A Second Chance for a First-Round Bust
Why getting traded to Detroit could salvage Greg Robinson’s career. Plus, the Dolphins get the vote out, Osweiler takes a veiled shot at his old coaches, and why Eddie Lacy’s weigh-in would be reality TV gold
Understanding how players get paid.
1. I think Greg Robinson walks into an ideal situation in Detroit after being dealt from the Rams for a sixth-round pick. The former No. 2 overall pick of the 2014 draft has been a dreadful pass blocker in his three NFL seasons, but he joins a team that has invested heavily in its offensive line, signing T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner this offseason. Should he beat out Cyrus Kouandjio and Joe Dahl for the left tackle job (no sure thing), he’ll benefit from the quick release of Matthew Stafford and the coaching of accomplished offensive line guru Ron Prince, whose quick development of Taylor Decker turned heads in 2016.
2. I think the Dolphins’ effort to have every player registered to vote by National Registration Day on Sept. 27 should become a model for the NFL. I was shocked to learn that two-thirds of the Broncos roster did not cast a ballot in November, per my survey of last season’s locker room. Being a role model in the community and being an informed and engaged citizen should go hand in hand.
3. I think it has been entertaining to hear Miami players pump themselves up for their annual pair of meetings with the Patriots. First it was Jarvis Landry, now it’s Ndamukong Suh: “I think one of the great things about Miami and this team, we’ve never been scared of the New England Patriots. We never will be. So, with that being said, when we play them late in the season, we’ll be prepared.” Ever wonder why Tom Brady never has to say his team isn’t afraid of the Dolphins? Because it’s a given.
4. I think the looming showdown between the NFL and the state of Texas will be an interesting demonstration of the NFL power structure. Governor Greg Abbott is calling for a special legislative session to consider a bathroom bill for transgender people similar to the one that caused the NCAA and the NBA to relocate events from the state of North Carolina, and the NFL warns that such an action could be a factor in decisions to allow the state to host events such as the Super Bowl or the combine. Jerry Jones, however, is one of the most powerful owners in the NFL, and if he wants the combine in Dallas badly enough, I think he’ll get one regardless.
5. I think Brock Osweiler made the biggest mistake of his football career when he chose to sign with the Texans instead of sticking around in Denver to inherit a ready-made contender. And I think he made the second biggest mistake of his career this week, when he effectively burned the bridge with the Texans, telling the Akron Beacon Journal his fundamentals “slid last season. I’m not going to go into great detail on that, but they did. My fundamentals slid, and because of that, you saw some poor decisions and some poor throws. If you go back to 2015, I feel like my fundamentals were pretty tight.” NFL people talk, and Osweiler just gave the entire Texans offensive staff permission and motivation to trash him behind closed doors to anyone who’ll listen.
6. I think if you put aside the Cleveland Browns, this is the saddest quarterback competition in recent NFL memory: Josh McCown vs. Bryce Petty vs. Christian Hackenberg. “I don’t look at anybody as the frontrunner,” head coach Todd Bowles said this week. Neither do I.
7. I think the fact that NFL Films has not turned Eddie Lacy’s suddenly profitable weight-loss saga into a reality show is a real shame.
8. I think it’s not a surprise to hear players rave about Kyle Shanahan’s start with the 49ers, specifically his attention to detail. Said quarterback Brian Hoyer: “He is able to break it down to the simplest level, whereas I think a lot of times in this league people bypass that and they just want to tell you, ‘Just do this.’” Added offensive tackle Joe Staley: “Kyle is by far one of the most intelligent coaches that I’ve worked with.” It’s easy to forget that the 37-year-old Shanahan has more experience as a coordinator (10 seasons) than any of the other six new head coaches hired last winter.
9. I think I’m all aboard the Jimmy Graham train after Pete Carroll’s comments this week. Said the Seahawks head coach: “You can just tell now his confidence level is in the clouds. He knows he can block guys… He’s just totally grown in that area so he’s so much more of a complete player than maybe we thought he would become even. So he’s surprised us.” Even when they were at their best, the Seahawks were always missing an every down tight end who could excel as a blocker and a downfield pass-catcher. Having a player like Graham as a true swiss army knife at tight end could take a great deal of pressure off an inconsistent offensive line.
10. I think I’m a few days late on this, but I loved Andy Benoit’s 24 hours piece with Sean McVay. It’s full of fascinating coaching nuggets from the youngest head coach in pro football. A sampling from a tremendous piece:
There’s a problem: Soon-to-be-32-year-old center John Sullivan, a former Viking in his first year with the Rams, is too smart. He’s reading the defense and immediately calling out perfect offensive adjustments. That’s great in live action but counterproductive in practice when you’re trying to develop your second-year quarterback. “Hey, John,” McVay barks. “Let him”—Goff—“make these calls!”
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