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See How They Run

Mill Woods

Posted on September 9, 2022 13:31

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NFL Kickoff, 2022: Josh Allen and the Bills ran over the vaunted Ram defense. For me, the most intriguing question of the 2022 season is: how much will the NFL’s top-paid QBs change their playing style? Unlike Allen, some of the league’s most mobile QBs may run less to avoid injury. If so, that could have a major impact on teams’ success.

At the critical quarterback position, 'runners’ are QBs that regularly execute Run-Pass Option (RPO) plays and other designed QB runs. A speedy QB adds extra complexity for defenses to deal with. The current crop of what I would call ‘running’ QBs include:
 
1.     Jacoby Brissett (Browns)
2.     Justin Fields (Bears)
3.     Jalen Hurts (Eagles)
4.     Trey Lance (49ers)
5.     Geno Smith (Seahawks)
6.     Mitchell Trubisky (Steelers).
 
Now, there are several young, mobile QBs, and they will all run the occasional RPO — but ‘occasional’ is not enough for me to list them with the runners above. On my list of ‘young, mobile’ QBs, I include:
 
1.     Joe Burrow (Bengals)
2.     Justin Herbert (Chargers)
3.     Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars)
4.     Marcus Mariota (Falcons)
5.     Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins).
 
Ok, now let’s consider the following ten marquee QBs. Many of them are former runners — and note that most of these veteran players now have huge salaries. I label them ‘mobile veterans’.  My list includes:
 
1.     Lamar Jackson (Ravens)
2.     Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
3.     Baker Mayfield (Panthers)
4.     Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
5.     Dak Prescott (Cowboys)
6.     Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
7.     Deshaun Watson (Browns)
8.     Carson Wentz (Commanders)
9.     Russell Wilson (Broncos)
10.   Jameis Winston (Saints).
 
My list is obviously predicting that a few past runners like Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray will be transitioning to 'mobile veterans'. My list contains several QBs whose teams crashed and burned after they went down with serious injuries — and yet, teams signed big contracts for these franchise players. Mobile veterans certainly can (and will) extend plays, but they and their teams are actively seeking ways to better protect these ‘high-priced assets’.  
 
In 2022, we will likely get more evidence on which players are truly altering their playing style — and we will learn if their teams' offensive potency falls off. In today’s NFL, just a little less offensive punch can profoundly affect team success.
 
With that in mind, let’s look at the exciting Week One schedule.  Here is the star-studded lineup — and my picks:
 
Home              Away               My Pick
 
Bills                 Rams               Bills                  Check!
Saints              Falcons            Falcons
Browns            Panthers          Panthers
49ers               Bears               49ers
Steelers           Bengals           Bengals
Eagles              Lions                Lions
Colts                Texans             Colts
Patriots           Dolphins          Dolphins
Ravens            Jets                  Jets
Jaguars            Commanders  Jaguars
Giants              Titans              Titans
Chiefs              Cardinals         Chiefs
Raiders            Chargers          Raiders
Packers            Vikings             Packers
Bucs                Cowboys         Bucs                SNF
Broncos           Seahawks        Broncos           MNF

Again, my 14 playoff picks are (alphabetically): NFC - Bucs, Cowboys, Eagles, Falcons, Packers, Rams, Saints. AFC - Bengals, Bills, Chiefs, Colts, Raiders, Ravens, Titans.
 
Fans: Walk, don’t run. Take your places — and enjoy!
 

Mill Woods

Posted on September 9, 2022 13:31

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Source: FOX Sports
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