Bet on Paxton Lynch starting before other rookie QBs, more NFL notes
The Eagles aren't done dealing, either, while the Rams have turf issues
It's becoming increasingly obvious that Paxton Lynch will be the first rookie quarterback to play this season, which comes as no real surprise. The only real question is how soon is now, as Morrisey might say.
Having seen Jared Goff up close a bit, it's pretty clear he is very raw and needs time and isn't ready to push even Case Keenum yet. And Carson Wentz is still wincing in pain whenever he tries to throw a football with anything approximating normal velocity. He'll he on the shelf for what amounts to the entire preseason in all likelihood.
With two veteran quarterbacks each making good money in front of him, my time in Philadelphia convinced me more than ever this could be a redshirt year for him. Even if Wentz is healthy enough from his fractured rib to play the fourth preseason game, do you really put him out there with a bunch of offensive linemen likely to get cut and risk further injury with so little to actually gain?
Which brings us back to Lynch, who was taken at the end of the first round after Goff and Wentz went with the first two picks. Mark Sanchez will likely be there to hold a clipboard in Denver lest one of the youngsters gets hurt, unless the Denver Broncos release him or try to trade him. The Trevor Siemian experiment rolls on with the former seventh-round pick starting the third preseason game for the Broncos, but he is fairly limited in what he can do and lacks the athleticism and upside of Lynch. He's only marginally more seasoned after being selected 250th overall one year before Lynch.
There isn't a need for the Broncos to start Lynch Week 1, and maybe he won't. Maybe the Broncos buy the rookie a few extra weeks and shed the pressure of having to start that season opener as the Broncos open their defense of the Lombardi Trophy.
But barring outstanding play from Siemian, that transition will remain afoot and it's only a matter of time before John Elway gets a look at his first-round selection in a regular season game. I see him under center by October, and when it's all said and done in 2016, I'll stick to what I've been saying since shortly after the draft -- Lynch will end up with considerably more snaps than any other Denver quarterback.
Goff's day is going to come within the first half of the season, too, I imagine, whether he is ready or not. A few general managers I've encountered this summer viewed him as a second-day draft pick at best and while there is a lot to like about this kid, it's also naïve to assume he is ready to win games right away with what's been an incredibly middling-at-best franchise for the last decade.
The Los Angeles Rams will only be able to ride Keenum for so long before the fans and owner are clamoring for the rookie. I don't expect this team to be winning a bunch of games with either under center, and Goff will end up taking his lumps by November, I suspect.
And, if more bad luck befalls Tony Romo in the injury department -- and I'd love nothing more than to see him and Dez do their thing for a full season -- well, I'll continue to sing the praises of Dak Prescott , exhibition games or not. The kid has something. He's got a touch and feel beyond his years and the Dallas Cowboys are growing increasingly comfortable with him as the guy behind their starter.
In the end, however, it'll be Lynch who gets the most work and Lynch who gets to play with that defense already in place and Lynch who could benefit exponentially by having Gary Kubiak and Elway there to help guide him along. Not a bad spot to be in, all things considered.
Here are some more news and notes from around the NFL:
It's only a matter of time before the Panthers start losing some talented execs and coaches to other organizations. They've had so much success and their people are getting noticed more around the league.
Director of player personnel Don Gregory is a top evaluator for the Panthers and is a future general manager in training. Expect to hear more about that name this winter as teams begin interviewing for general manager candidates.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have wrapped up their home preseason games already, and thankfully so. Because it allows for a good period of time before the next NFL game is played in the Los Angeles Coliseum. While we've all got lost in the hoopla of the league's return to LA -- I know I did out there for the Rams exhibition opener -- there have been some issues with the field which could use some fixing before they start playing games that count in the standings.
Several sources complained to me about the field conditions in the second game, against the Kansas City Chiefs , with the sod coming up too easily and being too loose. Some believe the conditions played a role in some injuries suffered in that game, and things were certainly less than prime. Not the end of the world, but it's something the league office might want to pay a little closer attention to before the start of the regular season.
Crews were trying to keep things in place before and during that game. That's not good, given what we've seen around the league recently, like the horrible Washington surface that seemed to play a role in RG3's injury; the Baltimore Ravens switching back to a natural surface in part to help curb injuries and the Hall of Fame Game being cancelled a few weeks back because of atrocious conditions. Given all the hype and attention being given to the Rams, what with "Hard Knocks" and all, that field could use more attention.
The Eagles aren't done wheeling and dealing. Not by a long shot. Having spent a load to keep their own players and very short on draft picks after the trade for Wentz, aggressive general manager Howie Roseman will continue trying to upgrade via trade.
That move for Dorial Green-Beckham is just a portal into Roseman's thinking there -- looking for recent draft picks from other teams who haven't panned out who could fill a position of need in Philly and are young and cheap labor.
The Eagles were looking for linebackers for a while before settling on signing free agent Stephen Tulloch . They've also been sniffing around on corners, and other general managers get the sense that Roseman is always working the trade angle and trying to see who could become available.
I'd put the over/under at two on trades this team makes before the Eagles take the practice field a few days before the start of the regular season. They will be very active during the roster cutdown period, trust me.
While the Steelers have no direct timetable on when tight end Ladarius Green will be back and fully recovered from the headaches he has been experiencing, they certainly haven't given up hope. The free agent signee has continued to say he is gradually feeling better and he has been raving to teammates and former teammates about the care he is receiving in Pittsburgh and the professional manner in which the Steelers are handling a difficult situation.
He still very much wants to play this season and no doctor has advised him he can't and all sides are keeping their fingers crossed that things seem to be trending in a positive direction.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Continue to like what I hear coming out of Bucs camp. Could be a surprise playoff team brewing there, though this kicking situation gives me pause. They might want to have a eye on a veteran and plant a few seeds in that regard with guys who are on the street if their rookie can't get it done when it counts.
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