Full10Takeaways – Week 5

By Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland) and Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y)

Ouch!

Image Credit – Joe Sargeant / Getty Images

You could be excused for confusing the NFL redzone coverage on Sunday for an episode of casualty. Several times the electric cart was brought out onto an NFL field on Sunday as what was a day that several players saw their season come to an abrupt end.

2 of the more notable season ending ones were Colts 2nd year pass rusher Kemoko Turray, who broke his ankle in SNF. Tony Jefferson tore his ACL earlier in the day to leave a big hole in the Ravens secondary. Several players left games with varying injuries throughout the day but the scariest of the lot though without doubt was Mason Rudolph lying unconscious on the Heinz Field turf. It certainly wasn’t the worst hit you will ever see but a combination of Brandon Carr from behind and an Earl Thomas helmet to the chin had the young QB out cold.

Thankfully he regained consciousness and walked from the field which was lucky as the electric cart broke!


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16 Weeks on the Road?

Image Credit – Harry How / Getty Images

Talking of injuries, thats a nice link to arguably the most unlucky team in football the LA Chargers.

A team that seemingly gets a bigger slice of the injury pie than anyone else, actually welcomed back a player this week, as Melvin Gordon saw the field. He however was part of a predictable and conservative gameplan which was too much dink and not enough dunk. On a day that Austin Ekeler caught a career high 15 passes the Chargers couldn’t get anything going consistently offensively, as Vic Fangio tasted success for the first time in his short head coach career.

Its unsurprising that this brand of football isn’t attracting fans into watch the franchise as the move from San Diego continues to look like a mistake as the Broncos fans hugely outnumbered the fans of the supposed “home” team.


Texans Feast on Falcons

Image Credit – Troy Taorimina / USA Today Sports

DeShaun Watson is good.

DeShaun Watson when not getting pressured is superb, and that was the case on Sunday as the Texans dropped a 50 burger on the Falcons. A career high 426 yards through the air was accompanied by 5 touchdown passes and a further 47 yards rushing. His main weapon on the day was Will Fuller who caught 14 balls for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Atlanta battled and had the deficit at a 1 possession game for much of the contest but the takeaway here isn’t so much how good Watson and co were offensively but just how bad this Atlanta defense is.

Tim wrote last week about Dan Quinn and his seat getting warmer, displays by the side of the ball he is supposed to be stronger in will do nothing to turn the temperature down a few degrees.


High, Wide and Not Handsome

Image Credit – James Kenney / AP Photo

Cairo Santos, dear oh dear oh dear. In a game that was the most obvious candidate ever to be decided by a small margin, it wasn’t a good night for the Titans kicker to suffer a disastrous tilt.

He left a total of 12 points off the board with field goal misses from 50, 36, 32 and 53 yards away. Missing kicks, especially from 50 plus yards is obviously not uncommon, but Santos was closer to threatening supporters sitting behind the posts as opposed to the kicking net as he kicks were way off throughout.

A strange decision by Mike Vrabel to even attempt the 53 yarder when down by 7 points and under 7 minutes left in what had proven to be the defensive slugfest that we had predicted.

Maybe he will find himself as a member of Jason Garret corner on this week’s podcast?


Super Ted

Image Credit – David Grunfeld / nola.com

Ladies and gentlemen, Teddy Bridgewater can still throw!

For the first time in nearly 4 years the signal caller threw for over 200 yards as he powered the Saints to a dominant divisional win over the Bucs. 4 touchdown passes also found the box score as on the day Teddy remembered how to air it out, Michael Thomas remembered how to dominate on the outside. He was a perfect 9/9 when lined up against press coverage on a day when the Bucs star receiver Mike Evans was held catchless.

The post game interview with Teddy was a reminder of just how far he has come since suffering what many thought to be a career ending injury. He couldn’t tie his shoelaces and now he has steadied the Saints in Drew Brees absence, a remarkable turnaround.


Tottenham triumph 

Image result for white hart lane nfl
Image credit: Pitchcare.com

All the hype about the shiny new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is 101% justified. The stadium is situated right on the Tottenham High Road opposite some local shops such as bookies and kebab outlets.

Fans took full advantage of the road being closed, throwing balls and gathering en-mass to play NFL jersey bingo. Any fans wanting to buy any merch can expect to queue up as the store has security arches. Inside the stadium the views are awesome wherever you are sitting, and the experience is full immersive. The three rings of digital information screens, along with jumbo screens in all four corners mean you will never miss a highlight, a replay or a challenge. The sound is quality and the lights are stunning.

Fans were treated to some pyrotechnics around the roof’s inner ring on Sunday which is something you simply have to be in the stadium to experience. If the NFL plan to lure an existing team to London it won’t be a hard sell on the stadium.

England captain and World-Cup golden boot winner Harry Kane was a guest of honour on Sunday and he looked like he had a whale of a time. If he does decide to one day transition to an NFL kicker, what’s the odds that he doesn’t even need to change his parking pass? 


You’d be crackers not to like Jacobs 

Image Credit: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

As the top drafted rookie running back on a team in transition with a new (returning) head coach you could excuse the output to less than impressive for the Oakland Raiders Josh Jacobs. Thing is Jacobs is absorbing that pressure like a seasoned veteran.

Jacobs was voted the Tottenham game ‘man of the match’ winner even before he went airborne for the game winning score. Jacobs has been a number one back all season and is easily justifying his high pick position.

After five weeks he is 6th in the league in rushing with 430 yards and four scores. Jacobs picked up the hard yards in London both rushing and receiving, and arguably could have had three scores. Backup RB Deandre Washington was a TD vulture.

Jacobs would not be achieving such positive results without two key factors being delivered – his ability to pass block when called upon and the play of the Raiders offensive line. Khalil Mack flew home with a Union Jack fridge magnet, a six inch Beefeater and a jar of Marmite but had no sack to put them in. 


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Redskins change the locks 

Image Credit: Nick Wass/AP

Jay Gruden, when asked by the media on Sunday, after the Washington Redskins fifth consecutive loss, about his job security he said that he would carry on if his key still worked.

That was enough for owner Dan Snyder and GM Bruce Allen to dial up a locksmith and get a shiny new Chubb installed at the gates of Fed-Ex Field (no Browns fans they did not trade for Nick).

This was the most obvious firing and was inevitable after Tom Brady, in second gear, helped himself to an easy victory against a Redskins team that atrocious to say the least. Gruden was unable to overcome major injuries to stars, failed to develop and true WR talent and had zero playoff wins in his tenure.

New ‘interim’ Head Coach Bill Callahan led the Raiders to s Super Bowl in 2001, and is a true advocate of a strong running game. Gruden seemingly banged nails in his own coffin when he deactivated future Hall of Fame RB Adrian Peterson in Week 1. Trent Williams the All-Pro T is the last remaining holdout, and the defence has been as porous as Sponge Bob Square Pants.

In fact Spongebob would probably be an upgrade in the secondary.  

Offensive Line Rankings

By Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y) & Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y)

Keep your quarterback upright and make huge holes upfront for your running back to waltz through, sounds easy doesn’t it? Well some teams make it look easy, whilst others seem to be more of a hindrance than a helping hand. The causal NFL fan will probably be able to name the likes of Tom Brady, OBJ and JJ Watt when they get asked to name an NFL star but the fanatics will tell you that an NFL game is won in the trenches. These guys don’t often get a lot of publicity but they have arguably the most important job of them all. Without further ado let’s have a look at where we rank the offensive lines heading into 2019. All stats taken from https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/ol.

The Revolving Doors

Good luck if you are playing behind any of these units in 2019. Expect plenty of photos of a quarterback eating the turf or a running back buried for a 5 yard loss if they are relying on these guys to help them out.

Houston Texans

DeShaun Watson was sacked 63 times last season! No surprise then that the Texans added lineman in both the 1st and 2nd round of the draft. Tytus Howard the Silver medal to Andre Dillard. They were unsurprisingly 32nd ranked according to Pro Football Outsiders in Pass Protection. The only way is up for a team who had an adjusted sack rate of over 11%. Yikes. Better order that bus for Watson to Jacksonville….oh wait, make that a boat.

Miami Dolphins

Laremy Tunsil is a star, the rest of the line…..not so much. This will be a rebuilding project in South Florida, be patient Dolphins fans. The Dolphins were 31st ranked in adjusted pass protection from Pro Football Outsiders and 1 of 4 teams to have an adjusted sack % of over 10%. Josh Rosen wanted to get away from crappy O Line play when he left Arizona. At least he has experience of it.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have never replaced Andrew Whitworth or Kevin Zeitler, they tried to by spending a 1st round pick on Jonah Williams but he will miss the campaign with injury. It never rains but pours, doesn’t it?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

43 quarterback hits and 68 knockdowns a year ago tell you this line has issues and it hasn’t been upgraded. Still, a below average defence may keep them off the field…ha, I just chuckled at that.

Might Need Reinforcements

These offensive lines have the potential to harm their teams in 2019. Plenty of question marks linger here and depth is often lacking

Cleveland Browns

Easily the teams biggest question mark (outside of kicker) it is a surprise with such investment in skill positions the Browns lack any real depth here. Actually ranked 32nd in Power run plays according the Pro Football Outsiders (PFO, i cant be bothered to keep writing that). 

Arizona Cardinals

Quick fire passing should help but this unit needs to bounce back from an awful campaign. Veteran additions should help get it back to respectability. Getting the ball out quicker relieves the pressure on Murray, though his mobility may run him in to trouble more often than not…

Buffalo Bills

Plenty of veterans on team friendly deals isn’t the usual way to build a line but that’s the way the Bills are going.Can these old pros all last the rigour of another season? There’s enough running backs, maybe they’ll employ one as a FB.

Minnesota Vikings

Similar story to the Browns, plenty of skill and maybe not enough brute strength and ugliness up front. Garrett Bradbury was classified by most as the drafts best center however on a positive note.

Seattle Seahawks

A run heavy offence has a strong looking left side of the line, although the level of pass blocking ability is questionable. The right hand side of the unit is a concern also. Darrell Bevel leaving for the Lions has to be a small concern too. 

LA Chargers

Another team where the run blocking is much better than the pass blocking. Add in the uncertainty about Russel Okung and Melvin Gordon and it’s not a good combination. Middle of the road rankings in Pass Protection, Power run play effectiveness and adjusted sack rate, which may surprise some.

Detroit Lions

This group struggled over the last half of 2018. Moving Frank Ragnow back to center would seem like a wise move but tackles Decker and Wagner need to add consistency. As noted with the Seahawks, they’ll have Darrell Bevell coming over and this guy can coach offensive lines.

New York Jets

A respectable job against the pass last year but questionable free agent additions, particularly Ryan Kalil don’t provide huge confidence of an upgrade. This team ranked dead last in total offensive line rank according to PFO, LeVeon Bell must be loving that.

Fairly Stable

By no means the worst bunches but certainly no better than middle of the road. These groups will get the job done but there are weaknesses to be exploited by the opposition.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Injuries ravaged this unit last year so better luck in 2019 plus the addition of Jawaan Taylor in the 2nd round should see Nick Foles have a decent line in front of him.

Denver Broncos

Bolles and Risner should form a nice left side tandem for years to come. Possibly overpaid Ja’Waun James but he is decent at right tackle.

Washington Redskins

This ranking should possibly lower given the Trent Williams situation. There is plenty of individual talent if the group can steer clear of injuries, but that’s why Trent Williams is not currently in the building.

Carolina Panthers

An excellent interior with the signing of Matt Paradis possibly being undervalued. Look for Cam to limit his rushing and the line to deliver consistently clean pockets. With the way Cam is going, he can’t take too many more hits like he did with TJ Watt last year.

Tennessee Titans

I love the tackle duo of Conklin and Lewan and Roger Saffold is a nice addition from the Rams. Look for big numbers from Derrick Henry on the ground behind this group. Bear in mind, Lewan is suspended for the first 4 games of the season though.

Kansas City Chiefs

3 of the 5 positions are filled with quality in tackles Fisher and Schwartz and guard Duvarney-Tardif, the question will be center and left guard.

New York Giants

Another team with 3 out of 5 positions filled with quality starters. This time its tackle Nate Solder and guards Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler, if they can get good play at center and right tackle this unit could be special.

San Francisco 49ers

Continuity is king here as all 5 starters return. That bodes well for the running game which generated just shy of 2000 yards on the ground last year. Is that the Offensive Line? Or Kyle Shanahan?

LA Rams

This unit has improved over the past 2 years but allowing Roger Saffold and Jon Sullivan to leave creates big holes. Tackle spots are fine but the interior is a concern. That being said, this unit last year provided the most RB yards per run at 5.0 and adjusted line yards of 5.9 according to PFO and was their top ranked Offensive Line.

Only Missing A Padlock

There is plenty of quality in this section but whether it be a piece missing from the jigsaw or a lack of depth, it wouldn’t take much to derail them. With that being said a few better than expected individual campaigns could see these units flourish.

Oakland Raiders

4 above average lineman, despite whatever you think of Incognito the person, puts the Raiders on the brink of the top tier. If they can get Kolton Miller performing as a first round pick should they could be great.

Baltimore Ravens

Huge for Baltimore that Marshall Yanda returns after mulling retirement. Stanley and Brown are nice bookends and there is quality depth a plenty for a team that ranked 1st in achieving 1st downs when faced with short yardage situations when rushing.

Green Bay Packers

Owning the league’s best left tackle is always a nice plus in the rankings (he chuggs beer like a champ as well). Competition is likely at the guard spots but the Packers struggles are not usually associated with offensive line play.

Atlanta Falcons

2 first round picks to address the right side of the line and the Falcons have quality depth to protect Matty Ice and Alex Mack is still one of the games premier centers. Remains to be seen whether those 2 1st round draft picks can come in and hit the ground running straight away.

New England Patriots

The masters of roster construction appear to have done it again. Losing Trent Brown in free agency would hurt most but New England has last years 1st rounder Isiah Wynn to step in. This group always performs regardless of personnel and is sneakily good in the ground game. New England actually ranked first according to Pro Football Outsiders in terms of pass protection rank. Probably partly why Brady is still able to do what he does as Gisele doesn’t need to tend to him that often…

Chicago Bears

Another team bringing back all 5 starters from a unit that is ranked 7th in pass protection according to Pro Football Focus and a unit that gave up the least QB pressures a year ago, no wonder people are high on the Bears.

New Orleans Saints

Terron Armstead misses too many games and Max Unger retiring will hurt but both guards have been pro bowlers and Ryan Ramczyk is one of the leagues best at the right tackle spot.

Fort Knox

These groups are a quarterback and running backs dream. Combining great pass blocking abilities and run game dominance these guys win the battle time after time at the line of scrimmage.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Trading away Marcus Gilbert opens up a competition at right tackle but the other 4 spots are occupied by an excellent group. Villanueva, Foster, Pouncey and DeCastro all return for the formidable unit that offer Big Ben great protection despite the sheer volume of pass plays that they attempt whilst also opening up holes for whomever is in the backfield.

Philadelphia Eagles

Drafting your future left tackle in the first round, comfortable in the fact that he will not be needed shows the level of depth and talent in this group. Jason Peters returns at 37 years old to anchor the left side, Jason Kelce is as good as anyone at center and Lane Johnson is the league’s best right tackle. The depth across the line is excellent so hopefully Carson Wentz gets good protection in his comeback campaign.

Dallas Cowboys

If the fab 3 of Tyron Smith, Travis Fredericks and Zack Martin all see the field then this group is still as good as anyone. La’el Collins and Connor Williams round out the starters for a group that has been consistently amongst the best for the past 3-4 years. Injuries threaten to derail the group but these rankings are based on what we know and not what we don’t so fingers crossed for a clean bill of health and the Cowboys unit should be great again.

Indianapolis Colts

I said the Cowboys have been good for 3-4 years, that model is being replicated in Indy. Castonzo, Kelly, Smith and Nelson are all high draft choices invested in the offensive line. Quenton Nelson was exceptional as a rookie earning a pro bowl nod in his first campaign and his stellar play has seemingly galvanised the rest of the group. Mark Glowinski is the other starter claimed off waivers previously he ended up starting 9 games last year and was signed to a 3 year deal as a reward for his stellar play.

Pick It Apart; Christian Wilkins

Pick it Apart!

The Draft is in the books and the dust has settled. But how well did your team do in the first round?

We are taking a look back at every selection in the first round and giving you the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal? We’ll tell you and give you the impact for fantasy football….

Pick: #13

Player: Christian Wilkins

Drafted by: Miami Dolphins

Grade: B

Analysis: I think it’s fair to assume that if you ask 10 different ‘Fins fans about how they thought the Dolphins would approach their first 1st pick in the draft, I think you’d get a lot of different answers;

From trading back and accumulating yet more picks, to a Quarterback such as Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock etc.

I am not too sure how many of them would have selected a Defensive Tackle, and even less of those would have selected Christian Wilkins.

Brian Flores, the former Patriots DC, decided to beef up the O-Line with a 6”3, 315lb brute from Clemson. This will no doubt add help to a defence that were 27th in total points allowed and 29th in total yardage surrendered and bottom 10 in most rushing defence categories.

He’ll be remembered on draft day as the guy who jump bumped the Commish (shame it wasn’t a bit harder) and you can tell by his aura that he is a leader.

He is a hardworker, illustrated by the fact he got his degree in 2 and a half years. On the field, he racked up tackles from his freshman year, all the way to his final year. Wilkins can do it all, break up passes, tackles, stuff the run and sack the QB. The reason the grade is a B (if you haven’t noticed, I’ve given a lot of A’s thus far), is that I question whether or not it was the right pick at this position.

Whilst the Dolphins are lacking in a multitude of areas and have a bucket load of picks in 2020, I wonder if they had any calls from other teams to move up because I think Wilkins would have been there for another 5-10 picks. Even if he wasn’t, there would be comparable alternatives for them to choose from.

The positives though, he has character, talent and the athleticism to succeed in the NFL and will be asked to do a lot of it on his own in year one considering the rest of the talent on the roster. Next year and a few years from now though, if Miami invest wisely, it could be a force to be reckoned with Wilkins being the jewel in the crown.

Fantasy Football Impact:

Miami are not relevant for fantasy defences, unlikely to be too relevant in IDP but will certainly be the stud player and top points scorer of this team in my opinion. Just depends on how many points he can get. The defence will be on the field a fair bit so individual opportunity is there.

Where Do They Go From Here? Texans

After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…

Today we take a look at the Houston Texans.

Ben Rolfe joined us to talk about the Texans’ season in our AFC South Exit Interviews podcast a few weeks ago, why not go and check that out too?

How Did Last Season Go?

Well, a story of two halves really (well, 1 quarter and three quarters to be exact).

First 4 games, the Texans were staring down the barrel of 0-4 until Frank Reich hands them an overtime victory with one of the more questionable decisions of the year, going for it on 4th down inside their own territory and who’d have known that at that point both teams would’ve made the playoffs. That sparked a 9 game win streak to put them in control of the division. A few wobbles at the end vs those pesky Colts and the Eagles but it was a fairly comfortable division title in the end for DeShaun Watson and co. 11-5 gave them the #3 seed when at moments, it looked as though the Texans could snatch the #2 seed.

However, they were to meet the Colts once more at home and were comfortably beaten in the Wildcard round.

If you asked Texans fans what they would take at the start of the season, you’d probably be looking at around what they achieved, maybe a divisional round game.

Housekeeping

The Texans have picks 23, 54, 55, and 86 in the first 3 rounds of the draft.

After the Free Agency Frenzy, the Texans have the 3rd most cap space (excluding Clowney’s Franchise Tag) at this point.

Outgoings

Not much in the way of outgoings for the Texans.

Make your own mind up on whether that is good or bad.

Demaryius Thomas has been cut…moving on.

Incomings

A few ins for the Texans, mainly on defence. Two CBs in Boddy-Calhoun and Bradley Roby are in, as is Safety Tashaun Gipson. Expect the Offensive Line to be beefed up in the coming weeks and months to help DeShaun Watson take less than the record setting 62 sacks (hopefully no bus journies to Jacksonville next season).

Outlook for Next Year

DeShaun Watson enters his third year as the signal caller and they will have to face a division winner’s schedule. They’ll be expected to sure up the offensive line for their franchise QB and also hope for more health from the likes of breakout star Coutee and Will Fuller in order to keep Hopkins, one of the best in the league, free from double coverage. If all these things happen and the O-Line improves, expect another divisional title for Houston and as a real shot in the dark, DeShaun Watson in the conversation for MVP *John Cena Audience GIF*

Star DE JJ Watt is getting into the back nine of his career so will want to keep making lasting impressions for the City which he holds dear to his heart but it is going to be a tricky division once again and it will most likely come down to the divisional games vs the Colts to decide division winner (don’t @ me Jags fans).

Prediction

Even before we know what the offensive line is going to look like in Houston, it would be a fairly big shock if the Texans don’t make the playoffs in 2019 but with such a tricky division, they’ll need Watson and Hopkins to be at their best and the Offensive line to not be a cheese-grater. As a whole, the top half finishes for offence and defensive ranks stand them in good stead despite the few injuries here and there that they had so I think they get to 9 wins… just depends if that is good enough for a playoff berth. Looking forward to seeing if they face the Colts in a week 17 tussle.

Fantasy Football

DeShaun Watson – mid round draft pick – around the QB4-8 range

Lamar Miller – 5th round pick – RB2

DeAndre Hopkins – 1st round pick – WR1

Will Fuller – 6th round pick – low WR2/high WR3

Keke Coutee – late round flyer – WR4 with WR 3 upside

Podcast 22 – IDP Leagues

Sam Lane a.k.a @FFStompy joins us to introduce IDP leagues.

What they are, why you should try it out and some players to target that aren’t the big named guys. He also gives insight in to how to draft when in IDP leagues and which positions deserve respect and which positions are shallower than others on the defensive side and a few helpful hints. What more could you ask for?

We also talk about his Denver Broncos and who he thinks will contest the Super Bowl, and how he became “stompy”. His work can be found on The Fantasy Football Franchise (@F3pod) and IDP guys (@IDGuys) .