Seven Step Drop: M-V-Please no, NO!
Another week in the books and as usual quarterbacks dominated the news cycle. Aaron Rodgers broke records, while talented youngsters fell victim to the injury monster. However, it wasn’t all about quarterbacks, as we have upsets and monster days from other players across the football world.
1. RECORD BREAKING GREATNESS
Every so often a league as talent rich as the NFL produces a performance that will be included in the highlights reel when a legend is inducted to the hall of fame. On Sunday, Aaron Rodgers had such a game. For the first time since 1991 and only the third time ever that a quarterback has thrown for five touchdowns and added another on the ground. What was frightening about this performance was that Rodgers only led eight drives. The scary efficiency with which the Packers scored their points and quietly eased away from the Raiders either side of halftime should have other NFL teams taking notice.
Finishing the day with a perfect 158.3 passer rating, Rodgers threw touchdowns to five different receivers. Included in those five was much maligned tight end Jimmy Graham. Graham had four catches for 65 yards with each catch being a meaningful contribution. It was a perfect day for Graham, who is slowly becoming a major factor in this offense. Rodgers did all this with a depleted supporting cast, that he has Davante Adams to come back and add to the threat should warm the hearts of the Packer faithful.
2.M-V-PLEASE NO, NO
I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who had a Michael Scott like reaction when reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes was immediately ruled out of the Thursday Night Football clash between the Chiefs and Broncos.
The NFL simply isn’t as fun without a talent like Mahomes. The Chiefs quarterback has become one of the premier offensive talents in the league. His strong arm and incredible off-platform throws are a joy to watch every week. The league is less for now having him.
Multiple insiders are reporting that Mahomes MRI came back clean, so the dislocated kneecap suffered by Mahomes is at the lower end of the scale of severity. Three weeks is the reported recovery time, however I think it may end up being longer. I have personal experience with this injury, although mine was at the high end of the severity scale. It is an injury that will seriously affect Mahomes movement and if not healed correctly, the chances of an identical injury occurring again become very high. The Chiefs and the league need to protect their young superstar.
3. CAN ZAC TAYLOR SURVIVE
When teams in the NFL follow the latest trend around the league, the team that does so last is hardly ever successful. The Cincinnati Bengals hired Sean McVay disciple Zac Taylor last offseason. The signs so far haven’t been good, as the Bengals are win-less and directionless. The odds of Zac Taylor seeing a second season are low right now. It should serve as a reminder to all NFL teams, if the rest of the league is zigging, zagging might not be the worst course of action.
4. TIGHTROPE TUA
Alabama quarterback and potential number one overall pick Tua Tagovailoa will have a minor surgery on his ankle after exiting Saturday’s game against Tennessee. Whilst early news was that Tua wouldn’t miss much time, reports on Monday pegged the recovery time at four weeks. This potentially puts his involvement in Alabama’s crunch match against LSU in jeopardy. Having Tua at less than 100% heading into such a big period of the season will have Nick Saban worried. LSU are legit this season and Alabama at anything less than 100% may not have enough to best them.
This also hurts Tua’s draft stock. Given he suffered the same injury last season and it severely affected his play, teams will be questioning how prone he is to injury. It is imperative that Tua is back for the LSU game, for both Alabama’s season and his own draft stock.
5. CHAMPAGNE MOMENTS
It was a day to saviour for Lovie Smith and the Illinois program. Junior kicker James McCourt stepped up as time expired and kicked the Illini to a famous win. The Big 10 basement dwellers played up to Wisconsin all day, bottling up Jonathon Taylor and keeping him at under three yards per carry. When forced to win without Taylor, Wisconsin came up short. However, Saturday was all about Illinois and the ability of this team to play well above their level on paper, causing perhaps the biggest upset we will see all season.
6. LES MILES... PROGRAM BUILDER...?
Writing positively about a coach who’s team is 2-5 is probably a strange one to read. However, when the team is Kansas who in recent years have been one of the worst programs in the country, a 2-5 record and a close loss against a top-15 Texas outfit is progress. Running back Pooka Williams is incredibly talented and the kind of back to build an offense around. Miles has a long way to go, especially on a defensive unit that was gashed all day by Texas’s high powered offense. However, Miles should take solace from the fact his offense hung around and almost stole the game when they converted a two point try to go up 48-47.
7. PLAYER PROSPECT - AJ DILLON RB BOSTON COLLEGE
AJ Dillon had a monster day for Boston College in their win over NC State this last weekend. The big back rushed for over 200 yards and three touchdowns in his best performance of the season. Dillon plays at around 245 pounds and needs to run well at the combine to improve his stock. His running back fundamentals are sound and the production matches. With almost 1000 yards and nine touchdowns already on the season, Dillon has shown he can handle a big workload behind what isn’t the best offensive line in the country. I think Dillon can force his way into Day 2 of the NFL Draft if he runs well at the combine.
NFL & CFB Analyst
ONE OF THE ‘COLLEGE CHAPS’. A TEXAS LONGHORNS AND GREEN BAY PACKERS FAN. A HUGE NFL DRAFT ENTHUSIAST, ALEX HAS BEEN FOLLOWING FOOTBALL FOR OVER 10 YEARS, SCOUTING FOR THREE AND WRITING FOR TWO. You can follow him on twitter @byalexchinery