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Volume 22, #30 -- Sunday Night, May 17th, 2020
Quarterback Notes, Team Reports and MORE

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Howdy Folks,

Good Monday to you.

It might have been weird, but I've never been happier to see NASCAR and Golf on TV. I hope you're safe and well and let's keep things going in the right direction.

We've got four more of our Team Reports today and if you haven't dug in there yet, get on it. It's good stuff and they'll only get better through the spring and summer.

Plus of course the News and Notes you need.

Let's do this.

J

SITE NEWS

A. Chicago Bears Team Report
The Footballguys Staffers dive deep on the Bears. Foles or Trubisky? David Montgomery ready for the next step? Gas left in the tank for Jimmy Graham? All that and tons more.

Offensive Players by Chad Parsons
Defensive Players by Aaron Rudnicki
Team Philosophy and Returners by Adam Harstad
Kickers and Team Defense by Sigmund Bloom Offensive Line by Matt Bitonti

B. San Francisco 49ers Team Report
The Footballguys Staffers dive deep on the 49ers. Is Jimmy Garoppolo enough? Can Raheem Mostert keep it going? George Kittle the best TE in the game? All that and tons more.

Offensive Players by Justin Howe
Defensive Players by Sigmund Bloom
Team Philosophy and Returners by Adam Harstad
Kickers and Team Defense by Sigmund Bloom
Offensive Line by Matt Bitonti

C. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team Report
The Footballguys Staffers dive deep on the Buccaneers. What to make of Tom Brady? Mike Evans or Chris Godwin or both? How will the TE's shake out? All that and tons more.

Offensive Players by Chad Parsons
Defensive Players by Dave Larkin
Team Philosophy and Returners by Adam Harstad
Kickers and Team Defense by Sigmund Bloom
Offensive Line by Matt Bitonti

D. Tennessee Titans Team Report
The Footballguys Staffers dive deep on the Titans. Is Ryan Tannehill for real? Can Derrick Henry keep the pace? Can Jonnu Smith deliver? All that and tons more.

Offensive Players by Daniel Simpkins
Defensive Players by Daniel Simpkins
Team Philosophy and Returners by Adam Harstad
Kickers and Team Defense by Sigmund Bloom
Offensive Line by Matt Bitonti


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1. SEA - QB Russell Wilson deadly on seven-step drops

Source: USA TODAY - Doug Farrar

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson completed 23 of his 30 pass attempts for 450 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions on seven-step drops in 2019. Those marks allowed him to post a league-best 157.6 passer rating on seven-step drops.

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Wilson is deadly on such drops because his athleticism can buy him more time if he needs too. A seven-step drop takes time to develop as a quarterback looks for his man downfield. Wilson can buy himself more time with his legs if something is not open when he gets to the end of his drop.

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2. KC - WR Mecole Hardman a YAC monster

Source: Sports Info Solutions

Kansas City Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman averaged 11.5 yards after the catch per reception in 2019 - the highest average for any player with at least 25 catches.

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That's what Hardman does. He's got the speed to get by a defense but he can turn short passes into long gains because his speed is sometimes faster than angles defenders are trying to take to stop him.

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3. NYG - QB Daniel Jones rocked on RPOs as a rookie

Source: USA TODAY - Doug Farrar

New York Giants QB Daniel Jones completed 15 of his 18 pass attempts on run-pass options (RPOs) for 140 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in 2019, making him the most efficient thrower on such plays per USA TODAY's Doug Farrar.

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Jones has the athleticism where RPOs work effectively. It's a new system for Jones this year with former head coach Pat Shurmur fired (now running the Broncos offense), so we'll see how much RPO the Giants continue to use.

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4. CLE - QB Baker Mayfield exceptional on designed rollouts

Source: USA TODAY - Doug Farrar

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield completed 16 of his 20 pass attempts for 285 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions on designed rollouts in 2019.

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This sounds like the Browns should get Mayfield on more designed rollouts in 2020. The team worked diligently to improve the blocking in front of him and we could see Mayfield as a bounce-back player in 2020 because of that.

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5. MIN - QB Kirk Cousins made it happen on play-action

Source: ESPN.com - Matt Bowen

Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins threw for a league-high 13 touchdowns on play-action passes in 2019, according to USA TODAY's Doug Farrar.

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It's a Gary Kubiak system with the Vikings, so of course it features a ton of play action. Cousins is capable of faking a handoff then rolling out to find his receiver. This offense gives the quarterback three options (throw deep, throw short, run) on one side of the field (the rollout side) regularly. When executed properly, it's a tough offense to defend.

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6. LAR - QB Jared Goff an oddity in today's game

Source: USA TODAY - Doug Farrar

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff (68) was the only NFL quarterback in 2019 to attempt more than 50 passes on seven-step drops in 2019, according to USA TODAY's Doug Farrar.

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That's not something that happens much anymore. It used to be a staple in the NFL, but seven-step drops take time to develop and pass-rushers are getting too good in the NFL. The Rams use a West Coast system and that leans on running the ball effectively. If you can do that, those seven-step drops could be more fruitful.

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7. TEN - Three-step drops suit QB Ryan Tannehill

Source: USA TODAY - Doug Farrar

Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill completed 96 of his 138 pass attempts for 1,356 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions on three-step drops in 2019. Those marks allowed him to post a league-best 123.9 passer rating on three-step drops.

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Three-step drops allow Tannehill to make quick decisions with the ball. The Titans run the ball really well and that usually makes defenses pay more attention to Derrick Henry. When Tannehill has to throw, the team likes to make things quick and decisive for the veteran quarterback.

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8. MIA - QB Ryan Fitzpatrick on point in the red zone

Source: ESPN.com - Matt Bowen

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick posted an 89.8 QBR in the red zone in 2019 - good for third among NFL quarterbacks - according to ESPN's Matt Bowen.

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We'll see how long Fitzpatrick can stay the starter for the Dolphins. They selected potential franchise quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft and he could take over for Fitzpatrick at some point this season. In fact, there's a chance that Tagovailoa wins the starting job for the Dolphins in training camp.

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9. GB - QB Aaron Rodgers aired it out in 2019

Source: ESPN.com - Matt Bowen

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers attempted 88 passes that traveled at least 20 yards in the air in 2019 - second only to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston (102) - according to ESPN's Matt Bowen.

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Rodgers wanted to make big plays happen with his arm last year...and pretty much every year of his pro career. The Packers didn't add talent around him in the wide receiving corps during the draft so he'll be trying to go deep with the same players around him as last year pretty much.

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10. NO - QB Drew Brees torched man and zone last season

Source: ESPN.com - Matt Bowen

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees was one of three quarterbacks to finish inside the top five in QBR against man coverage (78.6; fourth) and versus zone coverage (72.5; fifth) in 2019, according to ESPN's Matt Bowen.

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That's what Brees does...he torches defenses. Some may say Brees is not quite the quarterback he used to be and that's fine, Father Time catches up with everyone. However, Brees is still a top-tier passer and this type of success against man or zone coverage should continue this season.

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11. DET - Defense matters little to QB Matthew Stafford

Source: ESPN.com - Matt Bowen

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford was one of three quarterbacks to finish inside the top five in QBR against man coverage (78.5; fifth) and versus zone coverage (77.6; third), according to ESPN's Matt Bowen.

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Stafford needs to stay healthy this year for the Lions to get things on track with head coach Matt Patricia. He's a franchise quarterback who has not had much around him in terms of a complete team during his pro career. This season has to be a make-or-break year for Patricia, and it could go a long way in determining the future of Stafford in Detroit too.

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12. KC - QB Patrick Mahomes picked apart zones in 2019

Source: ESPN.com - Matt Bowen

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes posted an NFL-best 88.7 QBR versus zone coverage in 2019, according to ESPN's Matt Bowen.

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Mahomes isolates and eliminates quickly...the greatest traits you can have as a quarterback. Even before the snap, Mahomes is able to diagnose/anticipate coverage and isolate where he wants to go with the ball. Zone defenses (and most defenses) are helpless against the Chiefs superstar.

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13. BAL - Man coverage no match for QB Lamar Jackson

Source: ESPN.com - Matt Bowen

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson posted an NFL-best 91.0 QBR versus man coverage in 2019, according to ESPN's Matt Bowen.

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Jackson is a good passer who is only getting better. Man coverage has to stay on an island with the Ravens receivers while Jackson uses his athleticism to buy time and look for the right throw. That's why Jackson is so deadly against that type of coverage.

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14. LVR - QB Derek Carr burned the blitz in 2019

Source: ESPN.com - Matt Bowen

Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr posted an NFL-best 95.9 QBR against the blitz (defined as any play when the defense rushed five or more players) in 2019. Carr also led all quarterbacks in completion percentage (71.6) and yards per attempt (11.11) against the blitz.

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Carr played well when he was under duress in 2019. His spot at the top of the depth chart is under duress this offseason as the Raiders added Marcus Mariota in free agency. We'll see Carr and Mariota compete for the top spot in training camp.

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15. LAR - Van Jefferson close to full strength

Source: The Athletic - Rich Hammond

Los Angeles Rams WR Van Jefferson (foot) said he is 90 percent healthy following surgery on his foot.

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Jefferson is the type of player who could have a better pro career than he did as a collegian. Bad quarterback play limited his production at Florida, and the Rams are hoping they got a value pick with Jefferson in the second round. Jefferson is a deep target who has late hands and tracks the ball well over his shoulder.

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16. MIN - Chad Beebe at full strength

Source: The Athletic - Chad Graff

Minnesota Vikings WR Chad Beebe (ankle) is 'back healthy again' following ankle surgery, according to head coach Mike Zimmer.

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The Vikings added Justin Jefferson in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. They also added veteran Tajae Sharpe in free agency earlier this year. If Beebe makes the team it will be as a special teams player and end-of-the-bench wide receiver.

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17. LVR - WR Nelson Agholor now a backup?

Source: The Athletic - Tashan Reed

Las Vegas Raiders WR Nelson Agholor will likely move to a backup role following the addition of WR Henry Ruggs III, according to Tashan Reed of The Athletic.

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Agholor is a seasoned veteran but you don't really need him at the top of the depth chart. He can provide valuable experience and work in four-WR sets when the Raiders need him to. Ruggs, Tyrell Williams and slot WR Hunter Renfrow are the top three targets for Las Vegas.

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18. MIN - Two QBs to compete for one spot

Source: ESPN.com - Jamison Hensley

Minnesota Vikings QBs Nate Stanley and Jake Browning are expected to compete for the No. 3 quarterback job during training camp.

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The Vikings are set with Kirk Cousins as the starter. His primary backup is Sean Mannion and there's no pushing him out of that spot. Stanley was a strong-armed seventh-round pick out of Iowa in the 2019 NFL draft and is a player we've been monitoring in crazy deep dynasty formats.

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19. IND - Michael Pittman should be red zone target

Source: ESPN.com - Mike Wells

Indianapolis Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. likely will be a popular red zone target for the Colts this upcoming season because of his size.

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Pittman is a huge target and that alone makes him a threat near pay dirt. He has a large wingspan and can play 'above the rim' and some are comparing him to former Chargers WR Vincent Jackson. That's important to note with what Jackson did with new Colts QB Philip Rivers. We'll see how Pittman measures up to the former Pro Bowler in 2020.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J