Reborn RB McCoy to throw shade in Oakland
For McCoy, expect more backstrokes in the Fountain of Youth Week 2. Why? It’s Oakland, a team, post-Antonio Brown, which shocked the world against Denver Week 1. In its opener, the Raiders largely stood their ground against the 1-2 punch of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. The duo combined for 127 total yards on 26 touches, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
McCoy will continue to function in a timeshare alongside Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson, but if granted another 13-15 touches, he should coast to RB2-level numbers versus KC’s AFC West rival. Light fronts will be frequent.
Fearless Forecast: 12 carries, 67 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.6 fantasy points
2 Sammy Watkins
Benefitting from the open prairie land provided by Andy Reid’s creative scheming, Patrick Mahomes’ golden arm and Tyreek Hill’s game-breaking speed, Watkins is the envy of every No. 2 receiver in the league. After traveling the world, working out like a fiend and finding balance in his life this past offseason, though, Watkins was no sidekick in the season opener. He exhibited the quickness in traffic and acceleration in the open field that we haven’t seen since he entered the NFL with the fanfare befitting a No. 4 overall draft pick. Far from disappearing when Hill went down with a first-quarter injury, Watkins served as Mahomes’ chain-moving go-to target the rest of the way, finishing with a career-best 198 yards and three touchdowns on nine receptions.
With 23 carries for 85 yards and two rushing scores, while adding one reception for 28 yards on Monday Night Football, RB Josh Jacobs became the first player since LaDainian Tomlinson to tally two rushing TDs and 100 yards from scrimmage in his rookie debut. Jacobs also became the first player in franchise history to score two rushing TDs in his NFL debut. He is currently tied for the NFL lead in rushing TDs and ranks eighth in rushing yards with 85 yards. His 85 yards on the ground ranks third in franchise history among all rookies in their NFL debut.
What would be your biggest concern about the Chiefs breaking through and making the Super Bowl this season?
Other than the defense coming around, just staying healthy. The Chiefs had the capability to be even better on offense after adding McCoy and rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman, but the injury to Hill makes that a more difficult proposition. The Chiefs can survive a stretch of a few games without Hill as long as they don’t have any more injuries. But if Mahomes, Watkins or Travis Kelce also goes out of the lineup, the offense could look much different.
Coach Jon Gruden didn’t let on that Abram was dealing with an injury on Tuesday, speaking only of how the rookie can sometimes get overly aggressive.
”I think he probably got a little bit too reckless at times,” Gruden said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “Made some great plays, some impact plays and certainly I think some tackles he’s got to make for us, he missed. But his debut was pretty good.”
The loss of the promising first-round pick is a tough break after the Raiders defense looked much improved to open the season.
Abram’s injury means it’s likely veteran Curtis Riley takes over as the starter, or the Raiders could use Lamarcus Joyner, who mostly saw time as a slot corner in Week 1, alongside Karl Joseph to plug the gap created at safety with the rookie’s injury.
With Patrick Mahomes and the explosive Chiefs on deck, losing Adams was not the news the Raiders wanted to hear.
Last year, Mahomes’ jersey was third on the list of top 10 best sellers in the NFL, trailing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Bears defensive lineman Khalil Mack.
In this year’s preseason, Mahomes moved up a spot, according to Fanatics. Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield’s No. 6 jersey was the best seller, followed by Mahomes’ jersey.
The summer can be a busy time on the NFL offseason calendar, but Nnadi still managed to make each event possible.
“[The award] means a lot, but I don’t look for any type of credit, it’s more about just doing what I want to do for my community,” Nnadi said. “A lot of kids don’t have the opportunity to get the things they need, and it can cause them to be behind compared to everybody else. That little pick-me-up can do so much for them.”
The shopping spree in Virginia Beach was of particular significance to Nnadi, as it followed a mass shooting that claimed the lives of 12 people in his hometown.
“I was scared when I first heard about it, I was calling everybody I knew to see if they were OK,” Nnadi said. “Right away, I was just thinking, ‘What can I do?’”
The answer was a shopping spree for the family of Kate Nixon, who tragically lost her life that day.
“I couldn’t go back home, but being so far away, this is the closest I could do,” Nnadi said. “I haven’t gotten a chance to meet Mr. Nixon yet, but when I do, I just want to show him how much it means to me that his kids are safe.”
Patrick Peterson’s base salary is $11 million for 2019. The difference of $400k in cap space would be made up by including a player along with draft picks for Peterson. The concern is that Peterson is currently serving a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. If they were to trade for Peterson, Kansas City would likely wait a couple of weeks to avoid taking on as much of a cap hit. They are looking ahead to the playoffs, and by that time Peterson would have had ample time to be fully integrated into the defense. A player with his footwork and hip-turn ability is a rare thing to find and would be the number one corner on nearly every NFL team. If the Chiefs were able to add him, they would be Super Bowl favorites once again.
Around the league
Green said he ran for roughly 10 minutes on Tuesday and did a leg workout with Bengals strength and conditioning coach Joey Boese on Wednesday. Green said that while his range of motion is still limited, he feels good after the workouts.
”Everything’s going in a great direction,” Green said in his first public comments since tearing ankle ligaments in the first practice of training camp and undergoing surgery.
JuJu Smith-Schuster as the Steelers’ No. 1 receiver is off to a rough start
As the Steelers’ new No. 1 wideout, Smith-Schuster was lined up against New England’s top cornerback, Stephon Gilmore, for most of their Week 1. While he caught six passes for 78 yards, Smith-Schuster was mostly ineffective, and the Steelers’ offense couldn’t get any momentum in an embarrassing 33-3 loss to the Patriots.
If Smith-Schuster can’t find success against secondaries focused on stopping him first and foremost, the Steelers’ passing game may be stuck in the mud all season.
Panic index: Gilmore was a first-team All-Pro last season and Smith-Schuster is far from the first receiver to be shut down by the Patriots. Hell, Brown’s career average against New England is essentially the same exact output his replacement had Sunday night.
Four 2019 rookies launched that notion into the star-soaked heavens in Week 1.
Baltimore Ravens receiver Marquise Brown blasted off for 147 yards and two touchdowns on four catches, Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson gobbled up 131 and a TD on six snags, Washington Redskins WR Terry McLaurin dashed for 125 yards on 5 snatches with a score, and Tennessee Titans wideout A.J. Brown galloped for 100 yards on three catches.
The combined performances were the first time in NFL history three or more rookies recorded 100-plus receiving yards in their debuts, per NFL Research.
Hockenson’s 131-yard performance surpassed Monty Stickles (!) -- 123 yards on Sept. 25, 1960 -- for most receiving yards by a tight end in his debut in NFL history. At a position that historically has taken rookies a full year or two to completely get up to speed, Hockenson’s performance portends to a big role in the Detroit offense. The rookie displayed an ability to find open grass, make tough catches in the red zone, and burn linebackers in apace.
Concern Index: No Need to Panic … Yet
Mayfield’s decision-making absolutely must improve if Cleveland’s offense is going to live up to its hype, but a handful of the issues that cropped up throughout the game should be fixable. For starters, the team’s offensive line gave up far too much pressure and surrendered five sacks, or 11.6 percent of Mayfield’s dropbacks (for reference, he was sacked on just 1.9 percent of his dropbacks in the final nine games of 2018). It didn’t help that left tackle Greg Robinson was ejected for kicking a Titans player in the head, but head coach and play-caller Freddie Kitchens was quick to take the blame for not dialing up more quick-hitting pass plays to get the ball out of Mayfield’s hands sooner. That strategy was a crux for the team’s offensive explosion last season, and something the offense can focus on in Week 2.
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Obviously, we’d like to see more out of the pass rush. Frank Clark was chipped for large portions of the game — helping to negate his rush — but we still expected more in the one-on-one reps he did get. We also expected Alex Okafor and Chris Jones to make more of an impct than they did in the passing game; they didn’t turn in bad performances, but they weren’t the dominant ones we expected against a patchwork offensive line.
The cornerback position is clearly in need of improvement, with both Fuller and Ward struggling to find the ball or maintain their zone responsibilities. Even Breeland — largely playing well on the day — gave up back-to-back completions after CBS lost their feed at the end of the game.
Chiefs head trainer and VP Rick Burkholder spoke to the media in an official capacity regarding the injury on Wednesday.
“The last time I met with you guys, I told you I’d give you an update on Tyreek Hill,” Burkholder said. “At that time, he was in Baptist Medical Center under Dr. (Brett) Frykberg’s care. Before we left Jacksonville, he had the dislocated sternoclavicular joint reduced. He had that reduced without surgery and had it reduced under anesthesia. All went well there. There was no damage to his vital to any of his vital organs or his vessels. He spent the night in Jacksonville at the hospital. My assistant, David Glover, was with him. They flew back here Monday. He started the rehab process Monday night and is going through that now. He’ll be monitored throughout this period where he goes through the phases of rehab like any other injury. We’ll do some testing with him to make sure that joint stays in the proper anatomical position. I know there is speculation out there about how long, but he’s truly a week-to-week injury. He will be listed as out this week.”
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