NFL Insider Notes: Bank on Big Ben vs. Ravens; no franchise QBs in draft
Also, why Jay Ajayi is no fluke and what's troubling about Marcus Mariota
With each day that passes I have a more difficult time finding anyone in the Steelers organization who does not believe Ben Roethlisberger is starting Week 9 against Baltimore. Barring a setback, that's where we're headed, and I bet he shows up big against the division rivals.
Also, Ladarius Green could be back for that game, or soon thereafter, and that tight end will only further open up that offense.
An underwhelming QB draft class
Teams looking for a franchise quarterback in the top rounds of this draft might be out of luck. Each week I hear less and less positive remarks about the seniors and juniors in this class, and I don't hear anyone who thinks any of them merit consideration in the top half of the first round -- though we know some will be taken. It's always supply vs. demand with this position. Teams like the Browns just might end up having to stick with what they have for another year.
More NFL notes:
Speaking of the Browns and QBs, it's a pretty simple reason why the Browns are getting so many quarterbacks killed. Sure, bad luck plays some part in it, but they went super cheap in letting a quality right tackle walk in free agency (Mitchell Schwartz) and they determined former Pro Bowl center Alex Mack was done (the Falcons would disagree) and they figured Joel Bitonio would stabilize things but he got hurt. The Browns can't keep a center healthy, and they had like 15 rookies make their roster, so, yeah, it stands to reason you may go through your fair share of passers. Wonder where all that saved cap space and money goes?
I wouldn't be surprised if the Pats tried to run the ball down Buffalo's throat this week. I spoke to an advance scout who believes the Dolphins put down a perfect template to beat the Bills last week, catching the second and third level of that defense numerous times with Rex Ryan blitzing so much. LeGarrette Blount is a load and the Bills haven't had Marcell Dareus much and Kyle Williams has definitely slowed down.
I don't think this is a total fluke what Jay Ajayi is doing in Miami. Now, he's not running for 200 yards every week. He's not running for 100 yards every week. But he is putting impressive film out there. "I buy this kid," one scout said. "I like what I see. He looks like a combination of Shady McCoy and Thomas Jones to me. He can run through some tackles now. He can play."
I talked to an evaluator who watched Marcus Mariota closely on film again this week. "I don't see a lot of progress," he said. "He's robotic to me. He still looks limited, and when they get away from the run game and try to open it up, it doesn't seem to go too well for them."
This evaluator thought the Titans lost to the Colts last week by not simplifying things even more than they usually do and simply settling to run the ball down the throat of a soft Indianapolis defense. Either way, look for them to out-physical the Jags on Thursday night and beat up on a division rival at home in a short week in what will be the Titans third-straight home game.
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