We are four days away from kicking off the 2020 season.
Unfortunately, it also means that rosters across the league went from 80 to 53 players.
A lot of players are out of a job, but this is a cold-hearted business. I wish sportswriters could stop pushing the panic button to the reasoning these players were cut. One team cut three tight ends, another said farewell to a fan-favorite receiver, and one even slashed their depth at safety.
Why would you keep players that were not NFL ready? Not every team has the NFL Films crew shooting episodes of Hard Knocks.
Here are a few teams I felt were doing the “right thing” in preparing for this season.
It is hard for me to criticize a team whose front office has been at the top of the NFL in winning games. The Ravens cut Charles Scarff, Jerrell Adams and undrafted free agent Eli Wolf. Okay, so they have two tight ends. A premier, versatile player in Mark Andrews and a terrific blocker with Nick Boyle. Hayden Hurst is in Atlanta.
Last I checked the Ravens were not known for their tight end depth, but for their rush offense. They had the best rushing game in the league scoring 21 touchdowns, nearly 3300 yards on the ground through Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill. In the draft, they grabbed a new weapon in Ohio State playmaker J.K. Dobbins. It is already said that Dobbins will have a “significant role” in this offense. They have their own version of Alvin Kamara that will give Lamar Jackson another receiver to throw the rock to. Don’t be surprised if you see the fullback, Patrick Ricard, in taking reps at the tight end spot.
It’s all about adapting and Baltimore earned that benefit.
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Green Bay Packers
I am this close making the two words “wide receiver” a curse word in Green Bay. It is a position that has become “borderline offensive” with the Packers. A big headline last night read…
What do you think had the most clicks? Yes, the fan-favorite Jake Kumerow was no longer in green and gold. Honestly, this has been a surprising offseason for the Packers. No one expected them to draft no receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft. They brought in many receivers during training camp and the only one they kept was Malik Taylor, a practice squad player out of Ferris State who quietly earned his shot.
Don’t get it twisted. Kumerow was a great story. At age 28, he played (and graduated) Division III, for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and now he was catching passes from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. However, in 14 games he only caught 12 balls for 219 yards and two touchdowns. That was similar to Malik Turner’s numbers while in Seattle (who was also released).
This is no longer the high-flying west coast offense under Mike McCarthy. It is Matt LaFleur putting emphasis on the rushing attack, it’s why there are four running backs with Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, kick return specialist Tyler Ervin and rookie AJ Dillon.
Update: Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports that Kumerow will sign on to the Bills’ practice squad. Good for him.
Las Vegas Raiders
This one was laughable to me.
The Raiders traded their 3rd round pick, RB/WR Lynn Bowden, Jr. and a sixth-round pick to the Dolphins for a fourth-round pick.
Everyone was tearing up head coach Jon Gruden for not finding a spot for Bowden. Just because you are one of the 254 players drafted does not mean you are guaranteed a spot in the roster. Bowden’s numbers were terrific at Kentucky. Eight school records, a spectacular Belk Bowl performance can help you, but it can be all for naught if you are injured or having off-field issues in training camp.
Bowden had both to worry about. He was limited at the NFL combine, training camp all because of numerous injuries, and according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, he was at a home that was searched by police and enjoyed “Sin City” too much to focus on the game.
At least the Raiders got something out of it. It has no impact to their running game or wide receiver depth. This is more of a raw talent cherish his second chance in a new city after the first one fizzled, due to off-field issues.
Ah, the clickbait team for 2020. Anything to do with the Dallas Cowboys would be talked about. It was a “shock” that the Cowboys cut safety Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, there were questions about their position now in a dire situation because they were without Jeff Heath who left for Las Vegas.
Clinton-Dix is no longer one of the best safeties in the NFL, folks. He signed a “prove it” deal for one year and 3.75 million. It was also his fourth team in three years and he was gone five months later.
Green Bay, Washington, Chicago, and Dallas.
His competition was an injury-riddled Xavier Woods, Darian Thompson and journeyman cornerback Daryl Worley. According to Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz and Jori Epstein of USA Today, Worley, the former Raider was praised for his versaility by defensive backs coach Maurice Linguist, “Daryl is a guy that if you come to practice, you’ve seen him at all positions and he’s been picking it up pretty good. He’s been putting in the time among himself and outside the time that’s even required of him to make sure that he’s learning all he needs to learn.”
I think the Dallas Cowboys will be fine at that position, even if they don’t bring embattled safety Earl Thomas. According to a source with the Dallas Morning News, while there have been conversations about him, there are no plans bringing in Thomas.