrimony between Le’Veon Bell and the team could lead to GM Joe Douglas’s phone ringing in the next two weeks to check the availability of his running back. And one thing that could help is the structure of his contract. The Jets have already paid out a $ 4.5 million roster bonus and its $ 8.5 million base drops by half a million every week – the prorated amount left is $ 6 million right now.
If I were Douglas, I’d move him. That the bickering between Bell and coach Adam Gase has gotten to the point where the 28-year-old goes back to passively-aggressively shooting on social media, and Gase is responding by telling reporters, “I hate that this is the way we go. “It suggests that genius might get out of the bottle on this one anyway. And it’s not like they rely on Bell as he is: he has 22 touches and three games lost in five weeks.
As things stand, the next two drafts are shaping up to be huge for Douglas. We might as well get as much capital as possible.
• Given everything that has happened over the past week, I thought it was a good time to bring in a real doctor to evaluate what changes can be made on the fly to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols to help the league keep the train on track ( and has been shaky recently) for the next three months. So I reached out to my friend Jess Flynn, who is a sports medicine doctor at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center here in Massachusetts for answers.
Here are five ideas he passed on …
Respect the incubation period. The incubation period for the virus that causes COVID is two to 14 days, with a median of four to six days. Stephon Gilmore tested positive four days after his last contact with Cam Newton. Outside the NFL, close contacts quarantined for 14 days. The NFL and its players have accepted the risk associated with not being able to quarantine 14 full days and continue playing a season. That said, no player thought they could be forced to board a plane only 48 hours after the starting quarterback tested positive. Each case is different, but when contact tracing reveals close enough contacts to fill a plan, it must be taken seriously. The show cannot continue. Depending on the situation, consider keeping close contacts outside the facility or closing it entirely for at least 4-7 days. 48 hours is not enough.
Try on match day. The NFL sends gold standard RT-qPCR tests every day except match day. It is true that the results are not available until the next morning, so they do not help in deciding whether the game can be played or not. The timing of the Titan outbreak illustrates why match day tests are so important. After an OLB manager tested positive on a Saturday morning, the team spent nearly three full days (Saturday morning through Tuesday morning) before discovering that nine other players and staff had also contracted the infection. If a qPCR test had been performed on Sunday morning, the team would likely have known there were more positive results on Monday morning. The downside to match day tests is that you may find that you unknowingly have an infected player or manager on the pitch. But the bright side is clear. If they received a positive result on Monday morning (from Sunday), the Titans facility may never have opened and this could have changed the course of the team’s initial outbreak.
Listen. The NFL and NFLPA have announced that they will monitor all teams for compliance with mitigation strategies such as masking and physical distance. This shouldn’t be just remote surveillance. When things go wrong, ask why and learn from it. Understanding the barriers usually leads to protocol improvements. The league, its players and their union all share a common interest in playing an entire season in the safest way possible. Players have responsibilities to each other and to the league, but pointing the finger is not productive.
Help visiting teams with factors beyond their control. If a team asks for help with mitigation strategies while on the road, make every reasonable effort to make it happen. Using the Patriots as an example, if a visiting team with a very recent positive asks for additional locker room space to separate close contacts from non-tight ones, you exhaust every option to make it happen.
Create more flexibility in planning. You will need it. As the weather gets colder, people spend more time indoors and cases in the general population increase, expect to see more cases in the NFL locker room. A successful player is not necessarily a sign of reckless behavior. While it’s not time to hit the red season button yet, a recalibration is needed.
• For most of us, Eagles WR sudden stardom Travis Fulgham came out of nowhere: the former sixth round pick’s name wasn’t exactly circulating long before the 2019 draft, he played his college ball at the Old Dominion and lived the life of an NFL worker for the past 14 months. But how all of this happened is far more interesting than that, and a good example of how the NFL scouting departments work.
Philly Northeast area scout Jim Ward loved Fulgham leading in the ’19 draft and, as a result, the Eagles had excellent marks on him. The problem was they only had three picks from day three, they ended up mistaking one for DT Hassan Ridgeway, and they had already got a receiver, J.J. by Stanford. Arcega-Whiteside, in the second round.
The Lions ended up drafting Fulgham in the sixth round, but the Eagles continued to follow him. Fulgham moved from the Detroit active roster to his training team in September, only to return to the active roster in December. Detroit then gave it up in August and the Packers claimed it, then gave it up 10 days later. And by then, with training camp shifts expanded, the Eagles finally had a place for him. So they filed the complaint, he spent a few weeks on the training team in September, and then he was called nine days ago.
At the time, he didn’t have an NFL catch. Two days later, he scored the 42-yard fourth-quarter touchdown that propelled Philly forward forever in his first win of the season, over San Francisco. And on Sunday, he went for 152 yards and one more score on 10 catches. Now, if the Eagles knew he was capable of it that? They wouldn’t have waited that long to get it. But they felt like something had always been there, so this is a testament, in my mind, to not giving up an evaluation, and in this case not giving up on Fulgham has definitely paid off.
• The Ravens’ defense isn’t getting enough attention – and maybe that’s because Baltimore was set on fire a few weeks ago by the bosses – but there was a fact circulating around Monday that just jumped off the page. Baltimore started five defensive backs on Sunday. And all five (Corners Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith, and Marcus Peters, and Securities DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark) have been fired, which is a good sign of how much the Ravens are still (and always have been) defending.
How creative and aggressive? Pro Football Reference went back and looked and I found that this was the first time in recorded history five DBs from the same team have logged sacks in a single game (the 2004 Packers had the previous record, with four in the division round that year).
Here are two great examples I found of what DC Wink Martindale came up with.
The first came on a second and 4 of the Bengals 26, with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter. It was a normal four-man run on a pass of game action with the D line, and then Peters and Anthony Averett cornered with a blitz from the opposite side. The confusion left tight end Drew Sample to break away and block Peters on the other side, Sample missed and Peters held out after the QB, eventually firing and stripping Joe Burrow.
The second was a little more exotic. In the second play of the fourth, second and 17th quarter, Martindale crowded the line with eight defenders. A tick before the snap, Clark fell. Then, at the snap, Matthew Judon and Tyus Bowser fell, leaving five boys in a rush. By then, however, they had dampened Cincinnati’s protection to the point that, even with six guys to block, Humphrey came out free from Burrow’s blind side to bury the rookie.
I’ve heard some defensive coaches say they want to call matches as offensive coaches – and dictate terms to the other side – and it seems like that’s exactly what Martindale is doing.
• Some interesting things came from a media phone call with Falcons owner Arthur Blank and President Rich McKay on Monday afternoon, after the team fired Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn …
The team will consider hiring a research company. Blank and McKay didn’t commit, but said they plan to speak with the companies to see if there’s an adaptation out there. McKay made it seem like he wanted one to streamline the process and help with things like background checks and communicating with agents. So stay tuned to this one.
McKay will oversee football operations. While the team chairman said there is room for maneuver in how coaching and scouting are structured relative to one another, the plan is for the GM to report to McKay and for the GM to have the final say on the roster. (Until recently, GM Thomas Dimitroff reported directly to Blank).
There will be no clearance sale. McKay said the team will consider exchanges that are best for the team and the individual players, but stressed that there will be no effort to gut the roster for the capital project before the trade deadline at the end of this. month – “This won’t be a situation where we predetermine the roster for the next GM and manager.”
Matt Ryan’s future will depend on the new hires. While Blank praised the work his quarterback has done over the past 13 seasons and said, “I hope it will be in our plans,” the owner was very clear that he intends to leave decisions like that to the people he hires.
Raheem Morris was promoted for his leadership qualities. Defense play emerged during the call in a question as to why Morris was the choice as interim manager, and McKay said Morris’s bond with players, on both sides of the ball, was a major factor in the decision. . Both Blank and McKay said further staff changes would be up to Morris, and it sure looked like Morris would be considered for the full-time role if things go well.
• And one more thing about the boys fired on Monday: they both deserve credit for stabilizing the organization and making the jobs they are vacating attractive. Dimitroff came in the wake of Mike Vick who went to jail and Bobby Petrino who escaped mid-season after less than a year on the job. He quickly got Vick’s replacement. And working for a franchise that was a disaster, and had never made the playoffs in consecutive seasons before, Dimitroff’s top five teams had winning records and four of them made the playoffs. Two years after that run, Dan Quinn came to a team that needed a well-defined identity, and gave it up immediately, making it all the way to the Super Bowl in his sophomore year.
Eventually, maybe these guys will be remembered more for Super Bowl LIII, and the 28-3 will haunt them forever in a way that haunts 1990s bills. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t achieved much.
• A final note on Dak Prescott’s situation: the Cowboys look brilliant for signing Andy Dalton when they did. They led him to a $ 3 million one-year deal in the spring, with reasonable incentives that Dalton has a good chance of triggering now that he’s the owner. The main thing here is that the Cowboys have a pretty solid group of guys in their prime (Zeke Elliott, Amari Cooper, DeMarcus Lawrence, Zack Martin, Jaylon Smith), and they have a guy like Dalton, who made the playoffs in each. of his first five years as a pro makes this not just a lost year, as 2015 was for the franchise after Tony Romo crashed.
• I can’t be the only one to have seen the Washington quarterback’s situation develop over the past month and thought New England might have competition to keep Cam Newton next March, if Newton isn’t franchised… can I? In fact, I wonder if the presence of Ron Rivera’s crew on the quarterback market would force the Patriots to tag him.
• My devious player to watch on Monday night: the third year of WR Tre’Quan Smith of the Saints. The staff over there have been raving about him since he was drafted, and I think the emergence of Emmanuel Sanders last week should only help Smith (who scored two goals against the Lions) have a great night against the Chargers.