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Both 1st-teams were in for a few series, for the most part, and then the cavalcade of backups finished out. I don’t want to jump off a cliff but four players really grabbed my attention. Two of which…I’m not going to talk about. Not here. It’s an important discussion for fantasy planning and guys I’ve written extensively on all year – O.J. Howard and Joe Mixon.
Draft Guide owners – check your updated projections for 8/12 on these two players, a preview of where we are heading. On the 8/13 update, I will write more commentary on what I saw, so check their section if you desire.
College Football Metrics subscribers – check the next dynasty rookie draft update player commentary on these two. The next update will be out this afternoon/evening.
I’m just going to provide some food for thought in more detail based on a snapshot look – dangerous to do, but I want to share my inclinations and whether we should act on them or not.
The 1st-team offenses both drove the ball down the field, deep into the opponent’s territory early – and then both QBs/offenses failed to punch in virtual goal line opportunities.
Tampa drove down the field, and then Jameis Winston (9-13 for 99 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) went 0-for-2 from the 2-yard line on alley oops to Mike Evans (4-58-0/7). Tampa Bay…’all the new weapons’ hooray!!! Mike Evans 7 targets, DeSean Jackson (1-6-0/1) 1 target.
The Bucs settled for a chip shot FG from a kicker they would later cut. Why on 4th and 2 in a preseason game opening drive with your starters would you not go for a TD? Why give a kicker a virtual old-XP try? It certainly didn’t help the kicker’s confidence…ex-kicker.
I really do not understand coach’s mindset on ‘going for it’ on things. They scream expletives all week at players about ‘aggression’ and ‘killer instinct’ and ‘winning is everything’, and then get right up to a hair away from a chance at 7 points…and settle for 3. Why no team has gone with almost all ‘going for two’ mindsets is beyond me…and exactly makes sense observing these people for years. Coaches are blockades to progress in the NFL…and their willing accomplices in the media. If things ‘change’, a lot of people are out of demand/out of work.
Andy Dalton (4-5 for 38 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) played one series and pop-pop-pop right down the field and then an interception on the goal line.
The Bengals then took control eventually…mostly due to the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick (6-13 for 45 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) overstayed his NFL welcome by about two years, and this is year two.
— Two negative gut reactions to players I like, and ‘weight’ is an issue…but not how you think. Everyone is always dazzled by RBs losing weight and gaining speed. How do we know the optimal size for certain guys? For some guys a weight loss magical –Le’Veon Bell, Doug Martin as examples. Losing weight might make a guy faster but also loses some mass/bulk, and if they are power runners by trade – does the weight loss help or hurt? More agile, but less powerful/less mass-force? Just thinking out loud as a guy who hated science and is not qualified to speak on E=mc2 type things. Why are big backs always slimming down and little backs being asked to bulk up?
I saw Tra Carson (8-32-0, 1-23-0/1) get into action after the first-team guys left, a guy I loved last preseason watch, and I see that he has lost like 10-15 pounds. He burst onto the scene last preseason as a Marshawn Lynch-esque mauler. My jaw dropped at his power and seemingly fine athleticism in 2016. Now, Carson looks like my neighbor’s giant dog after they shave him down to start the summer…like, I don’t recognize this once giant dog…was he half hair? I guess he was. I don’t like Tiny Dancer Tra Carson as much as the Lynch Mob version.
Carson now looks like every RB, I’ve ever seen at 215-220 pounds. He has a nice little spring in his step, but that wasn’t an issue before that I saw. But now he’s more speed and less power, in this 2017 watch. Average speed, reduced power. He played fine in this game and maybe I’m seeing ghosts, but man…eat a sandwich; eat 10 of them. I want the mauler back. I fear he’s gone. Hopefully, this new weight will suit him. He almost cannot make this team with Mixon-Hill-Gio at the top anyway.
I hate making snapshot judgments on player’s appearance because it seems silly to do so…how could I really know just by looking? Please consider, I watch tape of football events almost every day or every year for long stretches of time in some cases. You spent Saturday doing fun things or working – I watched four preseason games, rewinding and looking at different things from different perspectives. I’ll do so again today. My head is filled with visual football data. After so many years doing this, I’ve learned to trust that voice in my head…in my gut. When I see something that is ‘wow’, it’s rare for me, and I know I should act…or at least be ready to research more. When I see something that is ‘meh’, I have to note that and act accordingly. Could be a bad day at the office. Or I could be clued right in. The moment I saw Nutrisystem Carson before he even touched the ball, and I was like – what the hell happened?
I was also jarred by my first look at Bucs rookie Jeremy McNichols (2-12-0, 0-0-0/1). Upon his first appearance, the first words out of my mouth were – that can’t be Jeremy McNichols. He looked much smaller, skinnier than I remembered. He looks like he might have dropped 5+ pounds, whether he planned to or not. Some guys, I see for the first time Week 1 of the preseason, after having scouted them extensively months prior, and go ‘Yesss’…Mitchell Trubisky was as I remembered, and did exactly what I expected. Leonard Fournette, what I thought…even big, better, faster. Christian McCaffrey exactly the size and movements I recalled. Jeremy McNichols…made me pause. Skinny, skittish. It may not mean anything. Too limited a sample size. It could be pewter is slimming, but I’m sharing my reaction for it’s worth…and it’s a downer, to be honest.
— Bucs rookie WR Chris Godwin (1-14-0/1) looked a little slim too, again it could be the pewter slimming effect (but O.J. Howardlooked exactly as I remembered). If Godwin played with the first-team, I don’t remember it. He was in the game with the backups for a while, a longer while than I expected — and you’d barely know he played on the team. He made a normal catch (his only catch) but really sprung nicely after the catch. He looked fine…except he doesn’t look like he’s counted on by the 1st-team at this point.
— Bengals rookie IDP Jordan Willis (3 tackles, 1 sack) looked pretty solid working with the 2nd-team. He looked fine but nowhere near as splashy as Myles Garrett did in his debut.
— Bengals 2nd year CB lost to ACL last year, Will Jackson (3 tackles) is back and he battled like he always does. It won’t be long before he starts.
— I kept hearing about the great Bengals rookie IDP Carl Lawson (1 tackle) but I don’t even remember him from this game. He played invisible to me.
— For what it is worth, Jeremy Hill (7-26-0, 0-0-0/1) started and looked like he had lost a few pounds in a good way – much more spry and springy than usual, to my eye.
— In the battle of the DSTs, the Bucs were clearly more impressive and aggressive as far as 1st-groups go. The Bucs have a pretty solid defensive talent base and did finish 2016 much stronger than given credit.
The Bengals DST…that talent base has been degenerating for a few years and it doesn’t look any better at first glance…but it’s too early to make a full call.
What did look good on the Bengals – their 1st-team O-Line did a nice job. I expected more issues but they were much better than the fear going around, and I am one of those that fear all the changes in the offseason are for the worst.