George Pickens, Dameon Pierce, and Different Issues


NFL Preseason Week 1 – Pittsburgh Steelers rookie vast receiver George Pickens is gonna be an issue.

Pickens hauled in a corner-of-the-end-zone, over-the-shoulder, toe-tappin’ teardrop from Mason Rudolph against the Seahawks on Saturday night time. He caught two different passes within the Steelers’ 32-25 preseason win, one a high-degree-of-difficulty sideline snare. Additionally: he did some blocking. The spectacular debut comes on the finish of what has been touted as a monstrous coaching camp for the second-round choose from Georgia.

George Pickens? He is HIM.

How on earth did Pickens fall into the second spherical? you ask, as if such info weren’t available from a number of sources. Oh wait: Walkthrough IS a supply. Pickens missed a lot of the 2021 season with an ACL tear, catching simply 5 passes in 4 video games late within the 12 months and within the BCS playoffs. His 2020 season, like nearly each 2020 collegiate season, was COVID-truncated. He caught simply 90 passes in three years at Georgia.

“Pickens has not performed a lot soccer, so evaluating him requires a little bit of projection,” we wrote in the FO 40, the place Pickens ranked fifteenth amongst all talent place gamers. All of Draft Twitter swears they ranked Pickens a hair under Randy Moss, as a result of Draft Twitter loves stanning for boom-or-bust I-loved-his-middle-school-film sleepers. Common managers, with precise cash and careers on the road, are slightly extra cautious. Pickens was drafted roughly the place most analysts anticipated him to be drafted, by a Steelers group that didn’t want pressing, speedy vast receiver assist.

The Bears in all probability ought to have been rather less risk-averse when Pickens was on the board early within the second spherical (twice), however do not despair…

Chicago Bears rookie security Jaquan Brisker is gonna be an issue. Brisker loved one three-play sequence against the Chiefs on Saturday the place he despatched receiver Skyy Moore spinning backwards after a brief catch, ranged throughout the sphere to complete a sort out on Derrick Gore, then jumped a route beneath meant for Noah Grey. Brisker ranked 37th overall in the FO 40, the place we famous that he “reacts rapidly to motion in entrance of him, sheds blockers successfully, and might ship a thud.” He staged a quick hold-in at first of camp however has been receiving boffo critiques since he took the observe subject.

Jaquon Brisker? He is him. Simply ask Bryan Perez of TheBearsTalk:

You are doing the lord’s work, sir. Lord Ryan Poles, that’s. Brisker appears like a possible affect participant, however thou doth protest slightly an excessive amount of about how the entire group’s plans have been vindicated. Let’s not anoint him Brian Dawkins simply but.

Wait, talking of Philly fan favorites…

Philadelphia Eagles rookie defenders Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean are gonna be an issue. As Good friend-of-Walkthrough Doug Farrar famous on Friday, the Jets primarily triple-teamed first-round defensive tackle Davis on Friday night time. And Dean, who slipped into the third spherical as a result of Trent Baalke’s cousin’s barber’s roommate heard he had a super-secret damage or one thing, recorded 4 solo tackles and was quick, instinctive, and bodily in opposition to a Jets group that appears able to throw within the towel slightly earlier (?) than standard in 2022.

A protege/substitute for Fletcher Cox and the primary linebacker since Jeremiah Trotter who will not have the Boo Birds ripping their hair out? Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean: They’re THEM.

All of those cliches are gonna be an issue. Walkthrough is certainly excessive on Pickens, Brisker, Davis, and Dean. However as you will have seen, we got here away from this weekend slightly broken by two of the NFL Web’s most obnoxious new catchphrases:

“He is gonna be an issue” is ideal for the busy Tweeter on the go who does not have something significant to say a couple of prospect and does not wish to decide to any particular statement however nonetheless feels the urge to remark a couple of spotlight. Search “gonna be an issue” or “going to be an issue” on Twitter and you’ll find it utilized to all of the gamers talked about above, plus Aidan Hutchinson, Logan Corridor, Ray-Ray McCloud, Travis Etienne, Sam Williams, Tim Settle, and lots of others. You will additionally discover this text, however no matter.

As for “He is HIM,” gamers and coaches have begun utilizing that as a non-committal, non-specific praise to get by means of lengthy interviews. The remainder of the world has adopted it as a result of it is quick, easy-to-type, sounded cool and hip a number of months in the past, and, like “gonna be an issue,” is completely disposable.

“He is obtained that dawg in him,” is one other participant favourite, however nobody over 30 can repeat that with out immediately turning into the Steve Buscemi “How do you do, fellow kids?” meme.

Sure, Walkthrough additionally makes use of inventory phrases and cliches; nobody has sufficient intelligent, distinctive metaphors or synonyms for “nice athlete” or “high quality play” to get by means of a soccer season. However gosh, inventory phrases go stale quick lately. Bear in mind “[Superstar QB] is sweet at soccer”? That lasted a couple of 12 months earlier than you wished to achieve into your telephone and atomic-wedgie the one that typed it after each 40-yard landing move. “The Actual Deal” lasted, what, 30 years? “Gonna be an issue” is already a toddler kicking our seat on a protracted flight.

At the least Perez made a daring dedication to Brisker within the Tweet above, not only a variation on “let me validate the truth that an NFL participant did one thing good.” Please, pricey colleagues and social-media savvy readers: say one thing substantive in regards to the participant, like “George Pickens is gonna salvage the Steelers quarterback state of affairs,” or “Nakobe Dean could possibly be the very best Eagles linebacker since Trotter.” Or simply say “I like this man!” Or, I dunno, simply let a spotlight scroll previous with out remark at times.

In that spirit, Walkthrough will roll by means of the remainder of this opening section about a few of Preseason Week 1’s largest winners with as few cliches as we will muster.

Houston Texans rookie Dameon Pierce appears like a fantasy RB1. “Three Pitbulls” Pierce (Imma power that nickname to stay), a fourth-round choose from Florida, has lengthy been a Walkthrough fan favourite, and he ran for 20, 6, 9, 7, and seven yards in his 5 carries on Saturday night time in opposition to the New Orleans Saints.

Pierce lacks a 3rd gear within the open subject, and he was a part of a crowded committee backfield for his complete collegiate profession. However he is a careening rusher who manages to fall ahead for 3 additional yards on the finish of each play, he can catch slightly, and he has a loves-the-grind character coaches adore.

Marlon Mack is forward of Pierce on the depth chart, however Mack has made a profession out of shedding alternatives to extra dynamic runners. The Texans being the Texans, there are about 20 different veteran operating backs loitering on the roster—coulda sworn BenJarvus Inexperienced-Ellis obtained a number of third-quarter carries on Saturday—nevertheless it’s exhausting to think about anybody however Pierce getting the majority of the short-yardage and goal-line touches.

Inexperienced Bay Packers rookie vast receiver Romeo Doubs is sort of nearly as good as marketed. Doubs dusted 49ers security Tarvarius Moore on a slot fade for a 33-yard landing, caught two different passes, and obtained a step on his defender on deep targets that Jordan Love could not fairly full a number of occasions. He additionally dropped one move on a crossing route and had a contested catch ripped from his fingers by Sam Womack for an interception.

“He is properly constructed, runs tight routes, can catch the ball in visitors, and observe [Carson] Robust’s deep moon launches within the air,” we wrote in the FO 40, the place Doubs ranked thirty fourth on the talent positions. “Pure pace and an inclination to body-catch are considerations on the NFL degree.” Cross pure pace off the listing of considerations, however the fingers may not be all the best way there but. Walkthrough assumed that fifty% of the Doubs hype this summer time got here from the truth that the Packers press pool wants somebody to speak somebody up with Christian Watson out, the necessity to reassure followers that the Packers receiver corps wasn’t the Bears receiver corps smothered in cheddar cheese, and many others. It seems that 25% might be extra correct.

Doubs might develop right into a Marquez Valdes-Scantling position in 2022. Remember the fact that MVS’ finest statline was 33-690-6 in 2020; that can assist Aaron Rodgers and firm however will not remedy their WR1 downside.

Baltimore Ravens rookie tight finish Isaiah Seemingly will discover his approach onto the sphere. Seemingly caught 4 passes for 44 yards, together with a leaping snatch away from a defender up the seam and a tricky catch when going to the bottom throughout a two-minute drill earlier than halftime. “I felt like slightly child at Christmas,” Likely said after the game.

Seemingly was additionally flagged for holding twice, as soon as negating a 15-yard Justice Hill run on third-and-short. He presently blocks the best way a center schooler slow-dances, that means Seemingly might have a tough time siphoning playtime away from hard-blocking Nick Boyle behind Mark Andrews. On the flip facet, the Ravens use some 13 personnel packages (and 22 packages with a good finish within the backfield) and should deploy Seemingly as a heavy slot receiver in 12 packages if he retains enjoying like he has all through coaching camp.

Kansas Metropolis Chiefs rookies George Karlaftis and Skyy Moore will assist chart the trail to the post-Tyreek future. Karlaftis, a first-round choose from Purdue, recorded a sack and two quarterback hits in 24 snaps. Here he is wheel-barrowing Bears fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones, who—yikes!—is outwardly Chicago’s beginning left sort out. Moore, a second-rounder from Western Michigan, caught three passes for 23 yards. Moore excelled at catching quick passes in visitors over the center in school, and that is simply what he did on Saturday.

Moore can’t change Tyreek Hill, clearly, and Karlaftis will in all probability rotate with Frank Clark and Carlos Dunlap. However they supply proof of idea for the Hill commerce: one superlative participant was exchanged for a number of younger prospects who can bulwark/improve want positions whereas the group rebuilds on the fly.

The Chiefs have a coherent plan shifting ahead. And that, certainly, is gonna be an issue.

Rookie Quarterbacks and Quarterback Competitions

Walkthrough rounds up this weekend’s rookie debuts and quarterback controversies.

Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, and Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers

Trubisky ran the first-team offense effectively, threw some crisp passes, and turned a would-be sack by a defender straight up the intestine right into a productive scramble in his solely collection in opposition to the Seahawks. Rudolph took over and practically misplaced a fumble on his first dropback, then threw a landing to George Pickens a number of performs later. Rudolph was scattershot however efficient sufficient for the remainder of the primary half to maneuver the ball in opposition to a Seahawks protection that would not cowl, sort out, and chew gum on the identical time.

Pickett entered the sport to the form of ovation Bruce Springsteen will get at a Southside Johnny live performance (Rudolph was booed by the house crowd). He constructed a landing drive out of fast throws on his first collection, exhibiting some potential to look off defenders, however his landing move to Jaylen Warren was dangerously excessive and quick within the entrance of the top zone. Pickett later obtained chased down from behind by Boye Mafe on a fourth-and-short rollout, however the Steelers obtained the ball again, and Pickett constructed a game-winning landing drive out of fast throws, quick scrambles, and defensive lapses.

As outlined in past Walkthroughs, Mike Tomlin does not need an actual quarterback competitors. Trubisky appears able to game-managing his strategy to wins on a YAC-and-sacks group, and Tomlin would like to slow-baste Pickett for the longer term. Pickett spent a lot of the fourth quarter handing off, as Tomlin had in all probability seen sufficient and simply wished to go residence injury-free; solely after Drew Lock’s fumble did he say, high quality, let’s do some actual two-minute stuff.

Trubisky would be the Steelers’ Week 1 starter. It will not be a preferred resolution.

Geno Smith and Drew Lock, Seattle Seahawks

It is unattainable to take Geno Smith critically as a beginning quarterback within the 12 months 2022. He dinked, dunked, and step-slow scrambled his approach by means of an unproductive first half on Saturday, lastly main a landing drive on a two-minute drill in opposition to the longer term substitute academics of Alleghany County. Smith’s one deep shot led Noah Fant too far out of bounds, and he is simply nimble sufficient at this level in his profession to run his approach into hassle. Overlook weak-tea Alex Smith. Smith is weak-tea Gardner Minshew.

Lock has a greater arm and is quicker-footed than Smith. At first, the Seahawks offense appeared to open up with Lock working it. Then got here the flutterballs into visitors, the garden-hose accuracy and, damningly, a fourth-quarter fumble on a blindside sack. Lock is a fourth-year veteran with 21 NFL begins who nonetheless appears like a rookie in August. Walkthrough would nonetheless begin him over Smith, as a result of at the very least he has a wisp of upside. Trubisky regarded like Terry Bradshaw compared to each of them.

It is price noting that the Seahawks playbook seems to be chock filled with RPO-quick-game stuff that did not work on Saturday and is unlikely to work when groups really gameplan in opposition to them; it is not just like the Seahawks roster is teeming with slot jitterbugs. It is early, and many others., however the Seahawks offense is prone to be horrendous this 12 months.

Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons

Mariota scrambled his approach by means of his lone collection on Friday night time, finishing each of his move makes an attempt however dashing 3 times (plus a fourth run negated by a penalty). Mariota took substantial wallops on the ends of a number of of these runs. Everybody is aware of how that story ends, and Arthur Smith ought to order Mariota to cease appearing prefer it’s the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Recreation and slide on the ends of preseason (and regular-season) runs.

Ridder threw a fourth-quarter UDFA-fest landing move that might have been an interception in an actual sport. He had a pick-six nullified by a roughing-the-passer foul and threw excessive a number of occasions to open receivers in the course of the sphere. On the plus facet, Ridder’s instruments have been evident, his launch was fast and clean, he regarded like he was executing a sturdy playbook, and he made some good selections with the soccer.

Ridder would profit from beginning the season behind a veteran who has some actual starter’s attributes, which is why it could be pretty to see Mariota make it to Columbus Day in a single piece.

Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers

Mayfield began the opening collection and regarded like a reliable veteran with a lot of B to B+ attributes, as a result of that is who he’s.

Darnold got here in after a Commanders fumble, threw a brief landing move to Rashard Higgins, principally handed off by means of a subsequent three-and-out, then gave strategy to P.J. Walker, as a result of one of the best ways to decide on the winner on this epic competitors is to have each quarterbacks play as little as attainable.

“I’ve to essentially watch the tape to see precisely what they did, however I believed they have been each in command,” Matt Rhule said after the game. “They made the best checks, so I used to be happy,” Darnold performed six snaps and threw three passes, however they will need to have been six commanding snaps in opposition to the Commanders.

The principle takeaway from the Panthers efficiency on Saturday afternoon is that the Panthers’ 1.fifth strings on either side of the ball regarded strong and performed quick and exhausting. Rhule hasn’t counter-motivated the group right into a mutiny by making the offense run gassers after practice-field touchdowns but. Lotta August left.

Malik Willis, Tennessee Titans

You have seen the highlights. Look past the scrambles and that deep over to a wide-open Racey McMath and you will find a rookie quarterback who holds the ball eternally, drifts out of fresh pockets, and escapes out of the again of a collapsing pocket slightly too readily. Willis is healthier than the everyday third-round rookie, and the Titans have the best concept by giving him a lot of significant preseason reps. However Willis can be a 10-sack-per-game danger if he performs anytime quickly.

Sorry if that sounds pessimistic, however Walkthrough might really feel the Willis hype machine revving up on Thursday night time and desires to check the ABS. In an analogous vein…

Justin Fields, Chicago Bears

Fields accomplished deep sideline pictures to Darnell Mooney and Tajae Sharpe, scrambled productively as soon as, and led three collection that resulted in punts. His offensive line regarded like balsa wooden in opposition to the Chiefs starters, and whereas it was good to see Sharpe’s one-handed toe-tapping catch, the Bears receiver corps did not reply any actual questions.

Discipline’s look was quick and semi-encouraging however not very illuminating. At the least he did not get injured on a subject that regarded like a goat pasture after a spring flood.

Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers

Once more, you noticed the highlight-reel landing to rookie Danny Grey. Every part else was short-game stuff, with Lance nonetheless placing slightly an excessive amount of mustard on the ball at occasions. Lance has higher coaches and receivers than Fields, so there’s much less motive to fret about him, however 49ers followers have been wiping their brows when Lance launched that landing after a shaky first collection.

Different analysts and web sites seem to have gotten extra out of Lance’s and Fields’ 2022 debuts: indicators that they’ve made important progress, mastered some nuance of decision-making or footwork, or no matter. Walkthrough merely lacks the refined observational precision to glean such knowledge from 5 to seven move makes an attempt in opposition to mixed-bag defenses. Or maybe we’re reluctant to see what we hope to see and inform followers what they hope to listen to. Both approach, we apologize.

Preseason Week 1 Awards

A Walkthrough custom not like some other!

Offensive Line of the Week

The Detroit Lions beginning offensive line (Taylor Decker, Josh Jackson, Frank Ragnow, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and Penei Sewell) simply manhandled the Atlanta Falcons beginning defensive entrance (six randos Arthur Smith himself would have a tough time figuring out and Grady Jarrett) within the opening collection on Friday night time. People in search of a Dan Campbell has this group enjoying HARRRDDDD narrative can discover it right here.

Defender of the Week

49ers defensive again Samuel Womack III, a fifth-round select of Toledo, intercepted Jordan Love twice on Friday night time, ripping a contested catch away from Romeo Doubs for the primary and undercutting a crossing route for the second.

“He is simply actual scrappy in there,” 49ers linebacker Fred Warner instructed The Athletic’s David Lombardi. “The best way that he covers, he makes use of his ft rather well to simply cowl guys as an alternative of attempting to be too grabby. I believe the size (of his arms) actually helps him, type of being a shorter man. However I really like his tenacity, the best way he competes.”

Womack is presently the No. 2 nickelback behind Darqueze Dennard in a crowded 49ers secondary.

Particular Teamer of the Week

Have you ever ever seen that hordes of consultants on any topic spontaneously generate on Twitter when that topic begins trending?

Like, if sea otters began attacking individuals within the streets, and if you happen to have been to put up one thing like, “Maybe we should always lay some humane sea otter traps,” Todd709789676 and a whole lot of his associates would seem in your timeline explaining otter biology, otter conduct, the precise firepower wanted to neutralize dozens of feral otters, and different robust, in all probability hostile, erroneously silly opinions about your otter idea earlier than going off to harass some epidemiologist about masks.

Welp, Buffalo Payments rookie Matt “Punt God” Araiza boomed an 82-yarder against the Colts, and all of the sudden Twitter was awash in particular groups coordinators. Umm, really, he must be attempting to pin his opponent. And what about grasp time? Or holding for subject targets? Solely sheeple like you’re impressed by punts that web 62 yards. True connoisseurs know higher.

There’s an opportunity that every one of those trolls are Joe Choose burner accounts, and all the time have been: all Web trolls for the final 20 years have really been Joe Choose secretly opining on numerous topics. In any case, Araiza is particular, everybody has recognized he was particular since final 12 months, and the groups that drafted different punters as an alternative of him (Browns and Ravens) outsmarted themselves out of getting their fingers on a participant who might redefine his place. The top.

Greatest Supporting Actor in Somebody Else’s Spotlight

Amari Rodgers has had a quiet coaching camp wherein the Packers seem to have relegated him to return duties. At the least Rodgers broke an enormous return in opposition to the 49ers on Friday night time. He solely had one man to beat: 39-year-old kicker Robbie Gould, the type of dependable veteran a group with deep playoff aspirations would discover irreplaceable. Do not do it, Robbie! Let Rodgers rating! Do not stumble into his path, dip your shoulder, and hope you do not get run over…

Sigh. Gould survived the collision and can in all probability be carried off the sphere instantly after kicking off by a teammate for the rest of the preseason. Appears like an ideal obligation for Jason Verrett!

Preseason Week 1 Information ‘n’ Notes

New York Jets QB Zach Wilson suffers knee damage

Wilson prevented an ACL tear; he suffered a bone bruise and meniscus damage and is reportedly out two to 4 weeks, although the Jets keep signaling that that timetable could also be slightly optimistic.

And now the unhealthy information, moreover the potential that medical doctors open up Wilson’s knee and discover a gremlin. Wilson threw an unpleasant interception earlier than getting harm. Mike White regarded extra just like the man who threw 4 interceptions in opposition to the Payments in 2021 than the man who threw three touchdowns in opposition to the Bengals. Growing Wilson was the Jets’ main objective for 2022. If Wilson hobbles again on restricted reps to start out the season opener, properly, that is the way you construct a Sam Darnold. If he sits out per week or two behind White or Joe Flacco, that is the way you create in-house doubt a couple of quarterback-of-the-future who has completed nothing to quiet any doubters.

Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Trevor Lawrence all put some constructive performs on movie this week and get to do it once more subsequent week. Mac Jones is above such issues. Davis Mills was meh for 2 collection, however nobody actually takes him critically as a franchise quarterback. Wilson’s the one second-year starter to face a serious setback this weekend. Basically, second-year starters can solely endure so many setbacks.

Matt Patricia and Joe Choose: The New England Patriots Play-Calling Debacle State of affairs

Patricia referred to as performs for Bryan Hoyer on Thursday night time in opposition to the Giants. Choose took over for Bailey Zappe. Patricia huddled with the offensive line when the protection was on the sphere (he is formally the offensive line coach), Choose with the quarterbacks (he is … lol … the quarterbacks coach). Invoice Belichick responded to postgame questions in regards to the play-calling course of by actually saying “Don’t worry about it.

This entire state of affairs is profoundly, indefensibly silly. If Patricia calls performs whereas teaching the road, he’ll have minimal potential to speak with Mac Jones in between collection. If Choose calls the performs, then Joe Freakin’ Choose is looking performs AND supervising Jones’ improvement. Each Patricia and Choose illustrated throughout their head teaching tenures that they might slip a knife right into a rival’s again to accumulate/preserve energy, so Darkseid must monitor Kalibak and Steppenwolf carefully. Oh, and the way the f*ck is Belichick supposed to guage which toady is the very best playcaller when they’re calling performs for 2 completely different quarterbacks?

Patricia will in all probability win the play-calling job, at the very least quickly. Belichick ought to discover some reliable outdated soul (Charlie Weis, Jeff Davidson, somebody exterior the household corresponding to Gary Kubiak) to function a “marketing consultant” within the sales space and/or a buffer for Jones when the youngsters begin squabbling for his favor. Both that, or he can simply have Patricia sign performs into Jones’ left ear and Choose into Jones’ proper concurrently. It might be like having slightly angel and satan on Jones’ shoulders! And the once-mighty Patriots offense can appear to be a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Deshaun Watson Begins for the Cleveland Browns, ‘Apologizes’

Watson performed three collection and accomplished one move, with two of his passes wildly off beam. Few different Browns starters performed, although heart Nick Harris suffered a season-ending knee damage on the second play of the sport. Harris was in all probability solely on the market as a result of Watson was. If that is all we really see of Watson on the sphere for 2022 (and 2021), it’ll each be becoming and satisfying.

Watson solely performed on Friday as a result of the Browns wanted a backdrop for his mealy-mouthed, rigorously contrived, apology-flavored interview. The Browns PR group actually needs to push the “regret” angle: the Browns declare Watson has proven regret, Judge Robinson wrote that he didn’t, and Watson remains to be researching the phrase’s that means. It might actually assist with the whitewashing efforts if Watson expressed one thing comparatively contrite, however heaven is aware of the Browns don’t desire Watson in an unscripted sit-down interview state of affairs with anybody. However what a couple of transient, semi-informal sideline-reporter interview with the beginning quarterback? Good. Good friend-of-Walkthrough Aditi Kinkhabwala asks the powerful query Columbo-style after a number of softballs, Watson solutions with all of the sincerity his authorized group and malfunctioning conscience enable, after which everybody rushes off as a result of there’s an ever-so-important soccer sport to play.

What a PR coup! Besides that it leaves us with the picture of Watson looming over a girl who does not fairly attain his shoulders, a transparent illustration of why somebody his dimension may not must make express calls for to be intimidating or coercive.

Watson’s assertion in all probability was not an try to appease the commissioner’s workplace; that might have been a savvy transfer in the course of the offseason commerce circus, when it’d even have introduced one other nervous bidder or two to the desk. It was simply half-hearted, tone-deaf Browns CYA logic designed to present native sponsors and companions secure harbor.

Now that they wasted a preseason sport on spin management, it is time for the Browns to really get Jacoby Brissett able to play in order that your entire 2022 Browns season does not flip right into a fetid cesspool of comeuppance.

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