Tuesday , January 19 2021

Rams Manage the victory after the fire-filled week of "horror" – ProFootballTalk



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When the door to the Rams cupboard hit late Sunday afternoon, there were three people who were not accustomed to being there on the edge of the crowd of players, coaches and footballers. In the middle, as usual, was coach Sean McVay. On this day, he spoke emotionally about the victory with 36-31 over Seattle. But he saved his most authentic, honest words about people who are foreigners in titles.

McVay said he gave four balls.

"Sophie Luoto and Kristen Lee!" McVay threw each ball.

"Bruce Warwick and Kate Kost!" McVay threw a ball to Warwick. Kost in Colorado, advancing Rams's trip to practice there this week before his game in Mexico City next week, will take his own this week.

All four are working in the football administration and businesses for the Rams. When about 90 players and Rams executives were evacuated from their homes due to the California fires within three miles of their workplace in Thousand Oaks, northwest of Los Angeles, Luoto and the crew found accommodation for them (sometimes two or three lodgings because the hotel after the hotel in the area has also been evacuated), reunited families, found a practice practice on Saturday, and kept the train moving. In the end, no one cares about your NFL problems. The inhibitor would have to invert the coin at 1:20 on Sunday afternoon, and the Seahawks would be ready and better to be me too.

"Some time, we are ready," Rams tackled and leader Andrew Whitworth said from his car on Sunday night. "Pretty amazing to be able to win a football match in such cases."

Cases such as this.

Thursday morning, about 4:10. The cell phone at Whitworth's night table was vibrating, listening, and eventually taking it. Two former Bengal teammates, including the NFL Players Association chairman, Eric Winston, have sent a mess of texts. Like: Are you ok? Can not believe what happened? Whitworth had no idea what happened, but checked online and found there was a shot at a Thousand Oaks nightclub. The site was four miles from the Rams training facility. There have been deaths and injuries, perhaps many of them. Whitworth and his wife stayed up, trying to figure out what it meant, especially for their four children and school. And for what they could do to help what left this last mass shooting.

Thursday, 10:35 am McVay and Whitworth spoke to the group to be good members of the community at a time of crisis. Whitworth was in LSU when Katrina hit the Persian Gulf coast and told his teammates: "Yes something.You will never regret trying to help in a tragedy. "

Thursday, about 1 pm Before he came to work, Whitworth decided to put his money where he felt. He called his wife, Melissa, and said he wanted to donate the gamecheck, about $ 60,000 after taxes, to a fund set up quickly to help the victims of the shootings and their families. "I'm in," said Melissa Wytworth. "One hundred percent."

Thursday at about 3 pm In fact, two separate mega-fires appeared, visible to players and coaches to see. "That's very close," said Whitworth. It was about three miles away from the practice installation, as it turned out. Within a few hours, firefighters will dig a trench across from the Rams unit, the kind of trench that gets dug when firefighters try to stop a fire from advancing. Before leaving Whitworth for the day, he learned that the 101 motorway he used to get to his home in nearby Sherwood was partially shut down. But he got home, like most of his teammates.

The Woolsey fire burned more than 85,000 acres near the borders of the provinces of Ventura and Los Angeles. (Getty Images)

Friday, 2am Whitworth woke up in his bedroom, the smell of bad smoke everywhere. "We have to go," he told his wife. But wait. His friend and comrade, John Sullivan, lived in the same neighborhood. "We can not leave them," said Whitworth and went to hit Sullivan's door. The two families were rapidly accumulating. The Whitworths accumulate their children in one of their cars and head south to Los Angeles. Until 4:15, they were in a hotel in Beverly Hills without knowing if they saw their home again.

The Rams were canceled all Friday, usually one of the two biggest exercise days. Difficult to work when no one can think of football Players and coaches either trapped or highly anticipated say either to evacuate or to sit in hotels, nervously watching the fires eat acres of the minute.

"Friday," said Whitworth, "it was a horror day."

Another story. "My story, I am sure, is one of a hundred stories," said Rams' senior communications manager Artis Twyman. His community was evacuated and invited Luoto, director of the football administration, to help find accommodation for himself, his wife and their two children. He found a hotel in nearby Agoura hills that looked safe. "At 3:30 in the morning," Twyman said, "someone beaten at our door, saying we should go out, the fire is near." So he called Luoto. He found them a hotel 45 minutes south, at Marina Del Rey. He never did it. The motorway was closed. Twyman called back. He said he would have to go north, to Santa Barbara, about an hour away. Twymans has closed in a hotel there. Finally, at 6am, they could sleep. "He had a role in trying to do such things for the family after the family," said Twyman.

"People sprang into action with their hearts," said Rams vice-president Kevin Demoff on Sunday. "Think about how much that happened in such a short period of time." Going through 7am on Thursday, trying to figure out how to help rebuild our community after shooting, until 3pm, you wonder if you have one more community, two punches punched one hour after another. "

Rams 36, Seattle 31. The Rams who could go home did, but at least half of the organization went to hotels scattered around Los Angeles to see what would happen next. The team is supposed to leave for Colorado today at 4 pm, and a week of practice there before the mega-Monday-early against the chiefs. A very big problem, the teams tied for the best football record at 9-1, playing in Mexico City. Rocks go to Colorado Springs because it is 6,035 feet above sea level. The city of Mexico is 7.382. The canines want to get used to playing in the thin air.

What to expect? Well, the trip was still from 11 pm ET Sunday. But what form will it take, who will go, and many details details … TBD.

"I do not know what to do," said Whitworth. "I have four children and a woman who need me now, they will be in school, they will have a school, our home will do it, I have to take them to Colorado, I just do not know, it's a bit stressful.

A little bit? Before the game of the year, the Rams could have survived the adversity of the year.

We'll get to more than week 10 at a time, but let's start where I was Sunday: Kansas City where it was a very mixed bag.

If this is as bad as it gets for the heads, winning with 12 points in a day when the offensive line was a sieve, throw a parade. General Phenom Patrick Mahomes was fired five times, struck all day, and Cards had five more loss problems. This will be a long week for Eric Fisher's left-handed treatment, who was abused by Arizona's Chandler Jones, and may have begun during the game. The coaching staff, the tight end Travis Kelce implied, lit the offense in the 26-14 victory. "From what the coaches out there," Kelce told me, "the way we played was simply unacceptable. We say this because we could chase almost everyone we've played. "

Patrick Mumm. (Getty Images)

As a team, the Heads should be happy that the Cardinals are playing with additional rubbish, and they have gone home quite firmly. Instead of playing maximum coverage, Arizona presses Mommy … and some work, and Muhammad burned some cards. After the game, I sat in the office of coach Andy Reid and preferred to look at the glass halfway. "Today, Patrick learned a ton of some of the different appearances he took," Reid said. "The one tidy thing about him is that you can trick him out once, but you do not fool him twice."

My evening of watching this group over the last two months was strengthened on the first day of the day. Seventy-five meters, three games, 56 seconds … Chiefs 7, Cards 0. It looked like it was 52-10. A soccer field is 53.5 meters wide and the heads use about 53 of these yards. In this first touchdown, it was a great illustration of the expansion of defense from the limits to the limits. Then, for Mahomes, he takes the defensive poison.

In this game, Kareem Hunt lifted from the back to the right. Wideout Chris Conley was in Hunt about six meters closer to the formation, and Tyreek Hill embraced the formation on the right slot. The tight edge of Demetrious Harris was left and the big Demarcus Robinson split wide left, near the limits. Five receivers, maybe 48 yards among them. Cards were looking at two deep security, but think about how difficult it is. The assault on the offensive right, Tre Boston, had to figure out between three tracks – a deep corner from Hunt, a middle clasp from Conley or a deep position from Hill, one of the fastest men in football – to cover. As soon as Hill got over his bumper, Brandon Williams corner, Mahomes scored the ball in the middle of the match and Williams, with the ball in the air, already made the move to safety, Where are you! And security had to resist, You are trying to report three children at once – with two of them being under 4.4 children! 37-yard contact seemed very easy. Maoms had a lot of them this year.

"This offense will be remembered for years," Conley told me. "The weapons we have, the general with this incredible vision, I am very grateful to be part of it."

One last thing: Watching Mahomes, it's interesting to see how many different ways he finds to throw. You rarely see the same throw twice in a row. It throws over three quarters, or a frenzy / side gun, or shovel. I saw his dad, Pat Mahomes, the great champion's smoke after the game and asked him where he came from.

"Baseball, I think," said the oldest Mohammed, wearing a shirt by MAHOMES Chiefs. "These are the kinds of throws, all the same, it will do the game soon, that's one of the reasons I think kids have to play more than one sport, and it can help you be more flexible."

So the leaders did not have a big day. But the Patriots took kayak from the Titans and so Kansas City entered the last six games with a two-game lead and the benefit of a week of 12 goodbyes, the last year. The leaders know that the Patriots could be their enemy sometime in January and would like to see Tom Breddy play in Decibelville, in a red sea, against a young passerby who can make the cast that Alex Smith does not could.

So many others happened on Sunday:

• Do not judge the injured Patriots this week. It is no wonder for a pupil Belichick to beat the gentleman in his own games, as I will show you. But tennis in Tennessee is worrying about New England because without Rob Gronkowski and without a strong game running against a strong Tennesian front, it was a bleak day. If Gronk remains injured for a few more weeks, New England could suffer a very disgusting event and this loses the first round of perception they have enjoyed for an NFL record eight straight January.

I was interested in the fact that Tennessee won not only Pats. They dominated them. Similar stories of Belichick pupils who have left the nest (after playing or training for him) and their first games are coached against him:

  • October 11, 2009: Denver (and Josh McDaniels) 20, New England 17.
  • September 23, 2018: Detroit (and Matt Patricia) 26, New England 10.
  • 11 November 2018: Tennessee (and Mike Vrabel) 34, New England 10.

• There is no better team than New Orleans at the moment. This is the best team of Saints by the 2009 Super Bowl champion. That year, Saints won the first 13 games and scored 35 or more points in seven. This year, the Saints have won eight of the first nine and closed 35 points five times. Surprisingly, Drew Brees appears to improve significantly. Think about how great Brees was in running the Super Bowl of Saints. This year, it is 7 percent more accurate, has a passerby score of 14 points higher, and with seven games left it can be in the driver's seat for its first MVP award. I think he has a better back, Alvin Kamara than he did in 2009, and a better and more explosive receiver to Mike Thomas than the Saints in 2009. In addition, the marriage between Brees and Sean Payton is so powerful. Payton knows what to call. Brees knows what to ask during the week. As Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels can end each other's penalties, Brees expects both Payton's calls and moods.

The fans of the Saints in Cincy. (Getty Images)

The real difference, though, is that the Saints are finally in front of the defense. It's almost a yard better than running than in 2009 (2018: 3.7 meters per transfer, 2009: 4.5 meters) and if you have the opposition in the second and eight much more than the second and four, which sets the stage for the type of defensive aggressor that Dennis Allen wants to use.

With 4-5 Philadelphia coming to New Orleans this week and preparing the final Hail Mary for the 2018 play-off, Payton should not worry about his squad sleeping on the Eagles. And then the Saints just have to hope that Kansas City can defeat the Rocks and give New Orleans a breathing room for the NFC home-field.

• The Moment of Matt. I've always found Matt Barkley to be a trusted guy, not good enough to hang on to a NFL roster. And if he has never had another day like Sunday – the 41-10 jerk of Jet who let him smile from ear to ear 45 minutes after play – can never get away from this fact that he started in a big league and won decisively under ridiculous conditions.

These circumstances: Barkley was a bill for just 11 days before Sunday and had not played in the championship for nearly two calendar years. "I knew I could play in this championship," said Barkley. "I feel like I was ready to play football and that was just an example to do what I was about to do."

Buffalo is on his way this week. There is no reason to rush Josh Allen behind the elbow injury in this lost (3-7) season. I would see if Barkley has another gem on him when the bills return home for 13 days to play Jacksonville. Buffalo fans will show love at Barkley if they start.

• So you want to get to know Philip Rivers? Listen to him. He is a guest in my current episode "The Peter King Podcast". Sometimes over the years, when we asked who the rivers are, I replied: This is the guy you meet every five years on a long plane trip and as soon as you get down, you feel like you know him for 10 years.The guy can talk – and I find his energy contagious. Not to mention that now, a month shy of his 37th birthday, he plays the best football of NFL life. Chargers hit the Triple-Raiders 20-6 Sunday and the rivers continued on to the first real chance to be a major playoff player since the chargers lost 17-0 patriots to the AFC title game 12 years ago. Nuggets from our conversation:

In leadership: "When people ask me," How do you want to remember? What is most important for you? That I was a teammate. I love this place. Being one of the guys, it's the best. "

Κατά την προπόνηση στο γυμνάσιο στο Decatur, Ala., Από τον πατέρα του: "Νομίζω από τον μπαμπά μου, ήταν τα μικρά πράγματα. Αν σκοπεύετε να κάνετε κάτι, το κάνετε όλος ο τρόπος. Εάν σκοπεύετε να κόψετε το χορτάρι, κάντε το σωστά. Δεν κόβετε γωνίες. Θα βγάζουμε την τσάντα μετά από κάθε τρίτη ή τέταρτη ταινία. Δεν θα χτυπήσει το γρασίδι παντού. Από την άποψη του ποδοσφαίρου, υπάρχει ένα στοιχείο ακριβώς αυτής της σκληρότητας. Και αυτό θα κερδίσει ότι προπονούσε τους παίκτες του και αυτό είναι σαν άνθρωπος. Πλύθηκε τα ρούχα ως προπονητής. Βεβαιώσατε ότι τα μπλουζάκια βρίσκονταν στο πλυντήριο και όλοι είχαν βόλτα στο σπίτι πριν πάτε σπίτι. Λίγα τέτοια πράγματα. Φρόντισε για κάθε τύπο. Νομίζω ότι παιδιά που δεν έπαιξαν καν θα σας έλεγαν ότι είχαν μια μεγάλη εμπειρία για τον ίδιο. "

Philip Rivers. (Getty Images)

Στην οκταμελή πορεία του από το σπίτι στο Σαν Ντιέγκο στην εγκατάσταση πρακτορείου Charger στο Orange County, σε ένα φορτηγό εξοπλισμένο με ένα σύστημα βίντεο, οπότε δεν θα είχε χάσει χρόνο στην εργασία του: "Έκανα κάποια έρευνα σε αυτό. Τον οδήγησα μερικές φορές. Ήθελα πραγματικά να το εξαντλήσω, όχι μόνο να κάνω μια βιαστική απόφαση. Έχει … υπερβεί τις προσδοκίες, πόσο ομαλή είναι η επεξεργασία. [The van] είναι ένα εκτεταμένο δωμάτιο quarterback. Επειδή από τις 5 έως τις 6:30 μ.μ., ό, τι κι αν είναι, θα καθόμουν σε εκείνο το δωμάτιο QB. Τώρα είναι το ίδιο, απλά τυχαίνει να είμαι στον I-5 Νότο. Επιστρέψτε στο σπίτι την ίδια ώρα. Ήμουν σε θέση να κρατήσω την ίδια μου ρουτίνα εργασίας. Πέρασα από τις 6 το πρωί. Τώρα φεύγω στις 6 το πρωί, επειδή μπαίνω στην αίθουσα του quarterback στο δρόμο μου. Εάν ήμουν στο έτος επτά ή οκτώ, θα το κάναμε έτσι; Πιθανώς όχι. Αλλά όταν πέρασες 14 χρόνια σε μια κοινότητα και η οικογένειά σου και τα παιδιά σου είναι λίγο μεγαλύτερα, έχει νόημα. Είμαι ευγνώμων που έχει ξεπεράσει τον τρόπο που έχει. "

• Παίζοντας στο παιχνίδι τίτλου AFC στο Foxboro πριν από 12 χρόνια με ένα ACL που έχει σπάσει την προηγούμενη εβδομάδα στην Indianapolis: "Ήμουν μόλις σχισμένο. Ήμουν σαν, Δεν μπορώ να πιστέψω ότι είμαστε εδώ στο κατώτατο σημείο να έχουμε την ευκαιρία να πάμε στο Super Bowl. Και ίσως να μην μπορώ να πάω. θυμάμαι [coach] Ο Norv Turner μου λέει – ξέρετε, παίρνετε τα νέα για το ACL και είναι σαν να μην παίζετε – και ο Norv μόλις είπε: "Μην ανησυχείτε, θα είστε σε ένα σωρό από αυτά τα παιχνίδια. Θα είσαι σε ένα σωρό πρωταθλήματα AFC. "Όπως γνωρίζεις, δεν έχουμε επιστρέψει. Δεν ήσουν πίσω, πριν από 11 χρόνια. Αλλά … μιλώντας με τη μαμά μου, είπε ότι ξέρεις τον Άγιο Σεμπαστιάν. για να μην πάμε πολύ βαθιά εδώ, αλλά η γιορτή του Αγίου Σεμπαστιάν στην καθολική εκκλησία είναι στις 20 Ιανουαρίου. Και είναι ο προστάτης άγιος για τους αθλητές. Έχω μια μεγάλη αγάπη για τον Άγιο Σεμπαστιάν. Αμέσως, ήμουν σαν τι; Πάγωσα. Εξακολουθώ να σας λέω ρίγη για αυτό ακριβώς τώρα. Σκέφτηκα καλά, σουτ! Θα είμαι σε θέση να παίξω! Ακριβώς έτσι σκέφτηκα ότι θα μπορέσω να παίξω. Πέρασα μια σειρά συναισθημάτων. Ήταν πάνω-κάτω, πάνω-κάτω όλη την εβδομάδα. Rehab. Έχω κοιμηθεί στη μηχανή γόνατος που το ισιώνει και το λυγίζει, το ισιώνει και το λυγίζει. Ήταν τρελό, το φυσικό αποτοξίνωσης που πέρασα. Ήταν πέρα ​​από μένα και πέρα ​​από την σκληρότητα που μου επέτρεψε να παίξω εκείνη την Κυριακή. Δεν είχα πυροβολισμό για πόνο και δεν είχα πόνο σε αυτό το παιχνίδι. Και αυτό ήταν έξι ημέρες μετά από ένα περιθώριο για μια χειρουργική επέμβαση μηνίσκου και απλά λίγο πολύ την αφαίρεση του ACL. Έχουν μιλήσει πολλά για το παιχνίδι αυτό κατά την τελευταία δεκαετία. Σίγουρα δεν το έκανα για καθόλου πίστωση. Ήθελα να είμαι, αν ήμουν έξω εκεί με το 'em ήθελα να είμαι εκεί έξω με' em και να του δώσω μια ευκαιρία να δούμε αν θα μπορούσαμε να φτάσουμε στο μεγάλο παιχνίδι. Δεν το καταφέραμε. Ήταν μια μνήμη heckuva σίγουρα. "

• Να μάθουμε να δεχόμαστε ότι δεν μπορεί να κερδίσει ένα Super Bowl στην καριέρα του: "Είχα έναν προπονητή να μου πει – John Ramsdale, προπονητής quarterback, ήταν με τους Rams εκείνα τα χρόνια που κέρδισαν – είπε αν η μοναδική ευτυχία σας βασίζεται στο αν θα κερδίσετε ένα Super Bowl ή όχι, τότε έχετε την ευκαιρία να είστε ένα άθλιο πρόσωπο. Και είναι αλήθεια! Τριάντα ένα από εμάς δεν θα το κερδίσουμε κάθε χρόνο. Αυτό δεν σημαίνει ότι δεν παλεύετε σαν τρελός για να το κάνετε, αλλά αυτό δεν μπορεί να είναι το μόνο πράγμα εκεί έξω, επειδή έχετε την ευκαιρία να είστε αρκετά άθλια.

• Πέντε nuggets για την αναμέτρηση Chiefs-Rams στην Πόλη του Μεξικού την ερχόμενη Δευτέρα:

1. Υπάρχει σημαντική ανησυχία για την επιφάνεια του παιχνιδιού στο Azteca Stadium, μια συνδυασμένη χόρτο και συνθετική επιφάνεια πολλαπλών χρήσεων που χρησιμοποιείται κυρίως για ποδόσφαιρο και συναυλίες, που έγιναν σούπα από έντονες βροχές στη φετινή περίοδο των βροχών. Οι πρόσφατες φωτογραφίες του γηπέδου φαίνονται απαίσια. Το NFL θα κινητοποιηθεί εκεί σήμερα και αύριο για να δει αν θα χρειαστεί χειρουργική επέμβαση στον αγώνα πριν από το παιχνίδι.

2. Ο Raul Allegre, ο πρώην NFL kicker που εργάζεται τώρα για το ESPN Deportes, γεννήθηκε στο Μεξικό. Αυτό το matchup, είπε, έτυχε κακής διάρκειας επειδή δεν υπάρχουν μεγάλες βάσεις για τους Chiefs ή τους Rams και δεν έστειλε αμέσως. Αλλά λέει ότι η ατμόσφαιρα στην πόλη τη νύχτα του παιχνιδιού θα είναι σαν ένα παιχνίδι Παγκοσμίου Κυπέλλου. «Όλοι είναι ενθουσιασμένοι», είπε.

3. Οι βόμβες προγραμματίζονται να λειτουργούν στο Κολοράντο Σπρινγκς, σε υψόμετρο, για μια εβδομάδα που αρχίζει την Τρίτη, επειδή η Πόλη του Μεξικού είναι 1,3 μίλια πάνω από την επιφάνεια της θάλασσας. Οι αρχηγοί μελέτησαν αυτό και επέλεξαν να μείνουν στην πόλη του Κάνσας για την εβδομάδα πριν κάνουν την πτήση 3,5 ωρών την Κυριακή. Ο προπονητής Andy Reid μου είπε: "Η ανύψωση είναι η ανύψωση. Είμαι βέβαιος ότι τα Rams θα λειτουργούν σε υψόμετρο. Δεν ήταν. Δεν νομίζω ότι γίνεται θέμα. Κάναμε την εργασία μας για αυτό το παρελθόν offseason. Δεν πειράζει πραγματικά. Δεν έχει σημασία αν βρίσκεται στο χώρο στάθμευσης του CVS. "

4. Οι αρχηγοί θα πετάξουν στο σπίτι αμέσως μετά το παιχνίδι, φτάνοντας στις 5 π.μ. Κεντρική ώρα για να ξεκινήσουν την περίοδό τους εβδομάδα. Οι κλέφτες θα παραμείνουν στην Πόλη του Μεξικού και θα φύγουν την Τρίτη το πρωί, αρχίζοντας την παραμονή τους την Τρίτη την Παρασκευή. Why; Υπάρχει μια απαγόρευση κυκλοφορίας 12:30 μ.μ. για το τελωνείο στο Διεθνές Αεροδρόμιο του Λος Άντζελες, και οι Rams δεν μπορούσαν να φτάσουν στο σπίτι εγκαίρως για να περάσουν από τα τελωνεία αργά το βράδυ της Δευτέρας.

5. Μεγάλο πλεονέκτημα για κάθε ομάδα να έχει μια εβδομάδα 12 αντίο. Οι δύο ομάδες θα έχουν τα χέρια τους το Σαββατοκύριακο της 25ης Νοεμβρίου, και αν παίρνουν έναν από τους δύο κορυφαίους σπόρους στα πλέι-οφ, θα μπορούσαν καθένα να έχουν ένα άλλο αντίο πέντε εβδομάδες αργότερα. Η Ουάσινγκτον και η Καρολίνα είχαν τα χέρια τους τον Σεπτέμβριο και πιθανότατα δεν θα έχουν καθόλου τα χέρια αν κάνουν τα πλέι-οφ. Ρωτήστε αυτές τις ομάδες για τη διαφορά ανάμεσα σε ένα αντίο στην Εβδομάδα 4 και στην Εβδομάδα 12.

Οι Steelers που τρέχουν πίσω ο Le'Veon Bell πρέπει να αναφέρουν στην ομάδα μέχρι την Τρίτη στις 4 μ.μ. για να εξασφαλίσει ότι θα κερδίσει ένα έτος υπηρεσίας, το οποίο θα του επέτρεπε να είναι ελεύθερος πράκτορας τον Μάρτιο στην ηλικία των 27. Όπως είπε ο Adam Schefter το βράδυ του Σαββάτου, ο Μπελ δεν αναμένεται να αναφέρει, δηλ. δεν θα παίξει ποδόσφαιρο καθόλου το 2018 θα έρθει σε ελεύθερη αντιπροσωπεία τον Μάρτιο με την ελπίδα να φτάσει τα 14,5 εκατομμύρια δολάρια που έχασε δεν παίζοντας κάτω από την ετικέτα franchise το 2018.

Αυτό φαίνεται σαν μια κακή απόφαση για μένα. Υπάρχει αυτή η εξαφάνιση ότι εάν η Bell πάρει συμβόλαιο με εγγυήσεις ύψους τουλάχιστον 45 εκατομμυρίων δολαρίων (και δεν έχω ιδέα ποια ομάδα θα της πληρώσει πόσο, αν υποτεθεί ότι είναι ελεύθερος και αυτό δεν είναι βέβαιο) ότι, επειδή η Steelers ' η τελευταία προσφορά περιελάμβανε ένα εγγυημένο ποσό ύψους 30 εκατομμυρίων δολαρίων, ο Bell θα δικαιολογείται να εγκαταλείψει τα χρήματα του τρέχοντος έτους. Λανθασμένος. Τα περισσότερα εγγυημένα χρήματα στη σύμβαση του Bell θα ήταν πιθανότατα τα πρώτα δύο χρόνια της επόμενης συμφωνίας του. Επειδή μια ομάδα είναι εξαιρετικά απίθανο να υπογράψει έναν άντρα σε ένα γιγαντιαίο συμβόλαιο και στη συνέχεια να τον κόψει μετά από ένα χρόνο, η εγγύηση είναι ως επί το πλείστον τυπική, εκτός αν συμπεριλαμβάνονται τεράστια χρήματα το τρίτο έτος ή μετά. Έτσι, αν η Bell κερδίσει 45 εκατομμύρια δολάρια εγγυημένα και, ας πούμε, 40 εκατομμύρια δολάρια είναι εγγυημένα κατά τα πρώτα δύο χρόνια, κέρδισε πραγματικά παραδίδοντας $ 14,5 εκατομμύρια φέτος; Με άλλο τρόπο: Πόσα χρήματα θα μπορούσε να κάνει το Bell το 2018, το 2019 και το 2020, τα οποία θα ήθελα να κάνω ως τα βασικά του χρόνια (26, 27 και 28 ετών);

Μην παίζετε φέτος: Μηδέν φέτος, συν 45 εκατομμύρια δολάρια τα επόμενα δύο χρόνια. Συνολικά: 45 εκατομμύρια δολάρια, εκτός αν βέβαια ο Bell ήθελε να βρει μια απελπισμένη ομάδα με τεράστιο δωμάτιο (Jets; Colts;) για να πληρώσει υπερβολικά για τον παίκτη και τη θέση.

Παίζοντας με την ετικέτα franchise, τότε να γίνει ελεύθερος πράκτορας το 2019: 14,5 εκατομμύρια δολάρια φέτος, συν 45 εκατομμύρια δολάρια τα επόμενα δύο χρόνια, αν υποτεθεί ότι θα είχε βγει από το έτος αυτό υγιές. (Τα οποία πρέπει να ληφθούν υπόψη) Σύνολο: 59,5 εκατομμύρια δολάρια.

Ο Μπελ θα μπορούσε να υποστηρίξει ότι επειδή είναι ο καλύτερος παραλήπτης στο ποδόσφαιρο, θα πρέπει να πληρώνεται ως δέκτης. Ελαττωματικός. Μέσος όρος βημάτων ανά παιχνίδι NFL: 19,8. Μέσες παραλαβές: 5.0.

Le'Veon Bell. (Getty Images)

Ακόμα κι αν χάσει αυτό το επιχείρημα, η Bell θα υποστηρίξει, είμαι βέβαιος ότι, αν δεν κερδίσει φέτος, θα είναι καλύτερα σε θέση να κάνει αυτά τα χρήματα πίσω το 2021 (29) και πέρα. Ίσως θα το κάνει. Και ίσως μέσα σε τρία χρόνια θα μπορέσει να πει, "Σας το είπα". Θα δείξει στους Adrian Peterson και Frank Gore ως απόδειξη ότι μπορείτε ακόμα να παίξετε παραγωγικά μετά από 30. Αληθινή – αλλά αυτοί οι τύποι παίζουν, βασικά , για το ελάχιστο στις 33 (Peterson) και 35 (Gore) φέτος. Αλλά είναι ένα μεγάλο στοίχημα. Και δεν έχουμε καν μιλήσει για την αγορά για την εκτέλεση backs. Πρέπει μια ομάδα απελπισμένη για μια μεγάλη πλάτη να πληρώσει ένα 18 εκατομμύρια δολάρια ετησίως; Ή απλώς ένα σχέδιο; Το 2017, ο τελικός νικητής του NFL της χρονιάς, Alvin Kamara, ορίστηκε 67ος συνολικά, και ο πρωταθλητής 2033 NFL, Kareem Hunt, πήρε το 86ο σύνολο. Έτσι, υπάρχουν πολλά τυχερά παιχνίδια που γίνονται εδώ.

Δεν είμαι αισιόδοξος για τον Bell. Κάποιος που έχει εμπειρία στη διαπραγμάτευση σημαντικών συμβάσεων NFL, η γνώμη του οποίου εμπιστεύομαι σιωπηρά σε συμβατικά θέματα, μου είπε την Κυριακή: "Δεν μπορεί ποτέ να πάρει πίσω 14,5 εκατομμύρια δολάρια. Δεν μιλάμε μερικά εκατομμύρια. Αυτά είναι μερικά σοβαρά, αλλάζοντα τη ζωή χρήματα ».

Ο Ουάσινγκτον Αμπντ Σμιθ, ο οποίος ήταν συμπαίκτης, για τους κινδύνους να είναι η πρώτη επιλογή στο σχέδιο και για τον Patrick Mahomes:

"Έμαθα ότι έχετε χτυπήσει στην πλάτη για να είσαι καλός συμπαίκτης. Έμαθα να είμαι συμπαίκτης από πολλά διαφορετικά παιδιά τα χρόνια. Όπως ο Shaun Hill. Νομίζω ότι όταν πληγώσαμε νωρίς στην καριέρα μου στο Σαν Φρανσίσκο, ο Shaun έπρεπε να παίζει για να παίξει και βλέποντας τον Shaun να παίζει και να προετοιμάζεται, έμαθα πολλά. Ήμασταν καλοί φίλοι. Είμαστε μαζί μας. Το επόμενο έτος ήταν ένας ανοικτός διαγωνισμός. Ο Shaun και εγώ συναγωνίσαμε άμεσα εναντίον του άλλου για τη δουλειά και θυμάμαι τον Shaun και μιλάμε πολύ για το γεγονός ότι δεν έπρεπε να είναι ο τρόπος που τα μέσα ενημέρωσης προσπαθούσαν να το κάνουν. Δεν έπρεπε να είμαι εγώ εναντίον του. Δεν χρειαζόταν να αναρροφούμε το κλισέ. Αυτό θα μπορούσε να είναι διαφορετικό. Για να μπορέσουμε να ανταγωνιστούμε τα μάτια μας μεταξύ μας και ότι επρόκειτο να πάμε, και ότι τίποτα δεν θα αιμορραγούσε ποτέ στο ντουλάπι. Ποτέ δεν θα υπήρχε υποτιμολόγηση μεταξύ τους.

"Έμαθα πολλά από αυτό όταν ο Niners συνέταξε το Kaep [Colin Kaepernick]. Οι άνθρωποι ήθελαν να το κάνουν γι 'αυτόν εναντίον μου … Τελικά ήρθα στην αντίληψη ότι οι τροχιές μας δεν είχαν τεθεί εναντίον του άλλου. Η τροχιά μου, τι μπορούσα να ελέγξω γι 'αυτό, δεν το επηρέασε. Ήξερα ότι αν έπαιζα ποδόσφαιρο κερδίζω, θα υπήρχε κάποια θέση για μένα κάπου. Αυτό είναι όλο που ανησυχούσα και ήταν καλός συμπαίκτης.

"Έτσι είχα μεγάλη εμπειρία σε αυτό όταν συντάξαμε τον Pat στο Kansas City. Θυμάμαι το πρώτο τηλεφώνημα που είχα ποτέ μαζί του όταν τον συντάξαμε. Είπα αμέσως από το ρόπαλο: «Δεν θα πρέπει ποτέ να ανησυχείς για μένα που ποτέ σου υποτιμάς». Νομίζω ότι τον έβγαλε. Αλλά ήθελα απλώς να το κάνω αυτό πολύ ξεκάθαρο.

Alex Smith. (Getty Images)

"Ήξερα ότι αν έπαιζα νικηφόρο ποδόσφαιρο, θα υπήρχε ένα μέρος για μένα. Πατ και εγώ, κανείς από εμάς δεν το διάλεξε. Κανείς από μας δεν το αποφάσισε. Γιατί θα το βγάλε ποτέ; Δεν θα άφηνα την αφήγηση να έρθει στην αποδυτήρια μας, να έρθει στην αίθουσα QB. Και τότε το άλλο πράγμα ήταν, νιώθω σαν να δείχνετε σεβασμό να έχετε σεβασμό. Ο Pat μπήκε αμέσως και ήταν καλός συμπαίκτης. Γιατί λοιπόν δεν θα ήμουν καλός συμπαίκτης;

"Νιώθω σαν την καριέρα μου και τη ζωή μου … Έμαθα τόσο πολύ από τα πέντε χρόνια μου στην πόλη του Κάνσας με τον Andy Reid. Είμαι για πάντα αλλάξει εξαιτίας αυτού. Ευχαριστημένοι γι 'αυτό. Ο τρόπος που τελείωσε [being traded after two straight opening-game playoff losses], Εξακολουθώ να αισθάνομαι ότι έχω πολλά να αποδείξω.

"Έρχομαι σε μια νέα ομάδα, μια βετεράνος ομάδα, και να προχωρήσουμε στην πτήση όταν τα περισσότερα παιδιά γνωρίζουν το αδίκημα, είναι δύσκολο. Είστε sprinting για να καλύψουν τη διαφορά με όλους τους άλλους. Κάθε Κυριακή, κάθε εβδομάδα προσπαθείτε να βρείτε έναν τρόπο να κερδίσετε. Και στη συνέχεια, ας συνεχίσουμε να κάνουμε βήματα κάθε εβδομάδα. Αυτή η διαδικασία πρέπει να συνεχιστεί κατά τη διάρκεια της σεζόν.

"Ένα από τα πράγματα που έχω μάθει από όλες μου τις εμπειρίες, επιστρέφοντας στην πρώτη επιλογή, είναι πώς πρέπει να συνεχίσετε. Μέρα με τη μέρα. Έχετε ένα κακό παιχνίδι, απλά παίξτε το δρόμο σας μέσα από αυτό. Νομίζω ότι είχα φέρει πολύ βάρος για πολλά χρόνια λόγω του, όμως.

«Είχα πολύ άγχος εδώ και λίγα χρόνια, ειδικά μετά από το πρωτάρητο έτος μου. Έχω σκάψει μια μεγάλη τρύπα. Απλά πολεμάτε με την ετικέτα της προτομής εδώ και πολλά χρόνια.

"Μου πήρε μερικά χρόνια για να ξεπεράσω αυτό το θέμα και να απομακρυνθώ από αυτό. Δεν υπάρχει εύκολος τρόπος. Δεν υπάρχει τίποτα που να μπορεί να σας πει κανείς. Δεν ήταν μέχρι τα χρόνια κάτω από τη γραμμή που είμαι σαν, είμαι ελεύθερος από αυτό τώρα. Μάλλον μου πήρε τέσσερα ή πέντε χρόνια για να ξεπεράσω αυτό και να περάσω από αυτό. Αλλά ναι, μου έτρωγε για αρκετό καιρό ως νεαρός παίκτης. "

Επιθετικοί παίκτες της εβδομάδας

Ο Nick Chubb και ο Μπέικερ Μάϊφιλντ, τρέχοντας πίσω / στρατηγός, Κλήβελαντ. Ο Chubb έδωσε στον Browns λόγο να ασχοληθεί με τον Carlos Hyde με τον Jags πριν από την προθεσμία και τον έδειξε την Κυριακή στο αναισθητοποίησης πάνω από την Ατλάντα. Chubb για το Κλίβελαντ: 20 φέρνει, 176 ναυπηγεία, με ένα γήπεδο touchdown 92 μαρκών. Χάιντ για το Τζάκσονβιλ: τρεις μεταφέρει, πέντε αυλές. Ouch. Ο Mayfield (17 από τις 20, 216 μέτρα, τρία touchdowns, no picks, 151,2 βαθμολογίες) φαίνεται καλύτερα κάθε Κυριακή, και οι σκεπτικιστές για τον σύντομο στρατηγό που πηγαίνει νούμερο ένα συνολικά είναι αρκετά βαθιά στο ξύλο σήμερα το πρωί.

Άντριου Λουκ, στρατηγού, Ινδιανάπολις. Έτσι, αυτό γίνεται πολύ ενδιαφέρον. Τρεις ευθείες νίκες επί του Όουκλαντ, Μπάφαλο και τώρα Τζάκσονβιλ, σημειώνοντας 37, 42 και 29 πόντους, χωρίς να απολύονται, και με ποσοστά ολοκλήρωσης πάνω από 70 τοις εκατό σε κάθε παιχνίδι. Ο Andrew Luck είναι πίσω. Οι Colts είναι 4-5, και εδώ έρχονται οι Τιτάνες στο Lucas Oil την επόμενη Κυριακή.

Ezekiel Elliott, τρέχει πίσω, Ντάλας. Αυτό θα μπορούσε να ήταν και ο Ζακ Μάρτιν, για την υπέροχη φραγή του σε τόσες πολλές απολήξεις στο δεύτερο ημίχρονο όταν έπαιζε με ένα πληγωμένο γόνατο. Όμως ο Elliott ήταν πανέμορφος σε όλη την πορεία, σπεύδοντας για 151 μέτρα και ένα touchdown σε 19 φέρει, και να πιάσει έξι μπάλες για 36 μέτρα και ένα άλλο touchdown. Το Elliott είναι το είδος της σπονδυλικής στήλης που χρειάζονται οι καουμπόηδες για να συνεχίσουν να τρέφονται. Του δίνει την καλύτερη ευκαιρία να πιάσει και να περάσει την ευάλωτη Ουάσιγκτον στο NFC East.

Ματ Μπάρκλεϊ, στρατηγός, Μπάφαλο. Είναι παράξενο να πληκτρολογήσετε αυτές τις λέξεις. "Ματ Μπάρκλεϊ, στρατηγού, Μπάφαλο." Ο Barkley έφυγε. Η καριέρα του στο NFL ήταν καπουτ. Ο μόνος λόγος που ξεκίνησε την Κυριακή ήταν λόγω των τραυματισμών του 1 (Josh Allen) και του 2 (Derek Anderson) και της κακής του 3 (Nathan Peterman). Τα Quarterbacks θα έχουν καλύτερες μέρες από τον Barkley (15 από τις 25, 232 αυλές, δύο TD, μία υποκλοπή), αλλά δεν θα είναι πολλοί που κερδίζουν ένα οδικό παιχνίδι με ένα μέχρι στιγμής απελπιστικό αδίκημα αφού ήταν στην ομάδα για λιγότερο από δύο εβδομάδες.

Ben Roethlisberger, στρατηγός, Πίτσμπουργκ. The Steelers have had an offensive renaissance—without Le’Veon Bell. As has happened for the past 15 seasons, the offense revolved around Roethlisberger in an unexpected rout, 52-21, over the Panthers. With James Connor having a quiet night, Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes to five different receivers and had the first five-touchdown, no-interception, perfect-passer-rating game of his illustrious career. Prettiest throw of the night: his dropped-into-the-bucket piece of perfection to Antonio Brown, which Brown turned into a 53-yard touchdown.

Defensive Players of the Week

Wesley Woodyard, linebacker, Tennessee. Could give this to any number of Titans defenders, who frustrated a very good Patriots offense on Sunday. Woodyard had 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks of Tom Brady, who was under constant pressure from Tennessee. The Titans blitzed early and often, hitting Brady six times and forcing several errant throws. The ultimate hat-tip from the Patriots was when they removed Brady in the fourth quarter to get him out of harms way with the game out of reach.

Chandler Jones, defensive end, Arizona. Good to be out on the road to see players shine who I don’t normally see in person. Jones, who has more sacks than any player in football since opening day 2016 (36.5, to Von Miller’s 32.5), buried Patrick Mahomes twice in the first half at Kansas City. Jones and his mates shattered Mahomes’ year-long sense of security in the pocket with a five-sack day. Jones comes hard every snap, and he can win a bull-rush or beat you wide. Impressive day for an impressive player, even in a loss.

Leighton Vander Esch, linebacker, Dallas. The stat line was very good for the rookie in his 10th NFL game—13 tackles, one interception—but as Cris Collinsworth harped on late in the 27-20 Dallas victory, it was Vander Esch’s tackle of Eagles back Corey Clement, evading two Philly blockers, for a five-yard loss at the two-minute warning that was the key play late in the Dallas win.

Vince Williams, linebacker, Pittsburgh. When the Steelers lost Ryan Shazier with his spinal injury last December, they struggled to replace his sideline-to-sideline impact, and gave up 28 points per game down the stretch. That’s down to 23.2 this year, and Pittsburgh held the explosive Panthers to 21 this week, in part due to the big plays of Williams, one of Shazier’s best friends. Williams returned a Cam Newton interception for a 17-yard touchdown, and on the next series, nailed Newton for an eight-yard sack.

Coach of the Week

Mike Tomlin, coach, Pittsburgh. On the occasion of Tomlin’s 200th game as a Steeler head coach (regular and postseason games included) Thursday night, a 52-21 victory over Carolina, it is worth noting that:

• Tomlin is 6-2-1 while battling the ghost and weekly will-he-show-up-or-won’t-he distraction of Le’Veon Bell, and making sure it doesn’t disrupt his team. It hasn’t.

• Tomlin hasn’t had a losing season in his 11 full seasons as Steeler coach, and Pittsburgh needs only two wins in the last seven games to ensure making that 12-for-12.

• The Steelers, of course, have had three coaches in the last 49 seasons. The winning percentages of each: Chuck Noll .572 (in 366 games), Bill Cowher .619 (in 261 games), Tomlin .656 (in 200 games).

• In regular-season games since 2016, only Bill Belichick has a better record than Tomlin. Belichick is 35-7 since opening day 2016. Tomlin is 30-10-1. Andy Reid is 31-11. No NFC coach has more than 26 wins in that span.

Brian Daboll, offensive coordinator, Bills. Talk about a coach under fire. Daboll’s offense has been south of pathetic. Points scored in the Bills’ four-game losing streak: 33. Points scored Sunday: 41. When you’re in the middle of a crisis, you’ve got to resort to desperate measures, which Daboll did. He designed a pass to left tackle Dion Dawkins, and it worked, going for a 7-yard touchdown, and it actually broke up the route of the Jets. Daboll’s imagination went a long way in this game.

Goat of the Week

Eagles fans, Philadelphia. For booing the Eagles off the field at halftime in Week 10. It hasn’t been the season you’d want in Philly. And you’re losing to the Cowboys, toothlessly, 13-3. But booing the crap out of the team that delivered a stirring Super Bowl win nine months ago? Totally bush league.

New leader in my MVP clubhouse after 10 weeks. The race as I see it:

1. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans. Last week: 2. Apace for a 37-touchdown, two-pick season, and for the best passer rating of all time (123.8), and for the most accurate (.773) season a passer has ever had. Put up 45 and 51 points the last two weeks against winning teams. Saints have won eight straight. I don’t demote Mahomes lightly. He could still win it, as others could too. But it’s beginning to look a lot like Brees’ first MVP year.

2. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City. Last week: 1. A meh game in the 26-14 win over the Cards. Mahomes, in his 10th game, broke the Chiefs’ record for touchdown passes in a season. Might not be an exaggeratioin to say next week’s game against the Rams in Mexico could tilt the MVP race for good. A great game by Mahomes against the best team left on the Chiefs’ schedule will put him right back with Brees, 1 and 1a, for MVP.

3. Philip Rivers, QB, L.A. Chargers. Last week: 4. Joey Bosa hasn’t played a snap and the Chargers are 7-2. QB is the biggest reason.

4. Todd Gurley, RB, L.A. Rams. Last week: 3. He has a touchdown in 13 straight games. That seems good.

5. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh. Last week: Not ranked. MVPs won by the veterans on this list: Brees 0, Rivers 0, Roethlisberger 0. End of the schneid coming?

I

“It canceled out the weed smell we usually get in Oakland.”

—Chargers defensive lineman Corey Liuget, to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, on the strong smell of the California fires wafting into the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday during the Chargers-Raiders game.

II

“That’s what happens when you go cheap. You get your ass kicked.”

—Titans running back Dion Lewis, who the Patriots chose not to re-sign after last season. Tennessee creamed the Patriots 34-10 on Sunday.

I know what quote will be on the Patriots’ whiteboard before the Tennessee-at-New England divisional game in January.

III

“This was a total team breakdown. A Kotitian disgrace.”

—Steve Serby of the New York Post, writing on the Jets’ 41-10 loss to the Bills.

“Kotitian” is one of the best adjectives in NFL history, crafted by one of the best makers of adjectives in NFL media history, Serby. It refers to Rich Kotite, who coached the Jets to a 4-28 record in 1995 and 1996.

IV

“This was a good game, but it wasn’t a perfect game.”

—Saints coach Sean Payton, after the 51-14 road win over the Bengals.

Darn close.

V

“I felt like it was worth it. I thought it would be more. It was a momentum-changer in the game.”

—Tennessee safety Kevin Byard, on the NFL fining him $10,026 for his act of running to the middle of the Cowboys’ home field and dancing on the large star emblem there during the Titans’ win Monday night.

VI

“My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home. He didn’t come home last night, and I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts. I want gun control.”

—Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, the mother of Thousand Oaks murder victim Telemachus Orfanos, one of 12 young people massacred inside a nightclub in California Wednesday night.

I

On Nov. 5, 2007, Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdown passes with zero interceptions, averaging 13.1 yards per attempt in a night game against the Ravens at Heinz Field. The Steelers, winning their sixth game of the year, beat the Ravens by 31 points. Roethlisberger’s passer rating: 158.3.

On Nov. 8, 2018, Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdown passes with zero interceptions, averaging 13.1 yards per attempt in a night game against the Panthers at Heinz Field. The Steelers, winning their sixth game of the year, beat the Panthers by 31 points. Roethlisberger’s passer rating: 158.3.

II

It’s possible that the incompetence of the Buffalo passing game—temporarily derailed Sunday with a quite competent performance by Matt Barkley—could be its own category weekly. Let’s show you the most interesting ones this week:

• In their last 11 games, the Bills have started five quarterbacks (Tyrod Taylor, Josh Allen, Nathan Peterman, Derek Alexander, Matt Barkley). In their last 11 years, the Chargers have started one (Philip Rivers).

• In 2018, 42 quarterbacks have started at least one NFL game. Among those 42 quarterbacks, Buffalo passers are ranked 40th, 41st and 42nd. Allen (61.8), Anderson (56.0) and Peterman (30.7) are those bottom three.

• Matt Barkley’s 12th NFL game was the first in which he had a rating of more than 100. (His rating against the Jets was 117.4.)

• The Bills started Barkley 12 days after signing him. Last month, the Bills started Derek Anderson 12 days after signing him.

Monday, 1:11 p.m., Penn Station subway platform, New York City:

Living in New York City, I find it not particularly odd to see a man in a Superman costume playing the electric violin for money on a subway platform.

Would you believe Mike McGlinchey and Da’Shawn Hand as NFL offensive and defensive rookies of the year?

This week, having just passed the midpoint of the season, I asked Eric Eager of Pro Football Focus, the data-driven analytics firm that contributes to this column weekly, to rate the top 20 rookies in football through midseason. The rating is a combination of three things: impact, level of play, and playing time. (Cleveland running back Nick Chubb is on the list, but not high because he played just 146 of Cleveland’s 670 snaps through nine games.)

The list is heavy on defense, as you’ll see:

1. Da’Shawn Hand, DT, Detroit (114th overall pick). Ninth among all defensive tackles in pass-rush productivity, per PFF.

2. Jessie Bates, S, Cincinnati (54). First-team PFF safety at midseason, allowing just a 21.7 QB rating through eight games.

3. Derwin James, S, L.A. Chargers (17). Four sacks, a pick, 10 QB disruptions. First-day impact on solid D.

4. Darius Leonard, LB, Indianapolis (36). NFL tackles leader through nine weeks (66, per PFF numbers, in just seven games), and a very sure tackler.

5. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Dallas (19). PFF tracks the number of run-stops for every defender, and Vander Esch is fifth in the league in run-stop percentage.

6. Jaire Alexander, CB, Green Bay (18). Five pass breakups, a pick, and allowing a rating of 74.1 in his coverage area.

7. Mike McGlinchey, T, San Francisco (9). Through nine weeks, PFF has him as the league’s best run-blocking tackle.

Baker Mayfield. (Getty Images)

8. Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland (1). The Browns’ MVP, inconsistent on a shaky franchise, has been worth a win above replacement. Big potential.

9. Denzel Ward, CB, Cleveland (4). Though heavily targeted, Ward has allowed a 73.3 rating in his coverage area. Three picks too.

10. Saquon Barkley, RB, N.Y. Giants (2). His line hasn’t helped, but Barkley has powered through it: He’s second in the league with 54 tackles broken.

11. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit (43). We’ve said something similar about 67 backs post-Barry, but Johnson (3.1 yards after first contact) could be the long-term back the Lions have needed for two decades.

12. Taron Johnson, CB, Buffalo (121). Good all-around DB. Has come off the edge for three pressures, and he has two pass breakups and a pick.

13. Justin Reid, S, Houston (68). Morphed into the starter at free safety and played well (two picks, three pressures) after being the Texans’ top pick in a depleted draft last April.

14. D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina (24). Some shaky moments, but he’s been an important piece (164 yards after the catch) to a rising offense.

15. Maurice Hurst, DT, Oakland (140). Lasted till the fifth round because of health concerns, but he’s turned into a building block who is very hard to move.

16. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta (26). Got dinged out of Alabama because of mediocre separation speed, but he’s been a professional, mature-beyond-his-years wideout. Second in NFL with seven TDs

17. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland (35). Added value to the Browns last month, allowing them to deal Carlos Hyde for a fifth-round pick next year. Plus, 49.1 percent of Chubb’s yards have been gained on explosive (15+ yards) runs, third-best among running backs.

18. Michael Dickson, P, Seattle (149). The Aussie has justified the hype. Turned into the league’s fourth-rated punter, and engineered the fake punt of the year, running for a first down deep in his territory in Seattle’s win over Detroit.

19. Tremon Smith, DB, Kansas City (196). PFF’s top-rated return man in the league, and his monster return very nearly lifted the Chiefs over New England.

20. Jason Sanders, K, Miami (229). Missed only two kicks through midseason and produced 35 touchbacks. Great value for a seventh-round investment.

A PFF Elite subscription gives you access to performance metrics the pros use.

How the final two picks of the first round in 2007 spent this past week:

• The 31st overall pick, Greg Olsen, 33, caught four passes and played 45 snaps as a tight end for the Panthers at Pittsburgh.

• The 32nd overall pick, Anthony Gonzalez, 34, a Republican, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, getting 56.8 percent of the vote in Ohio’s 16th District in suburban Cleveland. Gonzalez, a wide receiver, played five NFL seasons for the Colts before retiring in 2012.

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From a couple years ago, but it resurfaced this week. Worth a watch.

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To comment on the column, or to say anything about anything, you can reach me by email.

The heir to Bowles. From Edward S.: “Who would be your top three choices to replace Todd Bowles if he gets fired?”

I’d interview a load of smart young offensive guys—Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, Stanford coach David Shaw, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and Purdue’s Jeff Brohm. May the best man win … if there was one to fall in love with, and he would come.

A schedule idea from Turkey. From Abdullah O., of Konya, Turkey: “I can’t understand the NFL schedule. Why not eliminate divisions? Each team plays one game against every team in its conference and the last game with any team from opposite conference? This way all teams have an almost equal schedule, and playoff teams would be the best six teams in each conference, since there would be no favor for the division leaders.”

Abdullah! Writing all the way from Turkey! Thanks. So I see two problems with your idea. One: Team A from the NFC would play Team B from the AFC once every 16 years. Not sure that’s a good idea—it means, for instance, that the Giants and Jets would play once every 16 years, and that, say, Andrew Luck and Drew Brees, in another era, might never play against each other. The other factor that most teams would lobby to retain is the home-and-away tradition of playing teams in your own division annually. I do like the fact that the playoff system would be cleaner because all 32 teams would have essentially an egalitarian schedule.

1. I think these are my quick-hit thoughts of NFL Week 10:

a. I don’t say this nearly enough: Pro Football Reference is the MVW—Most Valuable Website. I love it. I use it five times a day, and maybe 20 on Sunday nights writing this column. If that was a public company, I’d buy stock in it.

b. Nothing stranger in any NFL game this year: Chicago kicker Cody Parkey hit an upright on two PATs and two field goals against Detroit, missing all four kicks.

c. Hard for even the most ardent Dirk Koetter backers to say he should return in 2019. His fault or not, the Bucs were abysmal in so many ways Sunday against Washington, not the least of which was going scoreless on their first four red zone visits.

d. Just watch this Khalil Mack sack of Matthew Stafford. He owned Lions left tackle Taylor Decker, steamrolling him on the way to Stafford.

e. The win over Detroit was Mitchell Trubisky’s first division win. He lost his first six NFC North starts.

f. The Cardinals are dragging down David Johnson, who led the NFL in scrimmage yards in 2016. He hadn’t rushed for more than 75 yards in a game all season before Sunday’s 98-yard performance in K.C.

g. Raiders have seven sacks in nine games. If there was just some way they could have had a pass rush this year.

h. Ryan Tannehill has missed 24 of the last 29 games for Miami.

i. Logan Ryan sacking Tom Brady on the last play of the first half. Now that must have felt weird … for both.

j. Chiefs/Saints 96, Bengals 24.

k. Same old Bengals. Imagine your defense κατά μέσο όρο 12 points allowed per quarter over two games. Yikes. And they’ve allowed more than 500 yards three games in a row. Grim times in Bengaldom.

l. Seattle defensive tackle Jarran Reed is going to be thinking about that dropped pick deep in Seahawk territory, down two points in the fourth quarter, for a while.

m. Seattle’s Rashaad Penny finally justified his draft status with a productive game at L.A., including a 38-yard run and an 18-yard TD run.

n. Andrew Whitworth is one of the best free-agent signings ever.

o. I mean that about the Rams left tackle, signed from Cincinnati last year. It’s not hyperbole. A month shy of turning 37, Whitworth is a road-grader at a position that’s vital in today’s game, and he’s turned into the kind of leader every team longs for.

p. Ndamukong Suh is still a huge factor, even if Aaron Donald sucks all the defensive attention (rightfully so) out of the Ram room.

q. Not saying Cam Heyward gets no respect, because he clearly gets some. But he is a major factor in every game for Pittsburgh.

r. Is lowering the helmet and contacting an opponent even a penalty anymore?

s. Aaron Jones (15 carries, 145 yards) is just what Aaron Rodgers needs to take some of the heat off him. Jones will be needed in a big way Thursday night in Seattle for Green Bay.

t. Regarding the Eric Reid ejection: It was borderline, but I thought he deserved it. The game doesn’t need 220-pound human projectiles flying through the air, uncertain where the tip of the projectile will contact the runner. If the NFL is going to exist well into the future, that’s the kind of play that should not be in the game.

u. Losing by 31 to anyone is not a good thing. (Surprise!) But Carolina is 6-3, and I’d still give the Panthers an inside track at a playoff spot in the NFC. Next four games: at 3-6 Detroit, 4-5 Seattle at home, at 3-6 Tampa Bay, at 3-6-1 Cleveland.

v. NFL players need to be as vocal as NBA players about supporting gun reform in America.

2. I think this is a vital time in the young reign of Matt Patricia in Detroit. His team is hurt. His team stinks. (Lions were down 26-0 Sunday in Chicago.) They’ve surrendered 16 sacks in the last two games. Matthew Stafford doesn’t have a chance. Now, beginning next Sunday, they’ve got three playoff contenders in a 15-day span—Carolina, Chicago and the Rams. All three are at home, but the way the Lions are playing, it could soon turn into a home-field disadvantage if the crowd turns on them. Big challenge for Patricia midway through his rookie year.

3. I think in the span of two hours, Dante Fowler Jr., went from goat to semi-hero in Los Angeles. He gave the Seahawks new life with two awful penalties early, then sealed the Rams win with a strip-sack of Russell Wilson, leading to the needed insurance touchdown. That’s going to turn out to be a smart trade by the Rams—and Fowler is going to be an important part of the Rams’ chances next Monday against the Chiefs.

4. I think Tennessee’s going to be in the pennant race in late December, for one important reason an NFL GM enunciated for me the other day: “Playing against them makes your offense feel like it’s playing in quicksand. Just hard to get anything going consistently against them.” New England had won six straight. The Pats had scored an average of 35.5 points a game in that streak. And Tennessee’s front just throttled the Patriots, who had zero points in their last nine possessions. For a Josh McDaniels/Tom Brady offense, that’s borderline unprecedented.

5. I think it’s hard to envision anyone beating out Aaron Donald (10 games, 12 sacks, rushing from all over the Ram front) for his second straight Defensive Player of the Year award.

6. I think I like Brandon Marshall to the Saints a lot—if that’s what happens in the wake of Dez Bryant‘s unfortunate Achilles tear in his first practice in New Orleans last week. The 6-foot-5 Marshall, given 15 snaps a game, will be the kind of jump-ball-winning weapon Drew Brees would use wisely every week. For the Saints’ sake, I hope it happens.

7. I think this is my weekly advice to Jerry Jones: Stop storming toward an extension for Dak Prescott. Not yet. Great guy, great teammate … average-at-best QB for the last 1.5 years. Περιμένετε. You want him to be the future; anyone who roots for the Cowboys is rooting like crazy for him to be the future. But you can’t be sure he is, yet.

8. I think I’m pretty sure Jerry Jones is not listening to my weekly advice.

9. I think I’m not too fired up about Aaron Rodgers’ completion percentage hovering around 60 percent. (It was a career-low 61.1 percent after nine games.) Why? He is on pace to set a yardage record (he has never thrown for 5,000 yards, and he was apace for 5,084 entering Sunday’s game against Miami), and his TD-to-pick ratio was 15-to-1. Plus, his yards-per-attempt was 7.8; it hasn’t been higher in a season since 2014. He’s been playing with a patchwork receiver corps, and with a strained knee. I don’t think it’s time to worry about Rodgers.

10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:

a. Heartbroken for the California shooting victims, and continue to be heartbroken, too, for the tens of thousands fleeing the fires there. Amazing that people as far north as San Francisco were being told to stay indoors over the weekend because of unhealthy levels of smoke and particulates in the air—from hundreds of miles away.

b. Kudos to the Los Angeles Times for its expansive coverage of the murders at the country bar, and the fires. Two stories, either of which could be the California story of the year, happening within 36 hours, and the paper of record came through with strong work. Read the paper’s excellent blog on the fire and the fire-fighting efforts.

c. Writer Liam Dillon, on the scene at a church where many of the evacuees have temporarily settled, writes this tough scene:

Standing next to his white truck in the church parking lot, Markham Odell recalled escaping from his property along the Feather River Canyon in Paradise on Thursday morning. The sky, Odell said, became as black as midnight at 9:30 a.m. and as he was preparing to leave, a dead bird fell out of the sky and hit him in the shoulder . He felt overwhelming heat from the fire.

“I’m 61,” Odell said. “I’ve never panicked at any time in my life. But I felt it start to come.”

Odell, a prospector who works in Nevada, has lived on his property since 1987. A friend of the family sent him a photo after the fire came through. His home, greenhouse, barn and shed where he kept his tools were gone. “We’re homeless,” he said. “Most of our friends are homeless. Our family also.”

d. Op-ed of the Week: From the widow of Pat Tillman, on protesting NFL players, and people who would try to divine Pat Tillman’s thoughts about the actions of today’s players.

e. From Marie Tillman: “Patriotism is complex, like Pat himself. It is not blind or unquestioning. And it’s a fool’s errand to argue over who’s allowed to claim sacrifice. Many of the kneeling athletes say they are protesting as American patriots who want the nation to be better than it is. When I look around at the vitriol aimed at them for expressing their beliefs, and at the compulsion to simplify complicated issues to pit people on opposing sides, I want to kneel, too.”

f. I stand with Jim Acosta of CNN, April Ryan of American Urban Radio, Yamiche Alcindor of PBS, Abby Phillip of CNN, Peter Alexander of NBC and those doing the citizens’ work of asking questions—and countering false claims when need be—at the White House.

g. The pushback from those (including scores on Twitter when I posted similar thoughts after the president demeaned reporters at a White House news briefing) who support the president will not go away. All are entitled to their opinion in this country. But ragers on social media and at political rallies can’t and won’t prevent reporters from doing what reporters have done for decades: question authority, investigate what needs to be investigated, and act as the collective watchdog for the citizenry. It’s a part of the Constitution.

h. If there’d been Twitter in 1973, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein would have felt the ire of the Nixon-right-or-wrong crowd as bad as, or worse than, Jim Acosta’s feeling it now. There’s something Woodward and Bernstein can be thankful.

i. Story of the Week: by Stephanie Carnes, a clinical social worker in upstate New York who has worked with Central American immigrant students, for Huffington Post, on the goals of those in the caravans surging north from central America. Stark, and real.

j. Sports Column of the Week: I don’t agree with much of this piece by Greg Cote of the Miami Herald, but I admire him a lot for writing against the grain and making some good points about the relentlessly slammed Bill James opinion the other day that all athletes are replaceable.

k. Food for thought, for sure. But my point is this: Sure the Red Sox or the Packers or the Warriors or the Canadiens would continue to field their teams if every player on their teams suddenly walked away or left in free-agency, and they had to invent new teams tomorrow. But it’s a foolish premise. Teams change all the time. But it’s a particularly demeaning thing to say that the franchise is more important than the players, and it’s just dumb. There are no teams without players, and no players without teams. So what’s the point in arguing either side?

l. Bob Gibson turned 83 the other day. Bet he can still throw 85. After warming up, that is.

m. Coffeenerdness: Best hotel Starbucks in America: the expansive lobby location in the Sheraton in downtown Seattle. Not only is the workspace desirable (long, spacious bar with power at every seat), but in the evening there are six beer choices, six wine choices and two cider choices. I believe if the stools were 20 percent more comfortable, I could live there.

n. Hey Nick Ahmed! Congrats on the Gold Glove!

o. Bryce Harper probably could hit 45 homers a year playing for the Yankees, 35 to 38 playing in most other parks. I suppose everybody should be lusting over trying to get him, but he’s got a little too much Giancarlo Stanton in him for my taste. Last season showed he can have some serious dry spells.

p. Manny Machado is great. Truly. But he scares me for other reasons. Not running hard too often, those suspect “accidents” on first-base bags.

q. You’re talking about paying those guys $30 million to $37 million a year, I assume. Seems overly risky to me, but I’m sure they’ll get it somewhere.

r. Seattle to Kansas City, nonstop, Alaska Airlines, 9:50 a.m. Saturday. Mimosas ordered by my seatmate in first 105 minutes of the flight: six. Waking minutes in last 100 minutes of the flight: zero.

s. I haven’t caught on to that morning drinking thing. Maybe one day.

t. On the same flight, I lost count how many times the woman in the row behind us sing-songed to her teacup Yorkie: “Do you wanna see Grandpa? You’re going to see Grandpa!”

u. Yes you are!

v. Good boy!

w. I am thinking seriously of emptying out both of my email mailboxes. I mean, going down to zero in each, and then purging them daily. Whatever I miss, I miss. Something freeing about that thought. Anyone ever done that? And just starting from scratch?

San Francisco 27, New York Giants 12. The Legend of Nick Mullens grows. And on the other side, for the second straight year, the Bay Area swallows Eli Manning. Last year, it was the (correct) Ben McAdoo benching in Oakland. This year, in Santa Clara, Manning could be making his last start for a while, or ever, in blue. If Pat Shurmur doesn’t see competence out of his offense tonight, the Eli Watch will be on.

Today, Tuesday … Pittsburgh. Le’Veon Bell watch in Pittsburgh.

Tuesday … Tampa. Happy 55th birthday, Vinny Testaverde. That happened suddenly.

Thursday … Seattle. FOX lessened the potential quality of its Sunday doubleheader games this year by letting the league schedule a stronger slate of Thursday games. Last week: Carolina at Pittsburgh. This week: Green Bay at Seattle. Rodgers-Wilson should be fun … if both teams enter remotely healthy. Rough turnaround for the Pack, from Sunday afternoon to a 1,900-mile Wednesday flight and a Thursday game in the Thunderdome, particularly after trips to Los Angeles and Foxboro in the last 16 days. It is downright odd that, through mid-November, the Packers do not have a road win this season.

Saturday … Indianapolis. Happy 40th birthday, Reggie Wayne.

About Le’Veon …
Covered out the wazoo. Just
wake me when he plays.


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