He's another Eddie Royal type receiver. He will have good spells, but he's not really a legit number #2, more of a #3 type option. But he has been productive here and has good chemistry with Cam, so perhaps he can carve out a significant role for himself going forwards. As for Funchess, he's still converting from a tight end to wide receiver. His last year in college was his first year lining up as a wide receiver. So he's still a pretty raw prospect that will need to be nurtured and may be a season or two away from contributing. It's different to Benji who had played receiver throughout college. He had a lot to learn but he also knew enough about playing the position and using his body to his advantage to help him. Funchess is at a different stage of his development and we'll have to be patient. But it wouldn't surprise me if we end up drafting another receiver next year to add another weapon.
The problem that Norwood has right now is that he is currently the fifth name on the receiving depth chart, and in a team that doesn't have the most expansive passing attack, that is going to count against him because he's not going to get the opportunities to make plays. And when Cotchery comes back, as much as some fans want to see him let go, his return will see Norwood pushed down to the sixth name on the receiving depth chart. The kid is barely going to see the field and I don't envisage them cutting Bersin or Cotchery to help his cause. Cotchery is the respected veteran with 5 receptions and a TD in two games, and Bersin has 5 receptions and 67 receiving yards which ties him for fourth in receptions and puts him in fourth place in receiving yards. Last Sunday he caught 4 passes for 54 yards in a game where Cam threw the ball 22 times, so Cam has a certain level of trust to throw the ball Bersin's way, and with that in mind I don't see us letting Bersin go a second time. I don't see a scenario where Norwood gets an opportunity to showcase his ability outside significant injuries to at least two, if not three receivers. Ginn is by far Cam's favorite receiver and I don't see that changing. Cam seems to have trust in Cotchery and Bersin, both of whom have 5 receptions in two games. And Brown and Funchess have 6 and 3 receptions respectively, which will leave them fighting for scraps. But in Funchess' case, he has the chance due to his draft status to become an impact player as the season progresses. Norwood will most likely disappear into the background.
We can only beat what's been put in front of us, and so far, our guys have gone out there and won. The only thing we could ask for more is Cam throwing for three or four hundred yards, with a perfect QB rating; and Jonathan Stewart rushing like he did last season. But other than that, our guys have done whatever it takes to win. Not always been flashy, but they've certainly been effective. Next four games are pivotal. They'll test how "legit" this team is, though one could argue the only games that really matter are the play offs, and it doesn't matter how we get there, all that matters is we do. Don't get me wrong, I want us to win every game, but what really matters starts in January. And we've taken four steps closer to getting there...
So the Bills use a roster space on another kicker. I've seen QB controversy during regular season, but kicker controversy between two guys on the roster at the same time? That's a new one to me (?). Their next opponent should start chanting for Cundiff when Carpenter goes onto the field for kicks...
Hopefully this gives us an added boost to our pass rush. Granted he's 33 so I am not sure we will see the same type of output he had in his last season with the Vikings (11.5 sacks - 2013), but I think he can better his output from last season with the Bears (5.5 sacks). Good move from Gettleman.
Indeed. Mariota is looking good out there, and he is proving the analysts who questioned his ability to play from day one wrong. And this game is making me wish I hadn't left Mariota and Sankey on my bench in favor of Tannehill and Miller! :( :D
Opening drive for Winston in the second half - 2 sacks and ended needing to convert a 3rd & 42 - the guy doesnt look ready to start in the NFL. Poor footwork. Poor decision making. If they hope he's their guy, it's going to be a long time away. Even Blaine Gabbert was better in his first game...
Their message board will be in meltdown over how they should have taken Mariota over Winston, and how they're doomed as long as Lovie if their head coach... By no means did I expect these types of performances from them game one, but of the two, I always felt that Mariota would have been the better pick of the two QBs.
Great news for Luke getting his deserves pay day. Great news for the Panthers tying up the best ILB in the league to a long term deal. Great news for the fans and all round that this offseason we have the leader/face of the defense and the leader/face of the offense signed to long term deals. On a side note, bet Luke wished LBs got paid like D-Linemen, what with Dareus getting a $108 million 6-year deal...
The Jags aren't devoid of talent and could be on the brink of breaking out, it wouldn't be surprising to see them win 6 to 8 games this season. Granted the same could be said about them last season, but if they can find the consistency that they lacked last season, then they are going to win more football games this season. So I am not surprised that some have picked them to beat us because they have the play makers and young talent to cause us problems, and if they take their chances and/or we start slow, us slipping up against the Jaguars is a possibility. That said, if we have aspirations to win a third consecutive division title and make the play offs, then these are the teams that we have to beat. We cannot afford to slip up against the Jaguars, the Texans in week two, or the following two games against the Saints and Buccaneers. We need to make sure we head into the bye week 4-0. We can't afford another slow start because the Saints, Falcons, and Buccaneers shouldn't be as bad as they were last season, and as soon as we come out of the bye week we head to Seattle, then have home games against the Eagles, Colts, and Packers. By the end of week 9 for us to have a chance we need to be at least 4-4, any worse and our play off chances are going to take a serious hit. So with a tough schedule after the bye week, we need to take advantage of these first four games and cannot afford to slip up against the Jags.
It's an interesting stat and argument, but there is no doubt that teams would rather face our current receiving core without Benji than with Benji. His presence on the field would force teams to plan for him and Olsen, which could potentially make the jobs of Funchess and co easier. Without him teams will just plan for covering Olsen, and force Cam to throw to our other lacklustre options or force throws to Olsen. We aren't doomed, but even with a low completion percentage, this team will feel the loss of Benji from game one.
Hakeem Nicks, Denarius Moore, and Vincent Brown are probably the most appealing free agent receivers I can think of, but all are free agents for a reason, and as such, they carry a risk as to whether they will end up contributing or not. So who would we cut to make room? If there's a belief in the veterans Cotchery and Ginn, they stay. They like what they see in Norwood, he stays. Funchess stays for obvious reasons. So unless Corey, Philly - whatever - continues to be drop prone, then the five we've got stay. So first problem is finding a dispensable player to cut, and the second problem is that the new reciever needs to step in and be able to move up the depth chart to make a difference, and outside of a few receivers, it is debatable how many could do that.
Funchess may not be ready to start because he's not far enough along in his development, or because he is still recovering from his hamstring injury. I would suspect it is the former rather than the latter. But it is somewhat surprising to see Brown being given the start ahead of him after his preseason struggles with dropping the ball. I suppose Rivera is hoping the faith he is showing in Brown is repaid by him bouncing back and being able to catch the ball again? The problem with bringing in another receiver is whether there is a receiver out there that is better than what we have on this roster. Free agents like Reggie Wayne and Wes Welker at this stage in their careers are over the hill, and Hakeem Nicks doesn't look like he wants it. Maybe we can revive Hakeem Nicks' career, or find a diamond in the rough, but right now there doesn't appear to be clear cut options that would definitely be an upgrade over what we have right now. There's some players we could pick up with upside, but they could also fall flat as well.
The O-Line has been an issue because other than his rookie season he has ranked in the top ten in most sacked QBs, though in his rookie year he only missed it by one place. But the problem with blaming the protection is that other QBs manage to have better pass completion when taking more sacks, so why does Cam continued to have issues? Notable examples: - Matt Ryan was sacked 44 times in 2013, he completed 67 pct. - Aaron Rodgers was sacked 51 times in 2012, he completed 67 pct. - Philip Rivers was sacked 49 times in 2012, he completed 64 pct. - Tony Romo was sacked 36 times in 2011 and 2012, he completed 66 and 65 pct. If we look at last season: - Jay Cutler was sacked the same amount of times, he completed 66 pct. - Teddy Bridgewater was sacked one more time, he completed 64 pct. - Alex Smith was sacked seven more times, he completed 65 pct. At the end of the day other quarterbacks have hit the ground as much, if not more times than Cam, and experienced as much, if not more pressure at times than Cam, and they have managed to be more accurate than Cam. So I do find it difficult to blame the O-Line behind Cam's lack of accuracy. The revolving door policy at receiver does have some merit, but through 2011-13 his top three targets were the same [Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Greg Olsen] and he still had some issues with accuracy. So I don't think we can put the blame entirely on the O-Line and receiving core, they haven't been great, but others have played with worse. For me, the main reason behind his lack of accuracy is that he is still developing as a quarterback. He only had one year of starting experience in college, so he's had to learn on the job in NFL. So it is bound to take time to make the adjustments, and having average protection and receiving options has certainly not helped him, and likewise, not having a great OC has not helped either. That said, I will say the same as I have for the last three seasons - I hope Cam kicks on and have a big year this year statistically. But as long as we win our division and make the play offs, having Cam produce to a similar level to the past few seasons is not a problem. It is like Cam said the other day, judge him by wins not statistics. And I think that is the type of quarterback we have. Someone that will hopefully win a lot, but not be the next Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers in terms of production.