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One Liners from Week 7

In the scouting world of the NFL, a scout’s reports often are accompanied by a “one liner” explaining in a sentence or two what a certain player was all about. Here is my version of that with regard to what we saw this week. • In preseason we said the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts would battle for the AFC South. Both have taken unpredictable routes, but next week brings us the Denny Green Bowl- THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE. Get your popcorn ready. • I know the Chicago Bears are a flawed and poorly constructed team. But, each time I watch the Bears, I ask myself. “Does anyone want to trust the career of Justin Fields being in Matt Nagy’s hands?” The body language of the player in question tells you everything you need to know. • I know the Arizona Cardinals are playing really well right now, but the Houston Texans look like a team that not only lacks talent, but also looks disinterested or preoccupied. The Texans ran 49 offensive plays and had eight first downs last Sunday. I think it’s going to be a long grind before anyone in Houston experiences any degree of prosperity. Houston fans will soon be longing for the XFL’s ROUGHNECKS. • The Las Vegas Raiders and Derek Carr (31-34 for 323) are better than they were 10 days ago and Rich Bisaccia and his “healing qualities” both have to be considered as long-range answers for that franchise. • New York Jets QB Zach Wilson is said to have a PCL injury that will keep him out 2-4 weeks. IMO, it’s a blessing in disguise. A step back to catch his breath is just what the doctor ordered for a struggling rookie QB. Let’s just call it a standing eight count for Wilson to clear his head before returning to action. Just as concerning should be the Jets. Coming off a bye, they gave up 32 first downs, 551 yards and 54 pts to the New England Patriots, hardly what they were looking for to begin their second half of their season. • The Philadelphia Eagles have a lot of issues, but fixing them might start by maneuvering (and they have draft capital) to select University of Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett whose style and skill set will remind some Philly old-timers of one Ron Jaworski. Fans of any NFL team looking for a QB had better warm up to Pickett. • Even at 0-7, I am still somewhat bullish on the effort and heart of the Detroit Lions. They may lack talent on defense and innovation on offense, but they mirror the personalityof their head coach, Dan Campbell. I still think RB D’AndreSwift is a star in the making even though his role with this offense is still inconsistent. TEAMS RUNNING LOW ON EXCUSES- At 1-6, the Miami Dolphins are exuding the characteristics of a team headed NOWHERE fast. They are the one team who resides at the bottom of both the offensive and defensive statistical categories. They have made questionable decisions in drafting and team building and the rumors persist that they are front runners for a Houston Texans QB in limbo, Deshaun Watson. This reeks of a desperate team with signs of indecision at all levels. I’m not sure that adding more doubt and chaos to this organization is what the doctor ordered but all other reasoning as to why this team is bad probably means that more changes are coming probably sooner than later. With another loss on Sunday at home to the Indianapolis Colts, the San Francisco 49ers proved that despite the weather, they have issues. These problems could very easily lead to a fifth losing season for Head Coach Kyle Shanahan in his six years in San Francisco. And as a comparison BTW in Chicago, the opponent for the Niners next week, Head Coach Matt Nagy is 31-24 and fixing to get run out of town. To make matters worse, SF gave away valuable assets for next year’s draft when they moved up this past year to select QB Trey Lance (in the 2021 draft). Many football people thought pre-draft that Lance seemed a year away for being a year away. In the meantime, Arizona is 7-0 and riding high with the LA Rams (6-1) in close pursuit. In old fashioned wrestling terms, next week’s SF-Chicago matchup has that “loser leave town” feeling written all over it. Both of these teams are running low on excuses. ON A MORE POSITIVE NOTE- The Cincinnati Bengals and the much-ballyhooed combo of QB Joe Burrow and rookie WR Ja'marr Chase put on a show for the ages versus a much-respected Baltimore Ravens defense on Sunday. Burrow rolled up career numbers in passing yards and his team went for 520 total yards. However, it’s Cincinnati’s bookends at defensive end that are making a difference. The pass rushing combo of Trey Hendrickson (a free agent acquisition from New Orleans) and home grown (Ohio State) product Sam Hubbard are quickly becoming a tandem to be dealt with. Hendrickson leads the league in pressures and the Bengals sacked Ravens QB Lamar Jackson five times on Sunday. I’m not ready to put the Bengals in with the elite of the AFC yet, but it's nice to see the hard work of Duke Tobin (acting GM) and HC Zach Taylor paying off with this early season success. Atlanta rookie TE Kyle Pitts showed why most considered him a unicorn as a weapon when the Falcons passed on drafting a QB or OL and made him the 4th pick in last spring’s NFL Draft. Pitts went for seven catches and 163 yards to put himself at the top of the list for individual performances in Week 7. His ability to catch when covered and adjust to balls outside his frame, just as he did in college, make him a matchup nightmare on third downs and in the red-zone. The fact that defenders might be able to cover him at the NFL level is overshadowed by the fact that those same defenders can’t do anything about him catching the ball puts Pitts in the “special” category.

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