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*Lots of games to cover and moving faster than editors can keep up with, so forgive any typos, etc. 2,000+ word articles on preseason games ain’t easy. Going for quantity over quality to get the news out ASAP.
Yes! One more chance to get to watch Josh Dobbs (16-23 for 212, 1 TD/0 INT) in action! Could life get any better? I submit it cannot… *FYI, that was sarcastic if you’re a new reader.
Fantasy player notes…
— Thank you, Pittsburgh Steelers, possibly my new favorite team…possibly have hired me away from the Buffalo Bills to secretly run the franchise.
Thank you, rostering Terrell Watson (19-89-0). That guy absolutely deserves it – it is a sign that you guys understand talent even at the lowest ends of the roster. Trading for Vance McDonald, grabbing Joe Haden, and keeping Watson – those are moves that start to lock up a potential Super Bowl run. On those three scene events, the media could’ve cared less about McDonald and instead were in a tizzy about George Kittle/SF, they then shrugged her shoulders at Joe Haden, and then asked who Terrell Watson is.
These are the people shaping National football analysis.
These are the times that try men’s souls…
Back to Watson – absolutely deserves it. He’s deserved it for two years now. I don’t wish harm for Le’Veon Bell, but if something happens to Bell — I’m all over Watson…and probably giddy at the bad news for Bell (Fantasy GMs have no soul…a prerequisite of the gig). People think James Conner is the handcuff – I guarantee you it will become Terrell Watson’s backfield if Bell gets caught up in a missed drug test again or whatever.
— In tiny, speedster WR news from Carolina — two of their speedsters made the roster, while one who played well enough to make it was the odd man out…and got traded (Kaelin Clay) to Buffalo in a throwaway deal to reunite with Stone Cold Sean McDermott, who would’ve had exposure to Clay’s capabilities while in Carolina.
Clay has a little something/belongs in the NFL because of his speed. At a minimum, he’s a nice return man. However, I noticed him making a few nice grabs in the passing game this preseason. He’s not a bad little player for an NFL team to take a gamble on and use as a backup WR and primary return man. In 2014, his one season at Utah…Clay returned 3 punts for TD in 23 attempts and 1 KR TD in 22 kick returns.
The two WRs I’m referring to that made the roster – Damiere Byrd (2-21-1/3) is basically the better Kaelin Clay, so Byrd made the team forcing Clay out. Byrd scored his third TD of the preseason here. It looks like Byrd is listed as a #4 WR, but I have a feeling he’s actually going to play /get the targets like a #3 WR opening day…if there are any targets left after Christian McCaffrey sees 17 of them…in the first half.
Byrd is going to be the third wheel until Curtis Samuel (2-5-0/2) establishes himself. I think the team intends for Samuel to be the speedy, lightning strike receiver who also can take jet sweeps and make magic happen. Samuel should be used like a poor man’sTyreek Hill, but Samuel has been hurt most of the preseason and every time he’s gotten back to finally play in the preseason games, he gets hurt again. Not a good sign. He’s missed enough camp that it will take a few weeks into the schedule before Samuel integrates properly into the offense.
— Another player I have high hopes for in the future is having a hard time getting his future started. Tyler Matakevich (6 tackles, 2 TFL) could be starting for more than a few teams in the NFL right now as their middle linebacker but is buried a little bit on the Steelers. Every time I watch him in the preseason he’s making an impact. He has some of the best anticipation distinctive linebacker play you’re ever going to want to see.
— Rookie Cole Luke (10 tackles) led all tacklers in this game with 10 tackles, but he didn’t catch my attention enough to take more seriously. He’s 5’11/200 and runs a 4.63 40-time and a decent 6.82 three-cone. I’m not writing him off yet, but I’m not making any special notes either.