Here are the Rams from last Saturday night running outside zone with a clean six-man box. Notice what the tight end sliding back does to the defenseBoth linebackers stay backside and the defensive end crashes down hard:
The Panthers can see that coming, too, with Newton hitting a half-dozen receivers in the road wins over New England and Detroit, and hitting each of those six guys multiple times against the Lions. Even better, he’s shown a willingness to dump the ball off. His flip to Fozzy Whitaker on a double-screen against New England, with the defense flowing to McCaffrey and vacating the left side of the field, is a great example of it. He threw the ball probably seven yards in the air; it wound up as a 28-yard touchdown.
“I think he’s learned,” Rivera said. “He still throws those deep digs, he still throws those bang 8s, those deeps outs, and he still throws the vertical. But in between, he’s getting the ball into other players’ hands quicker. And he’s limiting the number of hits he has to take.
“That’s the thing he’s learned, that’s the thing I think he appreciates. I mean, he had a huge day [in Detroit], but it wasn’t like he had to sit there and run the ball. It wasn’t like he had to sit there in the pocket and hold, hold, hold. The ball came out.”
The Oakland Raiders hired Jon Gruden and are giving him a monster deal that is reportedly worth $100 million for 10 years. Is Gruden’s star power, sheer excitement about football, and passion for coaching worth $100 millionMaybe. Is his ability to analyze NFL draft picksWell, that’s debatable.
Christian Hackenberg couldn’t even pull the starting gig for the Jets. The fucking Jets.
Jeffrey Lurie, Eagles: “I think it’s great when players get together with owners, whether it’s their own team or a group of owners. The communication’s great, you really learn where everyone is coming from, and you get to understand these are human issues.”
This is all good for now, of course, with the league getting its efforts going on the social causes that are important to players. And with three years and change left on the current collective bargaining agreement, it could be even more meaningful down the line.