5 issues I care about
The Steelers’ offense has not discovered solutions
It was a lock that the Steelers’ offense would look considerably higher in Week 3. There’s a important dropoff in high quality going from the 49ers’ and Browns’ defenses to what the Raiders current. However does anybody actually really feel dramatically higher about this underperforming unit after Sunday evening?
That might be a stretch in my eyes.
It begins with the run recreation for me. There are few extra hopeless endeavors than Najee Harris working behind the Steelers’ offensive line proper now.
Harris has unusually grow to be a pariah within the fantasy soccer neighborhood, as a rising variety of analysts need to faucet him as the following Melvin Gordon to Jaylen Warren’s Austin Ekeler … or worse, they’ll use the Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard dynamic. To a point, I get it. I don’t suppose Harris is essentially the most explosive again on the market. On the off probability that he breaks a run to the skin, he’s normally working onerous to go 5 or 6 yards.
The difficulty is, these chances are high few and much between.
The Steelers’ line is a large anchor on this offense proper now. Many people, myself included, made the error of assuming that an above-average free-agent signing in Isaac Seumalo and a Spherical 1 rookie left deal with (who just isn’t beginning) in Broderick Jones can be sufficient to avoid wasting a bunch that’s been a hassle spot for years. Nothing could possibly be farther from actuality.
The Steelers have been six of 15 on third down in opposition to the Raiders, who’ve a game-wrecker in Maxx Crosby however in any other case don’t provide many others to concern. That’s as a result of the Steelers are constantly in poor down-and-distance conditions. We will argue about whether or not Harris, Matt Canada’s rudimentary run recreation ideas or the offensive line is the principle villain on this regard but it surely virtually doesn’t matter. The outcomes are what they’re and I can’t speak myself into it altering at any level.
The run recreation points bleed into the passing assault as a result of as soon as they’re in these poor down-and-distance conditions, groups can pin their ears again and blow by these offensive linemen in cross safety. You’ve got one participant even near Crosby’s degree, and you’ve got an edge. These moments ship Kenny Pickett into creation mode the place he has the mentality to win however not the instruments required to take action. It’s why we see this offense produce an absurd quantity of three-and-outs. It is by no means forward of the motion.
I don’t know that I ever thought anybody from the Pittsburgh passing recreation was going to the moon this season, particularly with Diontae Johnson out, however I hoped the Steelers might a minimum of depart Earth’s environment. Even with this win over the Raiders, I’m struggling to clear them for takeoff.
They’ll get matchups with Houston and Baltimore earlier than their Week 6 bye. The Texans’ cross protection is underrated and whereas the Ravens are as banged up as ever, they’re nonetheless well-coached and might make life tough. These two video games will present extra ideally suited checks.
The Dolphins’ working recreation
Seventy factors. It’s simply unspeakable. I can’t determine if it appears extra like the primary week of a faculty soccer mismatch or a Madden beatdown the place you wished to statpad in your Franchise Mode workforce.
As ridiculous as the ultimate rating was, it’s nothing in comparison with the production of the Dolphins running backs.
I’m undecided what’s extra ridiculous: that Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane averaged 8.8 yards per carry or that they accounted for eight whole touchdowns.
OK, it’s undoubtedly the touchdowns. The Dolphins duo reached fantasy football heights we’ve never seen before.
I talked in regards to the Dolphins’ rising run recreation as a crucial counterpunch this offense wanted to seek out in final week’s model of this column. Clearly, I didn’t see THIS output coming. No human being might have dreamt up this consequence however I didn’t think about the unit would go from counterpunch to true weapon in a matter of days.
The run recreation we noticed Sunday was nothing wanting a game-changing instrument of destruction. The bones have at all times been there for an amazing working recreation in Miami; for as a lot as their cross recreation led the way in which final season, designing floor assaults have been McDaniel’s bread and butter. Now that he has a completely built-in explosive rookie in Achane to enrich the regular and succesful Raheem Mostert, we’re seeing that historical past come to the forefront.
I do know there will likely be readers screaming at their telephones or laptops that this wasn’t a product of something Miami did however that it was merely an all-time dreadful efficiency from the Broncos’ protection.
Belief me, I do know. For no matter flowers we should throw to Miami, disgrace have to be forged to Denver.
Vance Joseph known as a protection like he’d by no means watched a second of movie on this offense, leaving the middle of the field wide open. The one factor that was worse was the tackling and any try at restoration by defenders within the open discipline.
That’s the factor with Miami’s offense. You make a mistake with this pace on the opposite facet of the sector, you’re not simply getting burned … you’re getting embarrassed. Odds are, you’re giving up six factors.
Now we’ve got gifted working backs with tangible upside infused with this dynamic passing assault. It’s going to by no means seem like this once more from a field rating perspective however the truth that this is even an actual, attainable end result is unnatural.
Essentially the most unimaginable offense to cease simply obtained higher.
Signature Justin Herbert recreation
The sport felt like a haunted home, as each the Chargers and Vikings wanted to exorcise some late-game demons with a win. In the long run, the Chargers averted fumbling the bag, even when head coach Brandon Staley did his greatest with a late-game fourth-down choice that didn’t go his manner.
Let’s not enable that to miss what was a signature Justin Herbert recreation.
The Vikings’ protection below Brian Flores has performed a bit extra passive than expectations by way of the primary couple of video games. That was not the case in Week 3. Flores despatched the canine after Herbert and the Chargers passer didn’t flinch. Herbert had a constant plan to defeat the blitz and by no means let it part him. His 14.7 completion fee over expectation ranked third amongst Week 3 quarterbacks.
The Chargers are in a well-known place. It’s Herbert or bust for this workforce.
Staley’s protection stays on the ropes, making once-prized free-agent addition J.C. Jackson a wholesome scratch earlier than the sport. The offense is banged up as ever. Austin Ekeler stays out with an ankle damage and Mike Williams reportedly suffered a torn ACL on Sunday and is out for the season. An offense below Kellen Moore that appeared to have some solutions within the first few weeks is now pressured to look below the sofa cushions to find a number of extra as guys are taken off the board.
In actual life, the Chargers can rely on Herbert to do his half to avoid wasting them. Nevertheless, we’ve seen this story in fantasy soccer earlier than. Williams’ season is over and if first-round draft decide Quentin Johnston nonetheless not able to play, this offense will get a roof put over its head similar to it did final season.
Keenan Allen — my lord, do I’ve to fortunately take an L on fading him in drafts this season — is the one one who scares defenses.
As standard, it appears like a Chargers offense that obtained most fantasy drafters all scorching and bothered within the preseason is headed towards one other “what if” marketing campaign.
When Derek Carr went down within the second half of the Saints-Packers recreation, it actually seemed like a devastating season-altering damage. Seems the worst-case state of affairs was averted and whereas Carr could miss a while, his season isn’t over. That’s an enormous dodged bullet for the Saints.
Individuals love to speak about Jameis Winston — he’s a enjoyable, residing, respiration meme — however he’s ill-equipped to guide this specific workforce. Don’t get me improper, it’s not that Winston isn’t a top quality backup quarterback. It’s simply the place the Saints are proper now.
New Orleans has some high quality offensive items. Chris Olave, who made a highlight-reel catch in opposition to Inexperienced Bay, is a famous person expertise. Michael Thomas has seemed like a dependable possession goal and Rashid Shaheed turns in a minimum of one large play per week. These are simply among the high quality supporting gamers on offense.
Nevertheless, the most effective a part of this workforce is the protection. Head coach Dennis Allen has the entire cease unit taking part in at a excessive degree however the secondary is especially spectacular. The blokes again there play as a hive-mind and have stomped out each opponent to date. They haven’t confronted a assassin’s row or something — Sunday was their greatest problem by far — however nobody has scored 20 factors on the Saints by way of three weeks.
That protection has the possibility to be the kind of unit that may propel the Saints into the playoffs, particularly with a simple schedule up forward. Carr isn’t a particular quarterback however I really feel barely higher with him because the caretaker than I do Winston.
The Lions’ full win
Detroit’s offense was a powerful unit and Amon-Ra St. Brown was the Lions’ main receiver with over 100 yards in Week 3. That looks like in regards to the norm however that belies among the key indicators from this recreation. A number of areas present why Detroit has developed as an operation.
I talked a ton this offseason about Detroit’s want for a working mate alongside St. Brown with Jameson Williams an total query mark and a lock to overlook six video games. Josh Reynolds has had large moments as the skin receiver however the gentle turned to Detroit’s rookie tight finish in Week 3.
Sam LaPorta drew 11 targets, one behind St. Brown for the workforce lead, and turned them into 84 yards. He ripped the protection open for a 45-yard rating. This wasn’t a flash within the pan for LaPorta, both. He had 5 catches in every of the primary two video games. Rookie tight ends usually don’t do a lot however LaPorta has emerged as a safety blanket and harmful weapon up the seam. That sort of growth is strictly what this offense wanted. Defenses now have one thing else to consider.
LaPorta wasn’t the one rookie that flashed on the Lions’ offense. David Montgomery was by no means actually an choice to play on this recreation, so the Lions had all week to craft a new-look run recreation with their starter out. As a substitute of defaulting to holdover Craig Reynolds, they turned the load over to rookie Jahmyr Gibbs.
He dealt with 17 carries, Reynolds had 4 and Zonovan Knight had three. The insiders reported this could occur and it was the case. The Lions’ offensive line blew open some large holes throughout a Falcons entrance that had performed effectively early within the season and Gibbs adopted these lanes. He nonetheless has so way more untapped potential for this offense to mine. This might have been the beginning of one thing large.
Lastly, and maybe most critically, the Lions shut down the vaunted Falcons run recreation on the opposite facet of the ball. Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier took their 17 carries for a mere 45 yards. Robinson has been tearing by way of social media with spotlight runs in every of the previous two weeks however managed a long term of simply 11 yards. Detroit’s run protection has been a large number for seasons — that is growth.
5 issues I don’t care about
The Raiders’ lack of consistency on offense
NBC’s Chris Collinsworth and Mike Tirico bemoaned the Raiders’ lack of consistency as an offense within the fourth quarter. They’re not improper. At occasions they seem like a unit that may put factors on you in a rush, able to working by way of an amazing protection just like the one Pittsburgh employs. What I don’t agree with is the mystifying nature of why they’re this manner.
The Raiders are top-heavy. There’s your reply.
Davante Adams is a particular participant. He was nothing wanting unbelievable Sunday evening. Adams is at all times open wherever you need him. He’s the embodiment of quarterback proof as a result of he makes each factor simpler on anybody who throws him the ball; a dependable beneath separator and a menacing big-play service provider.
Jakobi Meyers has been an enormous win of a free-agency signing. He has lengthy been one of the vital underrated broad receivers within the league. He’s a superb route runner with the juice to get off of man protection and the savvy to sit down down in opposition to zone protection. He’s the consummate, good No. 2 receiver throughout from an elite wideout like Adams.
The issue is, these two are the one ones who’re taking part in constantly nice soccer on offense proper now.
Josh Jacobs is a good participant however for no matter purpose (possibly he’s nonetheless rusty after lacking coaching camp) he’s not taking part in at an amazing degree. Jacobs is getting what’s blocked for him — which isn’t typically a lot, one other concern for this squad — however in the case of including yards on prime of that, it hasn’t been there for Jacobs. And that’s normally his calling card, which makes me suppose he’s not again up to the mark but.
As a lot as individuals carry him up, Hunter Renfrow is a replacement-level slot receiver. Perhaps he’d be a greater match on one other workforce however he’s only a strong position participant. The present tight ends, proper now, don’t even miss that mark.
With all that in thoughts, it’s no marvel they give the impression of being splashy generally and rocky at others.
By the way in which, that description is mainly the story of Jimmy Garoppolo’s profession.
He obtained labeled as a recreation supervisor as a result of Kyle Shanahan wished him to behave as a caretaker however anybody who has actually watched him play is aware of that’s nonsense. Sunday evening was an ideal encapsulation of that actuality. When he’s in rhythm and on time, he can run an offense with some flare and feed Adams and Meyers in any respect ranges. The second chaos is offered, the errors creep in and the consistency bleeds out of the unit.
An inconsistent quarterback begets an inconsistent offense. This one makes all of the sense on the earth.
The Jaguars’ preseason expectations
There are many candidates for this honor however proper now the Jacksonville Jaguars are essentially the most disappointing workforce within the NFL.
The Texans are coping with cluster accidents alongside the offensive line and within the secondary. With that in thoughts, it’s past inexcusable for Jacksonville to not sack C.J. Stroud as soon as and for Trevor Lawrence to come back out of this recreation with an 85.3 passer score. I understand I’m oversimplifying the evaluation utilizing these two stats, however the truth that the Jaguars didn’t even cross the entry-level examination is extraordinarily troubling.
When you’ll be able to’t rush the passer and you may’t defend your individual, it’s simple. You’re not an excellent workforce.
I’m uncertain what the Jaguars are proper now. The connection between Lawrence and Calvin Ridley seemed prefer it was prepared for the large display early in Week 1. That has dried out to an extreme degree.
It was an underrated and under-discussed storyline within the preseason that Doug Pederson handed off play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Press Taylor. Eagles followers will inform you that Pederson has already made this error in his final cease and it appears like he could also be on the verge of taking his palms off the wheel in Jacksonville. He provides the Jags the play-calling edge and that must be on the forefront of this operation.
Perhaps if we fast-forward a number of weeks and we’ve got headlines that remember a Jaguars win streak as Pederson takes again play-calling duties. However I now not anticipate that nor anticipate the Jaguars as I knew them in preseason to all of the sudden return. For now, they’re on discover.
The Cardinals’ alleged ‘tank job’
If the Arizona Cardinals are purported to be tanking, nobody advised the gamers and training employees. You recognize, the individuals truly answerable for the product on the sector.
Everybody will likely be speaking in regards to the Cowboys popping out of this recreation. They’ll be the point of interest. That shouldn’t be the case.
The Cowboys misplaced as a result of they performed a workforce that, regardless of the on-paper expertise benefit, performed a lot better than them. Easy as that.
Arizona doesn’t beat itself. The Cardinals make life tough for opponents on protection and Josh Dobbs is a greater than succesful placeholder at quarterback. Everybody on social media is able to make enjoyable of Jonathan Gannon and switch him right into a meme however you can not watch this Cardinals workforce and inform me they don’t compete onerous like a bunch of men who’ve purchased in. They’ve fireplace of their intestine.
Nobody needs to speak about it however there stays a powerful probability Kyler Murray returns to play this season. From a fantasy perspective, that may take an offense that’s been higher than anticipated below Dobbs’ watch and doubtlessly kick it up a notch. Marquise Brown minimize up Stephon Gilmore on Sunday. He can attain one other degree with a wholesome Murray.
Kyler is a gifted quarterback and I grew weary of him taking part in in Kliff Kingsbury’s cookie-cutter assault. Dobbs has performed so effectively on this extra conventional assault that I’m way more fascinated to see what the Murray/Drew Petzing marriage will seem like. For now, let’s present some respect for the Cardinals and drop using “the T phrase” when discussing their season.
Over-diagnosing the Browns’ offense
I’ve been onerous on Deshaun Watson’s play and I don’t suppose there’s a single soul on the market who might blame me. You must give him credit score right here although; it was a layup matchup however he hit all of the photographs. He loved his greatest efficiency because the Browns quarterback. Not shut.
On the flip facet, the fantasy streets can’t overanalyze the run recreation within the post-Nick Chubb world as a result of Tennessee is such a funnel protection.
Nevertheless, all I need to discuss and take into consideration is that this Browns protection. What a pleasure of a unit!
If in case you have fantasy soccer gamers going in opposition to Cleveland, decrease your expectations. This unit goes to place offenses into the blender on a weekly foundation.
Nobody will mistake the Titans for a powerhouse offense however you not often see a workforce with some high quality gamers get stomped out like this. Tennessee had a mere six first downs and 94 whole yards of offense. The Titans averaged 2.1 yards per play and went two of 12 on first downs.
Nice offenses will battle in opposition to this Cleveland unit, as effectively. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has these guys taking part in an aggressive, bodily model of soccer and so they have expertise in any respect three ranges. And once they draw a middling to poor offense like they did in Week 3, you don’t need publicity to anybody.
The Jets’ offensive time machine
Each NFL week feels so distinctive, so unpredictable and shrouded in thriller.
Nicely, the whole lot besides the New York Jets.
The Jets have by some means fallen right into a black gap within the universe that has pressured them to slide again in time the place they have to relive the 2022 season. It’s as if the previous seven months by no means occurred. The courting of Aaron Rodgers, the hype of coaching camp and all of the magic of the offseason was faux. The Jets are again fielding the identical questions on Zach Wilson they spent virtually each week answering final season.
How should head coach Robert Saleh really feel? He should know that his roster is just too good to waste treasured time on this train once more.
Wilson just isn’t the Jets’ solely drawback. An offensive line that seemed just like the clear weak level for this roster has been taking over water from earlier than the season started. However Wilson is so removed from being a optimistic. New York’s entrance workplace seemingly talked itself right into a fantasy the place Rodgers would mentor Wilson and have him able to take the wheel when the veteran was able to retire.
That was a hideous course of to start with but it surely’s not within the playing cards now. Wilson is who he’s. And that’s simply not ok for New York. I’m undecided what different path there’s for the Jets to go down however something is best for them than this recurring nightmare.