Trey SZN is over before it even started.
The San Francisco 49ers traded the 12th pick in the 2021 draft, their 2022 first and third and their 2023 first to the Dolphins for the third overall pick in the 2021 draft so they could take their guy, Trey Lance. Lance was a quarterback from North Dakota State with only 208 passing attempts in his college career. He was a combine darling and the Niners thought he was worth mortgaging the future. So, they took him at three hoping for the best.
Thus far, they’ve not gotten the best. With incumbent starter Jimmy Garappolo running an efficient offense that he had taken to an NFC championship and even the Super Bowl previously, there was no need to rush Trey along, so the quarterback got a redshirt season. Jimmy took the team all the way to the NFC Championship game yet again and was one dropped interception away from a trip to the big show.
So, what to do with Trey is the question the Niners were asking themselves. They wanted to, even needed to move on to him to justify not having a first round pick until 2024. They made a clear succession plan from Jimmy after the end of last season and were going to move him somewhere to give him a chance to start. The issue became who would trade for him? The Niners fielded some offers but nothing they considered realistic. Jimmy had offseason surgery on his throwing shoulder which made it even harder to trade him as teams wanted to see what he looked like coming out of it, and most of the teams needing QBs had already shored up the position before he was ready to go.
So what to do with Jimmy? There was no longer any trade market for him, but the Niners didn’t want to release him. He was due a huuuuuge amount of money in the last season of his giant contract he signed in the beginning of his tenure with the team. No team in their right mind would have a backup paid that kind of money (except the Browns).
Since he wasn’t going anywhere, they worked out a restructured deal. The Niners got an excellent back-up who had taken them deep into the playoffs three times, and were still going to be able to run out the fresh faced kid with the untapped potential.
Week 1 comes around and Trey does not play well. The conditions for the first game of the season were anything less than optimal. Puddles, sideways rain, Soldier Field… all things that could bring down the most experienced quarterback from time to time, much less an unproven quarterback with his first shot at quieting the nay-sayers. Neither team played well, but the Bears did enough to win on the sloppy September day.
Fast forward a week. Trey SZN was ready to pop. First home game of the season against the hated division rival Seahawks. This was his shot to show everyone exactly what he was drafted to do. He made it to his second drive before blowing up his ankle. A tendon injury. An ankle fracture. Trey is on the shelf for 2022 was the news before the game was even over.
So now it’s Jimmy’s team….again. He showed that he was more than capable, leading the Niners to a win despite only taking back up reps all season. Something about having years of in game experience with the rest of the team and doing big things made this not so much of a surprise as an eventuality. Instead of Trey looking over his shoulder all season long, it’s Jimmy looking over the dashboard. We all know what the Niners are going to be now. A team that wins on not turning the ball over, grinding and defense.
While No. 1 running back Elijah Mitchell was lost early in Week 1, that’s a position the Niners are used to having back ups playing. The quarterback spot is not one. But this is no ordinary back up.
Without further ado…onto the News or Noise!
Cooper Rush Will Be Undefeated When Dak Comes Back
Despite Jerry Jones hoping for a quarterback controversy upon Dak’s return, I’m going to call this noise.
As I talked about last week, Dak is going to be out for several weeks. The odds of them going undefeated even with Dak in the pocket are slim. While Rush is undefeated in the NFL at the moment, I just can’t see it lasting. It took a 50 yard field goal last week to pull the win out of the fire. Granted Rush put them in the position to be able to kick the long field goal, but still.
Rush was 19-for-31 for 235 yards and a touchdown. He only gave up one sack, which is good for a young quarterback. He’s not just rushing through progressions but taking care of himself and the ball. And he’s getting first team snaps now so he will be even more ready for games as the weeks go on.
We can also go on precedent. Tony Romo was a Pro Bowl quarterback with Dak at his back. Romo went down with an injury, and Dak managed to run out 11 wins in a row and never looked back. Romo was out a significant period of time and the Cowboys are hoping Dak’s stay on the sideline is much more abbreviated, so that contributed to the handoff of the reins (pun intended).
Having said all that, Rush is a seventh round pick out of Central Michigan that was not spectacular while he was there. He carries a 3-0 record into the week three matchup against the Giants, a very winnable game, and next week is the Commanders which also gives the Cowboys a leg up. The following week however is where the train might not leave the station.
The Los Angeles Rams looked bad in Week 1. They were going against the juggernaut that has been built in Buffalo so it wasn’t entirely on them. Especially since Von Miller spent more time in their backfield than he did in the box for the Rams the year prior. They didn’t impress much against the Falcons in their week two match up either. McVay will get them moving in the right direction eventually, and against Cooper and the Cowboys may be their week to do it.
I guess the question to this is how long will Dak really be out. If he comes back in time for the Rams game, there’s a reasonable chance that Rush and crew can pick up a couple wins between now and then. I don’t think Dak gets back that soon, and at some point the shine is going to come off. I think that some point will be sooner than later.
The Dolphins Are Going To Beat The Bills This Weekend
If you would have told me this last weekend, I’d have laughed at you. Today, I’m going noise but I’m not exactly laughing.
The Bills have thus far demolished their opponents to the tune of 72-17. They destroyed the Rams in Week 1 showing that the prognosticators were on target with their Super Bowl predictions for the team. Granted, the Rams didn’t look all that good the following week against the lowly Falcons, and the Titans appear to be washed. The Bills are still putting it down, regardless of the competition. It’s like they’re an SEC team paying a JUCO team to come get beat up as a warm up game in the beginning of the season.
This isn’t the Bills fault. They’re just better than everyone else at offense. And defense. Probably special teams too. Maybe it is the Bills fault. Even so, they can only expect so much to go right for so long.
Enter Week 3. They’re playing the division rival Dolphins at their house. The Bills offense should still be humming, but they could have some problems on defense. The first problems are Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Those guys are both freaks and require lockdown defense to keep them from having breakout games every week.
The other problem is injuries. The Bills are down three starting defenders already and we aren’t even to the final injury report. With defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, Ed Oliver, cornerback Dane Jackson and safety Micah Hyde out, they have some big holes to fill.
Typically a next man up approach would be the answer, but the next men up are also banged up. Safety Jordan Poyer is dealing with a foot injury, and you can’t be out there hurting and hope to contain the Dolphins’ duo. Defensive tackle Tim Settle are also questionable with leg injuries as well. That’s potentially three linemen and three coverage guys not playing.
While the Bills insane offense has me keeping this as a noise, the top three players in receiving yards are all in this game and two are coming off the Dolphins’ sideline. Tua is going to be out there slinging to try to keep up, and if there is a blown coverage or two, the game could be very interesting.
I’m still taking the Bills at -5.5 on the day, but my confidence level has gone down a bit. I could see this game being a surprise upset. Not going to put my money on it going that way, but the potential is there.
Sean Payton Will Be Coaching Again Next Season
I think this one is news.
Payton is regarded as one of the premier coaches in and around the NFL right now. If it was as simple as a bidding war for him, at least half the teams in the league would be sniffing around. He even got the Dolphins penalized for having some return to coaching talks this offseason, as he is still under contract with the Saints through 2023.
But that showed he is willing to take an interview. He has publicly said he missed coaching and is feeling refreshed from the grind since he stepped down at the end of last season. The love for the game is still there, as can be evidenced when listening to him in his role as an analyst for FOX.
I guess the biggest things against him coming back are the Saints contract situation and that he wants a team with a perfect fit. The Saints aren’t going to let him go to another team without some serious compensation, whether it is in the form of players and or draft picks. This would in turn drain the resources at his disposal to build a perennial contender and make wherever he ends up slightly less attractive. The perfect fit will be an issue because most teams that Payton would want to walk into already have good coaches that are making the best of their opportunities.
I still think someone comes along and throws him a bone too big to ignore. Head coaches are replaceable. Everyone is replaceable. But it’s not often you can replace a guy with a coach like Payton. Look for the rumors to circulate as the season goes on, and for something to pop up towards the end of the season or early offseason. Payton will be coaching in 2023. It’s just a matter of where at this point.
The Indianapolis Colts Will Win The AFC South
Prior to the beginning of the season, if I would have said noise, I’d have gotten cancelled. Right now? I’m going noise and I’ don’t think I’m the only one thinking this way.
The Colts have looked bad, like real bad. They’ve scored the least amount of points in the division. They’ve given up the second most (mainly because the Titans just had around 700 dropped on them by the Bills). The thing is, the Colts have played two division rivals who they were supposed to walk all over this year.
They looked bad pulling a tie with a Texans team that was supposed to be a top five draft pick team. Then They got shut out by an upstart Jags team 24-0 that didn’t look particularly sharp in their Week 1 loss to the Washington Football Team (Never giving that one up). The offense has dealt with some injuries, but Parris Campbell has stayed healthy so it can’t be that bad. The defense has been unable to get the stops they need to make an impact on the game. They just don’t look good.
I know this is probably an overreaction on my part, but I don’t see them getting that much better as the season goes on. They’re supposed to have taken a step forward getting Matt Ryan and trading Carson Wentz to the Football Team. Wentz has been playing lights out in Washington, and Ryan looks washed. Makes you think last season might have had something to do with the coaching.
Wentz was able to lead the team to a 9-8 record and beat teams like the 49ers, the Bills, the Pats and the Cardinals. They won the games they were supposed to and some they weren’t. The only loss they had that was a head scratcher was Week 18 when they played themselves out of the playoffs , losing 11-26 to the Jags. They lost two games in OT. Other than game one and game 17, they did not have a double digit loss.
This year, the Texans team that they outscored 62-3 in 2021 was able to pull out a tie. They got shut out by a Jacksonville team on the upswing. They now take on the Chiefs and will probably sit at 0-3. They’ve got big games against the Broncos, New England, Vegas, Philly, Dallas, Minnesota and the Chargers. They probably will go into all of those games as the underdog. It’s not looking good.
So who is going to win it? There’s a 33 percent chance you’ll get the answer right. The Titans could figure it out. The Jags could keep developing and maybe even make a midseason move to pick up a defensive stud to take them to the top. Even the Texans could blow everyone’s mind. Maybe not the Texans one, but flip a coin on the other guys.
I don’t know who’s going to win the AFC South, but I do know it won’t be the Colts.
Both Lamar Jackson And Jalen Hurts Finish Over 1,000 Rushing Yards
I’m almost feeling like I’m jinxing myself by saying news.
Both Hurts and Jackson are averaging over 43 yards per game on the ground. 43 per game would bring them to 765 for the season. I don’t think either of these guys has hit their stride. 57 yards a game would take them to the 1,000 yard mark.
Jalen Hurts is averaging a staggering 14 rushes per game. He’s gaining 5.3 yards per rush. That’s basically what you would expect from a running back in a true time share. Lamar Jackson is averaging 7.5 rushes per game, but at an astounding 9.1 per tote. Hurts has three rushing TDs to Lamar’s one.
It only takes one defensive misstep for either of these guys to make you pay. Their vision in the running lanes and a plethora of elusive moves makes either of these guys able to hit 1,000 yards. Lamar has already done it twice and in 16 game seasons. Hurts is only in his third year and has been growing into the signal caller that the Eagles were hoping for when they drafted him. Lamar is a juke stick. Hurts is a volume machine and can dole out contact of his own.
Both Lamar and Jalen leave it all out on the field in every rushing attempt so there’s a higher injury risk than with some quarterbacks. I think injury is the only thing that could stop them from a 1,000 yard rushing season. Hopefully both guys stay healthy and hit the mark. No matter what happens, it’s going to be fun to watch them try.
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