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NFL insider notes: It’s time to buy the Raiders, the major Dolphins flaws on display and more from Week 2

Are you shopping for the Las Vegas Raiders? I’m.

I do know, I’ve been down this highway earlier than. A few years again. Thought that they had turned the nook. Began to consider. However this feels completely different. Via two weeks within the NFL, it is exhausting to establish a staff that has been extra gutsy, resilient, opportunistic or – on offense – as prolific. Their 2-0 begin is as spectacular as any in soccer, going from slugging it out with Baltimore Monday evening, defeating the Ravens regardless of trailing 14-0. They overcome that loopy, late interception in the long run zone to persevere deep into time beyond regulation. On a brief week, they went throughout the nation, performed what felt like a ten a.m. kickoff, and went about systematically throttling a protection some thought could be one of the best in soccer to emerge with a cushty 26-17 win.

Wow.

Certain, there are some flaws. It is the NFL. Nothing is ideal.

This reconfigured offensive line has some points, and proper deal with is already in flux. Via two weeks they’ve barely run the soccer, with characteristic again Josh Jacobs extra of a decoy in opposition to the Ravens, who had been battling via accidents, and with him unable to go well with up Sunday. Las Vegas ran the ball 25 occasions for simply 52 yards after its operating backs may solely muster about 50 on the bottom in opposition to the Baltimore, too.

However Derek Carr (over 800 yards passing already) is taking part in wonderful soccer. He and Jon Gruden are conspiring to destroy defenses once they attempt to blitz (the Raiders seized management of this sport on a bomb to Henry Ruggs on a third-and-10 blitz-beater after doing so repeatedly in opposition to Baltimore, too), and even with the Steelers suffocating star tight finish Darren Waller within the first half, Carr nonetheless managed a balanced assault, hitting six completely different receivers. And with the Steelers with out T.J. Watt within the second half (groin), to go together with Tyson Alualu (who left with an ankle damage) and Stephon Tuitt (who didn’t go well with up), the Raiders appeared unstoppable.

Take into account that they rolled up 286 yards within the second half alone; this every week after placing 221 on Baltimore within the second half as they rallied Monday evening. This additionally seems to be a a lot improved protection, with Maxx Crosby trying like a Professional Bowl go rusher, Yannick Ngakoue again from a misplaced 2020, Jonathan Hankins anchoring the inside and defensive backs displaying higher potential to make performs on the ball.

These could find yourself being lower than one of the best of classic Ravens and Steelers groups, however the spirit the Raiders have additionally proven ought to assist carry them, they lastly have a home-field benefit once more and even in what seems to be a really powerful AFC West they’ve an opportunity to be a playoff staff. Vegas, child. Vegas.

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Dolphins‘ main flaws on show

The the reason why I used to be a Dolphins skeptic proceed to resonate Sunday after Sunday. The offensive line has main points in personnel, they’re shaky in protections and do not appear to have the solutions when essentially the most probing questions are requested by a protection. It is, frankly, a troublesome watch.

Individuals wish to level fingers at Tua, and his well being, however taking part in behind this unit can be an issue for anybody. And now that he may miss just a few video games, prepare for the true issues to start out. How can a staff throw the ball 44 occasions and never break 150 yards passing? Nowadays? The Dolphins in some way averages 3.1 yards per play Sunday in opposition to a Bills protection that ain’t the ’85 Bears.

Yeah, perhaps having two offensive coordinators wasn’t so good in any case.

Miami discovered a solution to win ugly at New England, nevertheless it’s exhausting to ascertain this offense occurring a heater, and even that victory was extra defensive in spirit than anything. It is early, however there may be purpose for concern. Need to surprise if Brian Flores, and his all the time itchy set off finger, already has some assistant coach (or PR individual, or assorted underling) in his sights.

Colts‘ empty journeys close to goal-line expensive

There have been a number of causes the Colts misplaced at dwelling to the Rams in a wierd sport. Dropping Carson Wentz on the finish harm, particularly with backup Jacob Eason shortly throwing a decide to cement the loss. Permitting Cooper Kupp (9 catches on 11 targets for 163 yards and two touchdowns) to run free all over every week after Tyler Lockett of the Seahawks did the identical factor to that zone protection harm, too.

However the Colts’ two early possessions through which they obtained in goal-to-go conditions, with nothing to indicate for it, in the end price them as a lot as something. In these two collection they ran six performs from throughout the Rams’ 3-yard line and produced zero yards, no factors, and turned the ball over on one of many ugliest interceptions you’ll ever see. Within the first collection they ran energy again Jonathan Taylor 4 straight occasions – three of them proper up the center – solely to by no means decide up a yard.

The following time down there the Colts ran Taylor inside once more on second-and-goal from the three, and had been stuffed as soon as extra. On the following play Wentz got here up with a weird shovel go to nobody (it seemed to be considerably no-look) that was simply intercepted. Even getting two discipline objectives in these occasion and so they in all probability win the sport. Choose up one and you might be taking part in in OT at dwelling. As an alternative, they’re 0-2 with two dwelling losses.

Jaguars‘ nice begin fizzles

The Jaguars opened the sport with a promising and shocking drive – marching 83 yards over 11 performs for a landing and taking 5:39 off the clock within the course of. Then this occurred on their ensuing drives, up till what quantity to rubbish time of their loss to Denver:

3 performs

-2

Punt

6 performs

2

Missed FG

3 performs

7

Punt

12 performs

40

Missed FG

3 performs

0

Punt

4 performs

19

INT

3 performs

6

Punt

7 performs

35

INT

By then it was 23-7 with about six minutes left, and this one was over. The Jaguars held the ball for simply 9:15, to 27:03 because the Broncos surged to the lead. Lengthy solution to go for the Jaguars.

Extra Week 2 insider notes

  • It wasn’t simply that Zach Wilson threw 4 picks, as a result of many people thought Invoice Belichick would give the rookie QB matches. But it surely was the truth that every appeared to worsen, or extra egregious, than the final that needed to give Jets followers pause. No disgrace in dropping to The Hoodie, however the fourth one was mainly a punt with no likelihood of going to anybody besides New England gamers. I stay uninspired by what I’ve seen of the Patriots so far, and they’re actually being tremendous conservative about how they use rookie Mac Jones, but when nothing else they’ve the Jets’ quantity … 
  • The Steelers offense will not be going to get a lot better anytime quickly. Ben Roethlisberger is what he’s, they will not push the ball downfield with a lot frequency of conviction, the operating sport stays an issue and Large Ben is already making feedback concerning the new offensive coordinator that may generate loads of consideration in Western Pennsylvania. If that protection loses impression gamers for any time period, this is not going to be a standard Steelers season … 
  • I nonetheless do not see this Payments offense trying like final 12 months’s. Yeah, they blew out a divisional foe by 35 factors, however issues aren’t coming almost as simply for Josh Allen as they appeared to a 12 months in the past as he flirted with an MVP award, and that offensive line could be an issue … 
  • Hats off to the Texans, who’re taking part in a lot better and more durable than I believed they may. The Browns protection has some issues to repair.      



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