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Press conferences: They’re either the most essential thing worldwide or something to be totally overlooked, depending upon if they verify how you currently felt or not. Nonetheless, they are a crucial window into an NFL company. Much as the eye in the sky do not lie about gamers, coaches can’t cover every feeling or lean they have when they’re asked concerns. In omission, or in tone, even somebody as tight-lipped as Bill Belichick or Nick Caserio can offer something away.
Last week we had the following: Dameon Pierce’s function to broaden (check!), Jeff Wilson getting an undisputed work (complex response however Tyrion Davis-Price had 7 of his 14 continues the last drive with the 49ers winning huge, then got harmed), and took a look at another significant element today, the Bucs wideout space.
Let’s take a look at a few of the trickiest scenarios for Week 3 lineups.
The everlasting James Conner injury circumstance
As I’m sure you recognize with if you have actually ever handled James Conner in a dream football league previously, the back gets injure a lot. Conner played simply 18 snaps prior to leaving Week 2’s video game with an ankle injury, and has actually not played a whole season of video games in any of his 5 years in the NFL to date. Conner did not practice Wednesday, got a restricted practice on Thursday, and had another restricted session on Friday.
Now, sadly the Cardinals are among the most undercovered groups in the NFL. I do not have video to reveal you of the following declaration however I take it at stated value:
Conner was stated a “game-time decision” by Kliff Kingsbury prior to practice. He kept in mind that they’d “run him around” and see where it’s at on Sunday.
I discovered it intriguing that Kingsbury had a long response about Darrel Williams — which Cardinals.com’s Darren Urban was very fast to point on the main site that Williams looked great in his stead on Sunday. The curt declarations on Conner in both cases — little beyond that he was doing great — make me think we might get another circumstance like Week 16 in 2015, where Conner was doubtful as a game-time choice and did not play. In Week 17, he did not play as a doubtful. Conner battled a rib injury late in the season and was doubtful prior to the Cardinals played the Rams in the playoffs — because video game he was outsnapped conveniently by Chase Edmonds.
What I’m getting at is that you need to not simply anticipate Conner to be active for Week 3. There’s an opportunity he will not be. There’s likewise an opportunity that even if he is healthy that the Cardinals turn their backs a bit more than they did while Conner was healthy. He’s got the huge agreement, which keeps this as more of a lean than a real suggestion. But Conner has actually not played especially well when he’s been banged up which’s a huge factor the Steelers let him stroll in the very first location. As for the fantastic Eno Benjamin-Darrel Williams war, the reality that Benjamin carried on in the 4th quarter and belonged to the two-minute drive would have me choose Benjamin to Williams at the minute as the RB2. The reality that a concern was inquired about Williams has me captivated regarding just how much of the option he may be in a Conner replacement function, however. It might effectively be a pure committee.
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Darrell Henderson vs. Cam Akers
After opening day’s full-on Darrell Henderson ascension, Cam Akers struck back in Week 2. He out-carried Henderson 15-10 and got 43% of the snaps to Henderson’s 56%. What, exactly, is going on here? Let’s look at what Sean McVay said after the game:
McVay called it a “step in the right direction,” in a general sense, but it sure watched to me like he meant it about Akers. Akers, of course, notably spent the opening game of the season making everyone who drafted him look like a donkey in a ridiculously small role. Week 2’s snaps went 35 for Henderson, 27 for Akers.
My read of the situation by the words involved is that the team wants to commit to Akers as the lead back, but can’t really do so based on his play to date. Akers has a 62.3 PFF rating in 2022, a slight upgrade on his 43.7 at the beginning of his Achilles comeback in 2021 that mostly involved the playoffs. PFF grades are a descriptive stat rather than a prescriptive stat to me, so I don’t carry them around as gospel that a player has played poorly, but Akers doesn’t look like he really has fully recovered everything he left on the surgery table just yet.
The trickiest thing about this situation is that the Rams thought highly enough of Malcolm Brown to bring him back to the practice squad this week. Not only that, both McVay and offensive coordinator Liam Coen were effusive in their praise of the veteran back.
Oftentimes a practice squad addition can be the opening step you need to read more into the state of the room. For instance, the Packers added Travis Fulgham to their practice squad on Thursday. Then they declared four of their wideouts missed practice later that day. I don’t think Fulgham will be a fantasy factor, but it says a lot that they made the move to pick him up. And then, Friday, we got word that Sammy Watkins would be out and that Christian Watson and Randall Cobb were questionable.
Injuries aren’t the issue here yet — but the fact that the Rams thought they needed Brown in the room tells me they’re not entirely happy about what they’re getting from Akers. As someone who promoted that I thought he was a fine buy this offseason, the shares of him I have in leagues make me pretty uncomfortable at the moment. Ian Rapoport said of Justin Herbert Friday that “he’s not out of the woods yet” — that’s about how I feel about Akers after last week’s rushing yardage. It may have been a step in the right direction. He’s not out of the woods yet.
The ever-injured Tampa Bay wideout room Mk. II
Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee) are both unlikely to play based on what we have actually seen, with Godwin not getting a practice in all week and Jones only working on the side with trainers on Friday despite officially being labeled as “limited” on the practice report. While Todd Bowles talked about Jones as a game-time decision, he also stated that if he’s not healthy, he’s not going to play when pressed:
Mike Evans will be serving a one-video game suspension. So the three-wide set for Tampa of guys that got the most run last week was: Scotty Miller, Breshad Perriman, and Russell Gage. Except, suddenly Gage missed practice on Friday.
Gage was the guy who got most of the preseason hype, however he hasn’t really done a lot to open the season. Even with Jones and Godwin both cleared from the deck last week and Evans docked on Revis (checks notes) sorry, Lattimore Island, Gage was only able to put up five catches for 28 yards. Miller handily out-targeted him eight to six. Perriman got the lone offensive touchdown for the Bucs and finished with the most yardage of the three. We’ve also got murmurings, as per the practice squad bit above, that Cole Beasley could make his Buccaneers debut on Sunday as a practice squad elevation.
Ultimately if you asked me to pick one guy here who I have any faith in this week it’s probably Perriman. He’s dealing with a hamstring issue of his own, but the limited practices don’t put him in any real position to miss time. Brady’s confidence in Miller looked poor on Sunday, as he shouted down the receiver several times on miscommunications. And then Gage — how can we be sure he’s healthy? He doesn’t play healthy and he keeps missing practices. If I had to go down the DFS rabbit hole on this passing video game today, I’d ride with Perriman outside and hope he grabbed another goal in what appears like a low-scoring affair.