NFL overreactions: Some advice, don't go crazy if your favorite rookie QB looks great or struggles
The NFL season is full of ups and downs and it takes time for us to learn about rookie quarterbacks
It's overreaction season in the NFL.
OK, so actually that's probably a year-round phenomenon that applies to any given Sunday, any given Pro Day or combine performance and, certainly, any given preseason game. Everything related to professional football in this country is bound to get blown out of proportion. But it's especially true now as everyone is trying to get a grasp on which teams and players are poised to shine, whether it be for rooting purposes or fantasy football purposes or gambling purposes, or all of the above.
So I am here to remind you not to freak out. Don't go bonkers because Baker Mayfield looked great against third-string players on a poor defense and don't go picking Sam Darnold in the fifth round of your fantasy draft because he looked sharp in his preseason debut. And, well, don't jump off the Darnold bandwagon now that he turned in a perfectly reasonable outing for a rookie quarterback Thursday night but was less than spectacular.
Similarly, don't start throwing rocks at Josh Rosen because he was shaky with an abhorrent offensive line in front of him and don't get caught up in what Lamar Jackson did when he was with an atrocious backup offensive line as well; the film of him in his one drive this preseason with Baltimore's starting offense tells a very different story. And, well, don't get overboard with Jalen Ramsey calling Josh Allen "trash," either, though as someone who has seen him up close in the spring and summer I still maintain he is getting so few starting reps for a reason -- because he isn't there yet (and it's a little naïve to think he would be).
For much of the offseason I figured at best one of these five first-round picks would end up as their team's Week 1 starter, and, quite possibly, none of them would. At this point I fully expect Darnold to claim the Jets starting job, but outside of that the other four will sit at the start -- barring injury -- though Jackson will most definitely see the field in certain situations as a quarterback/receiver/jack-of-all-trades. And that's not a terrible thing at all.
Don't freak out about where any of these quarterbacks are in three weeks. Don't freak out about what they are up to at midseason. As long as they are growing, evolving, maturing and progressing, that's what year one is about. Try to keep in mind that what Deshaun Watson did a year ago is far from the norm, and that even guys like John Elway and Dan Marino and Peyton Manning were pretty awful their rookie seasons before eventually taking off.
Breathe easy. Relax. Save the stressing out for 2019.
- If I am the Rams I have plenty to ponder this month beyond the Aaron Donald deal. I'm going to upgrade at No. 2 quarterback and I'm about a week away from making calls on Teddy Bridgewater, Josh McCown, Jacoby Brissett, Robert Griffin III and maybe Drew Stanton to start getting a feel for what it make take to land them. There isn't any good reason they can't land one of them, and any would provide significantly more cover in the event of a Jared Goff injury than what the L.A. roster currently provides.
- Not sure Elway did himself or the NFL any favors with his comments about Colin Kaepernick and specifically how it relates to his testimony in the ongoing collusion case. Invoking the Broncos' attempts to get the QB to take a $5 million paycut to play for them before the 2016 season -- before Kaepernick taking a knee during the anthem -- as a reason to never consider the player again, after welcoming back far inferior Brock Osweiler after he fell out of favor over money/contract got the attention of Kaepernick's legal team for sure. The reality is Kaepernick has not worked out for any NFL team since the anthem situation unfolded; he did speak to officials with the Seahawks and Ravens but was never offered a contract and never worked out for them.
- Khalil Mack isn't going to back down anytime soon in his stalemate with the Raiders and there isn't any immediate end in sight to that holdout. I can't see him reporting at all in the preseason and I'd anticipate this bleeds at least a few weeks into the regular season. If Jon Gruden put him on the trade market there would be no shortage of suitors. If I had to handicap it, I would maybe go: Bills, Colts, Jets, Packers and then the field. Landing a first-and-third round pick plus a good, cheap young player might be fair compensation.
- If I was setting MVP odds right now I would have Aaron Rodgers at the top of the list. Still don't love the cast around him but he will make the best of it as he always does. Seems particularly fired up and prickly, which is a good thing for Green Bay. The sense around the NFL remains that the Packers get that contract extension done with him before the regular season opens. Something around $33 million a year seems fair to me.
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