Baker Mayfield and Philip Rivers take control: week 12 in the NFL

The sentiment really began circulating through the Browns' attacking meeting rooms and dressing room on Thursday, and it built on Friday, during the short Saturday flight down to Cincinnati and to the matchday. But it is a thing for boys to talk quietly about their resentment. It is another to be revealed to them.

Leave that to Baker Mayfield.

After a tear through the Bengals for 258 yards and four touchdowns on 19 of 26 pass on the way to a 35-20 victory, the number 1 overall choice was visibly cold in the direction of former Browns coach Hue Jackson, who was less than two weeks away the staff of Cincinnati came. after being expelled in Cleveland. And when asked about the after-game exchange, he made it clear that this was not a mistake: "I did not feel like talking."

"I do not know, left Cleveland, descending to Cincinnati, I do not know," explained Mayfield at his press conference. "It's just someone who sat in our dressing room and asked us to play for him and then go to another team that we play twice a year, everyone can turn around, but that's how I feel."

Frank Victores / AP / REX / Shutterstock

Perhaps this does not quite register as Mayfield's flag-planting two Septembers ago just did on the road in Columbus after his Oklahoma team had shaken Ohio State at the Horseshoe. But the idea was not far away.

In both cases, Mayfield felt disrespectful, took a lead from his teammates, took his revenge, and then ensured that the opponent ate it.

Those who were in the Browns factory the last few days could also see it coming. Once that seed was planted,Hue asked us to play for him and then went without hesitation to a rival division, and that is BS-The quarterback had a little extra for this, and that quickly became contagious.

"We did not lose that match," said a Browns staff member on Sunday evening. "No way to lose that game."

Mayfield would not allow it. It's a new day in Cleveland.

Week 12 gave us a mediocre slate, but a whole series of juicy storylines where you can put your teeth. Including:

• How Philip Rivers achieved near perfection while the chargers rebounded by blowing the cardinals out of their tire box in Los Angeles.

• How the Broncos caressed Ben Roethlisberger in a sloppy error at the wire and unlikely to be lifted in the playoff chase.

• The road the Vikings used a halftime adjustment to close Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

• Why Sean McDermott & # 39; s Bills are difficult at the back for teams to deal with in December.

• Why the design of the Rams 2017 has become the key to the renaissance of the team and promises to keep a top-heavy salary structure sustainable.

But we're starting in Ohio, with a number one choice, which will become the cult leverman that GM John Dorsey hoped he would be on the design day.

So here's the thing about Mayfield's swagger – it's not empty. He is a football junkie, which is expressed in the time he spends on his game and in a work ethic that naturally played a major role in the reason why players, young and old, follow him. That, and the fact that he can really play.

That work and ability show how Mayfield improves almost daily. His first half thrived in Cincinnati – he was 17 out of 22 for 245 yards and three touchdowns when the Browns ran to a 28-0 lead – was a remarkable reflection of that improvement, with evidence that came out subtly but effectively. ways.

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• The Browns conducted several personnel groups on the field at just about every module of their game-opening, 10-play, 78-yard touchdown drive, with which Mayfield and the coaches could see how the Bengals would respond and adapt. What they found was that Cincinnati was sold out to stop Nick Chubb and the run-game, which led to the air raid.

• After Cleveland's second possession, the coaches gave Mayfield the opportunity to go straight through an empty backfield. Doing that puts the burden of proof on the quarterback to get his protection, precisely because there is no last line of defense with a blocking by the blocking – and the staff trusted Mayfield to reach it. The advantage is that, with the defense spread, the quarterback has a clearer picture of where the rushers come from, allowing Mayfield to disassemble the Bengals. And the amazing thing is that Mayfield had almost no experience in this area that entered the NFL.

• Attacking co-ordinator Freddie Kitchens and his staff worked to connect run-action to playing all those staff groups, which helped Mayfield play comfortably and get him to work quickly – another sign that this is increasingly becoming the beginner's evil rookie. It was effective Sunday, although the run-game (2.4 yards per carry) was not.

• Mayfield has also started to follow a guideline to include Chubb in the pass play. The second round rookie was not considered a major threat in that area that came from school (he had nine catches in 28 games in his last two seasons in Georgia), but the coaches found what they saw in his practice and believed him using it as a pass-catcher would help to open the run-game. Chubb finished Sunday with 44 yards on three receipts, including a spectacular 14 yard touchdown on which the rookie reached and hooked the ball to the back of Bengal's safety Brandon Wilson.

Frank Victores / AP / REX / Shutterstock

In essence, the recent success is a combination of the concepts for finding staff that Mayfield feels right, and Mayfield is improving at a furious pace. And in the end the results looked like this …

Drive 1: 10 plays, 78 yards, touchdown

Drive 2: four games, 56 yards, touchdown

Drive 3: 12 plays, 96 yards, touchdown

Drive 4: 11 plays, 59 yards, touchdown

The score was 35-7 in the third quarter before the Browns would kick. And when that finally happened, a Cleveland attack, which probably could have been on points and yards, went into protection mode. Mayfield only threw the rest of the road three times and completed one of those passes for seven meters.

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Here is another gold nugget to take with me: I was told that it was not a great practice week last week for the Browns attack. That was in the past a killer for a team that was looking for trust and wanted to find its way.

Thanks to Mayfield, it now seems that Cleveland is no longer such a team and that the way they put it on an old coach of them on Sunday only serves as proof.


How do you respond to your first loss within two months? Philip Rivers made his first 25 (!) Passes for 224 yards when the Chargers took an early 10-0 deficit against Arizona in a daring 45-10 victory. And as Rivers' coach saw it, it was no coincidence that this was the result of a loss to the Broncos that was fueled by a precious interception (Von Miller was the perpetrator) who sat on Rivers back for a week.

"His consistency was impressive," Anthony Lynn said from the victorious dressing room. "That is something that you only get from the preparation, and if you are close to him every day and see how he prepares, it does not surprise you that he goes out and has a day like this. fierce competitor and he can not wait to go back to the field after what happened last week.

"So I think you saw a combination of a man who played extremely focused, played at a high level because he could not wait to get back on the field, and he prepared himself very well."

The way the game was played also showed where the focus of the whole Chargers team was.

A heavy favorite that came in, and apart from that loss of Denver, the Chargers immediately delivered a nine-play, 76-yard touchdown ride. Following a three-and-out gave Arizona field position and helped to set the field goal that made it 10-0. Just a week after they had their six-game win streak snap, through a jumped 12-point lead, the chargers looked like they had let Week 11 bleed into Week 12.

Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images

But Lynn saw something else: small mistakes that caused bigger problems. The cardinals were busy counting the aggressive pass-rush of the Chargers, which was a problem, and communication failure led to poor run-fits. Ideal? No. Correctable? Yes. And if the team was as resilient as Lynn always thought, the solutions would be quick.

"We are participating in four quarters, and that was actually the first 12 minutes of the game," said Lynn. "And the first 12 minutes did not go as planned, but I was not surprised that these guys kept on fighting and continued to compete because they are very resilient, which is what they have always done, so I fully expected that."

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The Chargers did not allow another run and scored 45. And now they are leaving for Pittsburgh for a huge AFC confrontation at 8-3, just a game behind the Chiefs in the division and firmly in the running for one of the conferences. to conquer. two playoff byes.

Many of us have circled that December 2 game for a while. Because it is here, the chargers can eventually circle it.

"It's a great place for a football match," Lynn said. "It's going to be fun, they've bent it, it's going to make it fatter, and we're looking forward to it – my focus was clearly on this game today, but as soon as the game was over, yes, I was thinking about Pittsburgh. Early in the morning, if not tonight. & # 39;


Down 24-17, the Steelers' high-octane attack had first-and-goal from the Denver 3-yard line out of the two-minute warning. Believe it or not, it took only one defensive call from the Broncos to get the three stops they needed to send Ben Roethlisberger and business packaging with their first loss since September.

The front of the Broncos that has been rolled out there is a variation on the old bear defenses of Buddy Ryan. We will let Denver Vance Joseph coach from there.

"It's our inside-the-5 defense-we call it Cub Free," Joseph said after the victory over the phone. "It is really a 46 defense with an extra defender to fill in. And it is designed to of course stop the run game and then use the slot.Our D-linemen clearly play the run game first and then jump they look like [into coverage] for the pass. So we knew that the pass-rush was not our premium for that call, but if he threw it, it would be short and in the middle.

Eric Lutzens / The Denver Post via Getty Images

"So we have a low-ball player and we have a man who jumps in the hole, it was a great call from [coordinator] Joe Woods, something we practice all the time. First it was the same defense, Chris Harris makes the game on the reverse blur. The second observation, we stop the flight. And the third down was Shelby's play. "

Shelby is Shelby Harris, who performed exercise selections for the first three years of his career (and became a father for the first time three days) before he found a home in Denver in 2017. He worked on the play Steelers centers Maurkice Pouncey and subtly falls into a place where Roethlisberger might lose him.

And lose him, Roethlisberger did. Big Ben drove the ball just above the head of Harris and Harris held out his hand to intercept it for an interception and bring a 24-17 victory to bed. The profits pumped more into the Broncos this year, which many had left behind for death (I take myself here) a few weeks ago.

It's the second consecutive week that a big defensive game (after Miller plucked against the Chargers) pushed through Denver – sparking a comeback last week, narrowing a little bit this week – and Joseph does not see that as a mistake.

"Our team has done a lot of work and we have played good football in the last two months, and we have run short of some very good opponents, "said Joseph." I said to the boys: "This is a reward for your work and you believe in what we do. & # 39; The work we have done and the good football that we have played over the past two months was impossible. It is rewarded.

"Some of the calls and some of the balls bounced against us in the wrong way, but now we get some of those calls, we get the ball on our way."

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And it starts with an interesting December in Denver. The Broncos are now one game from the AFC's wildcard position, with the rest of the slate appearing quite clear – in Cincinnati, in San Francisco, in Cleveland, in Oakland, versus Chargers.

It is also interesting that the Broncos are here now, given that so much of this season in Denver has been spent discussing the future of the franchise, in the place of Joseph in doubt. He has also heard things like that and seems to be aware that there is a way he can effectively take care of it.

"I'm fine, my focus is now on the Bengals," said the second year's coach. "It's never about my job, it's about the players and the coaches, that's what I focus on: if you do a good job and you play good football, you'll be rewarded, so I'm not focused on anything other than the Bengals. and our soccer team and winning and winning every day win every game, whatever happens after the season.

"It's about the Broncos now."

And the Broncos are, again, relevant in the AFC.

Episodes 1 to 5 now available: An exclusive True Crime podcast series from SI, in which the assassination of Titan's Great Steve McNair is reviewed. Subscribe to iTunes or download your podcasts. And visit the homepage of the podcast for additional materials and updates.


So Buffalo is a team that does not go to the AFC playoffs. But every team that has played them will tell you that Sean McDermott has that group that does its best. And this week they got a cause: defend their starting quarterback.

You will see in the Tweet of the Week the specific shot that Jalen Ramsey took in the Buffalo rookie in April after he was drafted. Rest assured, Allen's teammates saw it, and it resonated with them, which is part of why the Jaguars' date on Sunday was so advanced that, late in the game, Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette and Bills de Shaq Lawson set themselves up as boxers, and took their scraps all the way into the tunnel.

"I do not want to, I do not think anyone wants it, part of the extracurricular stuff we had, especially when it bursts into a skirmish like it did," McDermott said on the phone Sunday. "But if you try to build a team, and something is said about your young quarterback before the young man even gets on the pitch, it says something about this team, and the people, that they come to him to defend."

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The good news is that Buffalo found a way to correctly channel that energy during the game, arranging the action the most, building a 14-0 lead and then leaving 24-14 in the second half before hanging on the door 24-21 victory.

That places Buffalo 4-7, which is modest until you consider the circumstances of 2018. This is, as we have described earlier in this space, the year in which the accounts strike the bullet for the mistakes of previous regimes. Only five Buffalo draws have been selected around those before the arrival of McDermott. The accounts carry more than $ 50 million in dead money, which means that almost a third of the cap is taken by boys who are not in the team.

They expected to struggle. But the effort has been consistent, partly because of the cultural basis that the Bills laid last year in making the playoffs in the first season of McDermott, and partly because of the kind of guys they have focused on insertion.

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"It is human capital, it is people," says McDermott. "People who want to work through these kinds of moments, who can build strength, you look back to my early days in Philly, early days in Carolina – we learned from the bumps as we grew, and those things make you stronger in the coming years. You'll have that to fall back on in the coming years, some teams would go south and that's what I'm most proud of.

"This is a resilient group and it will only get stronger, and the nice thing is that these guys are the ones who will teach next year's harvest."

Of course, gaining is not easy to come by. But keep in mind that the Bills are now passing the difficult part and passed a Jaguars team that pulled them out of the playoffs last January in the standings. The same Jaguars were all in for 2018.

And as a result, it seems pretty clear who is in a healthier place in the future.


How can the Rams afford all these guys?

It's a question you heard in the spring when the Rams signed or exchanged for some great, high-priced veterans, and one that seemed relevant again on Monday when LA reached the Chiefs in waves over a 54-51 thriller of victory . Because that game resonated so much, I thought a week later that it was worth explaining how an NFL team can have such a top-heavy salary structure.

The answer is also quite simple. You have to be efficient with the cap space you have left, and the best (only?) Way to do that is to draw well, that's where the story of Los Angeles & # 39; rookie class 2017 comes into play . The Rams did not have a first-round shooter (traded as part of the deal to go up and get Jared Goff in 2016), and coach Sean McVay and GM Les Snead got to know each other.

The first choice of the Rams was 44th overall. Their second choice was the 69th selection. And they knew how to mitigate the disadvantage – with McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips who was very specific with what they wanted in every position. That way, the Rams would not look in the same places as other teams and players would later find more of them than others.

"Our job is to appoint players who have the potential to fulfill a specific role," Snead explained Sunday morning. "When our players get a chance to actually fulfill that role, it is up to them to apply what our coaches are learning [equals] production."

It has so far …

TE Gerald Everett, South Alabama (44th choice): The Rams liked to generate his athletics to create mismatches, his ball skills and his run-after-the-catch skill by seeing him as a Jordan Reed type in McVay & # 39; s violation. He has only 18 catches this year, but scored the winning 40 yard touchdown against K.C. and is considered a very bright future.

WR Cooper Kupp (69e): The Rams saw Kupp as a legitimate slot machine with the flexibility to play outside, which is important given how much McVay moves its receivers. Kupp has more than delivered – he had 40 catches of 566 yards this season and six touchdowns in eight games before he turned off his ACL a few weeks ago.

S John Johnson (91st): Safety was not an urgent necessity, but Johnson's rating was excellent and he projected exactly into the back of Wade's Philips defense. From a cultural point of view, the Rams Johnson looked like a fit thanks to his tough, hard-nosed playing style. He has started since 22 games, including all 11 this year, and has three choices, 74 tackles and eight passes.

WR Josh Reynolds (117th): As of the second day of the 2017 draft, the Rams saw a recipient marked as a starting caliber there, and their determination to improve the position forced them to double behind Kupp. Like Johnson, the grade was too good for the team to succeed. Reynolds this year has 13 catches of 178 yards and three touchdowns and with Kupp's injury is assigned a larger role.

OLB Samson Ebukam (125th): The choice fell on 117 when Reynolds was not there, so L.A. swapped in to get a man they saw with the potential to be an explosive, urgent edge rusher. He was not invited to the combine, so the Rams brought him for a visit of top 30. Ebukam has already validated the work that the Rammen did with him by becoming a starter and scoring twice in the K.C. showdown.

Okay, so that's five draft picks, all outside the top 40. Do you want to guess the price tag of those guys?

It is $ 4,482 million on the limit, 2.5 percent of the 2018 limit for teams. And if you can make such a success – and it's not easy to get that low – so you can do it when 10 guys earn more than $ 7 million on your cap, without the bottom of your grid having a problem forms.



There was no direct successor for Patriot's recipient / Cordarrelle Patterson's statement for grabbing the lower reaches of Jet's defense line, Henry Anderson. We have more about this important story in a few paragraphs.


I can appreciate a good grudge – and it turns out the Bills have a good grudge, as well as their 22-year-old quarterback, Josh Allen, who scoffed Jalen Ramsey's "bow" party after running through the Jaguar MySpace linebacker for the start of the touchdown in yesterday's victory. Buffalo's official report was not with Ramsey either, after he shot that …


I usually enter the football weekend with the expectation that something can happen. And that expectation was fulfilled on Sunday when I ended up tweeting with the fiancée of a footballer who twisted his manhood on national television on Sunday. S / o to Sarin Rorie for making this whole thing even more … nuts … than it already was.


Not a great afternoon at the office for Hue. A better one, however, for the Seahawks, who during the first three months of the season spent a gigantic victory in Charlotte with the best touchdown party of the NFL …

S / O to …

Bryson Thompson, the courageous seven-year Saints fan who helped Helmets4Helmets with his brother Brock. Bryson's story – told very well on Thanksgiving morning by my buddy Jane Slater from NFL Network – is pretty incredible. Bryson suffers up to 100 epileptic seizures per day due to its condition, and must therefore wear a helmet. When he was diagnosed, his grandfather, former Saints, arrested Stan Brock, called the team to tell them about the situation and they responded by making a custom helmet for the boy to wear. Since then, he and his brother came up with the idea of ​​auctioning sports memorabilia, including many drawn football helmets, so that other children with the same condition could have helmets like him to wear. It is a rather remarkable story of a pretty remarkable child, one that is the seven minutes of your time enough to watch.


NFL takeaways from the university football weekend.

1. I'm not going to get fucked, I'm not going to get fucked up, I'm not going to fuck …

2. A big takeaway from the confrontation with Ohio State-Michigan in Saturday was how Buckeyes QB Dwayne Haskins-During protection-was in full command. While there are questions about his mobility and pocket movement, his arm talents alone have brought him into the discussion to be the first quarterback to go in April, he has to explain. And he has help. An experienced evaluator struck me on Sunday to say: "The trio of senior recipients of Ohio State-(Parris) Campbell, (Terry) McLaurin and (Johnnie) Dixon-All NFL talents have. It is difficult for scouts to properly evaluate a school's recipient group in the fall if they have more than two, so all three of those boys might get up during the pre-design process when [scouts] have more time to go through all the cut-outs. "

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3. And while we are there, it is worth mentioning Buckeyes OC Ryan Day was the man who wanted Mike Vrabel to carry out his Titans attack. Day, who was in his fourth job for four years, stayed partly in Columbus for family reasons. But he has NFL experience, has coached Philly and San Francisco under Chip Kelly and I expect him to raise NFL interest in January.

4. A few other names that NFL boys have stood for, that could possibly modernize a crime: fired Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury and attacking West Virginia coordinator Jake Spavital. Both have deep roots of the Air Raid and both have a lot of experience as play-callers.

5. Alabama held Auburn's acclaimed run-game at 130 yards on 43 carriers and registered three bags and five hurried on Jarrett Stidham, representing the reputation of the interior duo of Quinnen Williams and Raekwon Davis. One exec was quick to point to those two, when I asked what was out in the college football weekend.

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6. In line with that question, from a scouting director of the AFC college: "[Oklahoma WR] Marquise Brown solidified himself as a top-40 that was faster when his team needed him. "I asked if the 5 & # 39; 10", 168-pound burner is comparable to DeSean Jackson (only the name that popped in my head). "For some he would do that," said the reviewer. "DeSean had the efficiency factor, DeSean was a bit scarier with the ball in his hands, but Brown has better hands and is a bit better at the same time in a route planner." Translation: Brown, which captures 243 yards and two scores at 11, can play.


1. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was only 9 out of 15 for 104 yards in the second half on Sunday and Green Bay was not in the final zone over the last 30 minutes. Part of that was due to the small emphasis that the coaches of Vikings put on the break. The visitors and their QB tried to get the defense of Minnesota with movements, deception and game action, and eye discipline became a focus – because the Packers had gotten the Vikings a bit on "flash" games in the first half. "They were messing around with our eyes," Vikings DE Danielle Hunter told me after the game. "If they do not, then we are pretty fundamentally healthy to do the other things and prevent them from going into the field." The rest was really academic for Minnesota. The Vikings followed Mike Zimmer's plan to use his ends to stick Rodgers in the bag, and his tackles to create pressure. That third piece, to eliminate the flash games, forced Rodgers to throw lower percentages from a tight quarter, which is not a good way to win a quarterback. "You influence the quarterback," Hunter said, "you have a chance." And now the Vikings, on 6-4-1 with a trip to Foxboro in the neighborhood, also have one.

2. Difficult to say the same for the staggering Packers who have now lost six games in four consecutive seasons and are seriously at risk of missing the postseason for the second consecutive year, after eight consecutive appearances (2009-16). There is certainly a train of thought that both Mike McCarthy and the organization can benefit from a change. Remember, this is where Andy Reid was at 13 and 14 years old in Philly, and McCarthy is now in year 13 in Green Bay. Perhaps a new landscape would be good for McCarthy, as it was for Reid.

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3. Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett and his teammates noticed something on tape this week that they thought would be fairly easy to exploit – how the Panthers actually put on a pick-play like you would in basketball. That led to a small improvisation on Sunday that won the game from Seattle. In the last two minutes he faced third-and-fifth, while the game stalled at 27, while Lockett was out on Carolina CB Corn Elder. At the break he ran a hitch, and Doug Baldwin, in him, ran a seam. Lockett saw the switch coming – Parent went deep with Baldwin and Captain Munnerlyn rushed out of the opening to catch him. "That's something we were talking about, and I remembered it right away, so when I was on my route, I saw that the guy was buzzing at me with the nickel, and the corner left me and went to Doug," Lockett. "When I saw that it was time to clamber, I did not see anyone deep and so I took a shot, went deep and Russell [Wilson] was able to find me and we connected. "As Lockett explains, there was no guarantee that Wilson would turn his back, but with the right protection, and without another good option, the QB knew where Lockett was.Thirty-three yards later, Seattle was dominated by the winning field goal. .

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4. Talk about Carolina, it starts to feel the Panthers are at risk of losing a great Cam Newton season because of that spotty defense. Newton was uitstekend tegen zondag (25 van 30, 256 yards, twee TD's, één INT), de Panthers snelden voor 256 yards op slechts 25 draagtassen, en Christian McCaffrey had zijn meest productieve dag als een pro (17 draagt, 125 yards en een TD; 11 vangsten, 112 yards en nog een TD). En op de een of andere manier was het niet genoeg.

5. Omdat het lijkt alsof we de waarde zagen van het betalen van een backup quarterback hoe de Bears 'Chase Daniel speelde op Thanksgiving voor een geblesseerde Mitchell Trubisky (Daniel verdient dit jaar iets meer dan $ 4 miljoen), ik dacht dat ik zijn coach, Matt Nagy, zou vragen wat hem over Daniël's optreden te berde bracht. "De grootste indruk is gewoon zijn volledige opdracht tijdens onze vergaderingen, tijdens het oefenen, en samen met ons coachen het spelplan elke dag opnieuw," sms'te Nagy zondag. "We wisten dat hij goed zou spelen en gewoon zichzelf zou zijn. Hij bleef lang het hele spel gecomponeerd en maakte een aantal geweldige beslissingen en gooit gedurende dat spel. Hij is een geboren leider en we hebben het geluk dat hij hem heeft. "Ik vroeg Nagy of hij iets moest veranderen om Daniel tegemoet te komen, en hij antwoordde:" Niet één ding. "

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6. De zaak Rueben Foster is een ander voorbeeld van hoe talent voetbalspelers tweede en derde en vierde biedt, en hoeveel kansen er ook zijn. In april 2017 verplaatsten de 49ers zich snel naar de hoek Tramaine Brock nadat hij was gearresteerd op verdenking van huiselijk geweld. Diezelfde Niners waren veel meer verstandig met Foster, een eerste-ronde keuze, vanwege zijn geweldige talent. En door verstandig met hem te zijn, kan ik zien waar ze dichtbij kwamen, voordat hij uiteindelijk het touw doorsneed na zijn arrestatie in het teamhotel in Tampa, op verdenking van huiselijk geweld in het weekend. 'Ik kan je vertellen dat het buitengewoon teleurstellend voor me is, voor Kyle [Shanahan], voor eigenaarschap, voor iedereen hier, omdat we veel om Reuben geven, "vertelde Lynch aan verslaggevers. "Ik kan je vertellen dat het een situatie is waarin we een aantal heel specifieke basisregels voor Reuben hebben opgesteld, net als al onze spelers. We have a set of standards in place that the players were involved with developing. In this case, it was communicated and made exceptionally clear, to the point, what we expected out of him. And unfortunately what transpired yesterday, this isn’t a comment on that, because that would be mere speculation on our part. It’s more a comment on him not living up to what we had communicated, and to the energy and the time we’ve invested in him. That doesn’t mean that we don’t love him, we all do. But we feel like it’s in the best interest of our organization to move on at this point.”

7. The Bucs being unafraid of Jameis Winston getting hurt tells me the door is still ajar for him to be in Tampa in 2019. He threw the ball 38 times on Sunday against the Niners, and ran it another seven times, all of which put him in a harm’s way at a time when even a moderate injury could trigger his $20.9 million option for 2019 vesting, which would make it fully guaranteed.

8. John Harbaugh’s call on Lamar Jackson is going to be complicated—the rookie completed 14 of 25 throws on Sunday for 178 yards, a score and two picks, and he ran for 71 yards on 11 carries in a 34-17 win over a bad Oakland team. Organizationally, it probably behooves the Ravens to get Jackson playing time, but Harbaugh might not be around for the fruits of that experience, making this situation a tad more complex.

9. Credit to the Eagles for showing some fight. Their injury issues in the secondary are bad, and offensive line could use some improved health too. But to be able to come back from a 19-3 deficit against the Giants with their season more or less on the line isn’t nothing. The problem is, the road gets much tougher for Philly from here—Redskins twice, Cowboys, Rams, Texans.

10. I wrote on Friday night on Bob McNair, and you can check it out here. He leaves behind a legacy that was complicated significantly over the last year, for obvious reasons.


What’s fascinating about tonight’s Texans-Titans matchup on ESPN? I’m more than a little interested to see Mike Vrabel, the defensive coach who faced Deshaun Watson every day in practice during Watson’s rookie year (when Vrabel was Houston’s DC) reach into his bag of tricks to try to slow the super soph and his red hot Texans.

I do like the Texans at home, in a close, low-scoring one—let’s say 23-20.

And as a PSA, Thursday Night Football isn’t half bad this week, with the Cowboys hosting the Saints. Just so you don’t inadvertently skip it.

See you guys in a few hours for the Monday Afternoon QB!

Question or comment? Email us at [email protected].

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