Monday, August 8, 2022

Eagles’ Devon Allen loses shot at world track title after shocking DQ, plus Steelers training camp battles

Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

I’m not sure how it happened, but the offseason is officially over as rookies from both the Raiders and Bills are required to report to training camp today. That is not a typo. We have actual players reporting to training camp today, which means it’s time to give yourself a pat on the back for surviving one of the craziest offseasons in NFL history. You know what, give yourself two pats. 

By the end of Tuesday, there will be eight more teams who have their rookies in camp. On Wednesday, the Raiders will become the first team with all of their players in camp. On Thursday, I will be locking myself in a closet in an effort to come up with a foolproof fantasy strategy that will help me win the 17 leagues that I’m currently in.  

With that in mind, let’s get to the rundown. 

As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link.

1. Today’s show: Monday Mailbag

andrew-luck.jpg

Andrew Luck Getty Images

During the NFL offseason, we like to spice things up each week on the Pick Six Podcast by adding a listener mailbag every Monday. 

Our mailbag episodes are pretty simple: We read listener questions during the show and then answer as many of those questions as possible. Questions can be about literally anything. I mean, I’m pretty sure one time we were asked a question about what food we would eat if we could only eat one food for the rest of our lives. If we’ll answer that, trust me when I say that we’ll answer almost anything. 

Anyway, if you want to submit a question, all you have to do is go to Apple Podcasts (click here) and leave a five-star review that includes your question. 

Here’s one question that Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and I answered in today’s mailbag. 

Q: If Andrew Luck were to return to the NFL, where would you like to see him play and where would you rank him amongst the rest of the starting quarterbacks? Bonus question: If Luck did come back but was under contract with the Colts, what would you be willing to give up in a trade to get him on your team?

A: I’m pretty sure this is three questions in one, but we decided to answer all of them anyway. First, if Luck were to return to the NFL, I would be very curious to see what would happen if you put him in New England with Bill Belichick. If that happened, Belichick would probably end up coaching until he was 94 while also winning eight more Super Bowls. I also think Luck could have some major success with the Dolphins. We also all agreed that putting Luck on the Steelers would probably make them an instant Super Bowl contender. 

As for where Luck would rank among quarterbacks if he returned, he hasn’t played in three years, so I think it would be tough to rank him as a top-10 quarterback. He’s not going to come back and be at the top of his game, so I could see him being a top-15 QB in his first season back before shaking some rust off and slowly getting better from there. As for the trade part of the question, if I was a team that needed a QB, I would probably give up at least one first-round pick to land him, but I’m not sure I’d give up more than that because what if I trade for him and he decides to retire? Let’s not pretend like that can’t happen. 

If you want to listen to the rest of the mailbag, be sure to click here. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.

2. Eagles receiver loses shot at 110m hurdles world title after controversial disqualification 

Eagles receiver Devon Allen had a chance to win a world track title on Sunday night, but those chances went out the window after he got disqualified in the finals of the 110m hurdles at the World Athletic Championships in Eugene, Oregon. 

Here’s what happened at the event

  • Allen disqualified for a false start. Under the rules of the race, it’s considered a false start if you react to the starting gun less than .100 seconds after it goes off. Allen reacted to the gun at .099 seconds after it went off, which means if he had waited just ONE ONE-THOUSANDTH of a second longer (.001), he wouldn’t have been disqualified. You can see a video of the start by clicking here
  • The disqualification was shocking. If this sounds absurd, that’s because it was. Allen briefly pleaded his case, but he didn’t change anyone’s mind. So how do they know he broke the rules? The runners all use a digital starting block and that’s what detected that he left early, although he didn’t actually leave early. He left AFTER the starting gun went off, but again, you can’t leave within .100 of the gun going off. (The rule is in place to make sure runners don’t try to time their start with the gun. Instead, they’re supposed to react to it.) You can see a close-up video of the false start by clicking here, and if you watch, you’ll notice that it’s imperceptible. Allen was basically punished for having the perfect start. 
  • USA ended up taking home gold and silver. With Allen out, the U.S. still had a great showing with Grant Holloway (13.03 seconds) and Trey Cunningham (13.08) finishing first and second. Allen would have had a great chance of winning the race. Earlier in the day he had run a 13.09 in his semifinal heat. He also had the fastest time in the world this year — and third fastest in history — with a 12.84 that he ran in June
  • Allen now getting ready for football. Now that he’s done with track for the season, the former Oregon receiver is going to start focusing on trying to make the roster in Philadelphia. “My goal is to be the best hurdler ever and I still have a chance to do that, and my goal is to play in the NFL and help the Eagles win a Super Bowl right now,” Allen said after the race Sunday night, via Pro Football Talk. “There’s not really much I can do. It’s just one race, which is frustrating. Track and field is so difficult because you train a whole year for one race. It happens and I’ll learn from it.”

The Eagles rookies and veterans both report to training camp at the same time (July 26), which means Allen will have just over a week to relax before he has to turn his full attention to football. 

3. Three training camp battles to watch for the Steelers

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Kenny Pickett USATSI

Between now and July 26, all 32 teams will be reporting for training camp, which means between now and July 26, you better get mentally ready to read a lot about training camp battles. Speaking of those battles, we’re going to start things off by looking at three battles that will be taking place at Steelers training camp this year. 

Here’s the list of battles, which was put together by CBSSports.com’s Bryan DeArdo. 

  • QB: Mitchell Trubisky vs. Kenny Pickett. “Could the first-round pick be the team’s starting quarterback in Week 1? It’s extremely unlikely. It appears the Steelers’ plan is to start Trubisky while allowing Pickett time to observe from the sideline. Barring injury, the only way Pickett would likely be the Week 1 starter is if he vastly outplays his fellow quarterbacks this summer.”
  • Left guard: Kendrick Green vs. Kevin Dotson. “Left guard is Green’s natural position, so this won’t be asking him to do anything foreign. He played admirably at center last season, when he was asked the fill the shoes of eight-time Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey. Dotson has the edge as far as pro experience is concerned. The 2020 fourth-round pick has 23 games and 13 starts at left guard. Dotson is likely motivated to win the starting job following last year’s disappointing campaign. This should be a good position battle to watch throughout the summer.”
  • DE: Larry Ogunjobi vs. Chris Wormley. “It will be interesting to see if Ogunjobi (foot) will be ready to compete for the starting job at the start of camp. If he is healthy, the Steelers are getting a 28-year-old defensive lineman who is coming off a year that saw him record a career-high seven sacks with the Bengals. But if Ogunjobi is still working his way back from his injury, the Steelers are in good shape with Wormley, who also racked up a career-high seven sacks in 2021 while making 14 starts for the Steelers.”

To check out DeArdo’s full take on each of these battles, be sure to click here

4. Second-year players coming back from injury who could have a breakout year

There were several rookies last year who had high expectations going into the season, but they didn’t live up to those expectations due to injuries. Although these players struggled during their first year in the NFL, there’s a good chance we could see them bounce back to have a huge second year. 

With that in mind, CBSSports.com’s Chris Trapasso tried to pinpoint which of these second-year players has the best chance of having a breakout year in 2022. 

Let’s check out his list: 

  • Jaguars RB Travis Etienne (Games missed due to injury: 17): “The preseason injury as a rookie might have been a blessing in disguise — Etienne avoided the negative atmosphere derived from Urban Meyer and his coaching staff. Now he enters what, at the very least, will be a semi-competent coaching environment on a team with much more talent on it than it featured a season ago.”
  • Chargers DB Asante Samuel Jr(Games missed due to injury: five): “Two concussions curtailed a promising debut campaign for the legacy — Samuel Jr. still managed 11 pass breakups and two interceptions in 12 contests. His coverage brilliance was evident when he was on the field — for about 60% of the defensive snaps. This year, with a clean bill of health, Samuel will go from encouraging rookie to budding superstar in what should be a loaded-with-playmakers defense in Los Angeles.”
  • Giants WR Kadarius Toney (Games missed due to injury: seven): “Toney is a dazzling yards-after-the-catch play waiting to happen. He was barely fully healthy as a rookie yet managed a bulky 6.0 YAC per reception average, which tied for the eighth-highest figure among all qualifying receivers in football. That 6.0 YAC per reception figure was the same as Chris Godwin’s and Cooper Kupp’s, of course, at a much different volume. The former first-round pick will be viewed as one of the NFL’s most dynamic gadget-type weapons after his second season.”

If you want to check out Trapasso’s full list of players, be sure to click here

5. Retirement party: Two longtime NFL veterans are calling it quits

NFL: Super Bowl LIII-New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams

Jason McCourty USATSI

When it comes to retirement, it’s been a wild offseason with multiple longtime players calling it quits. We can now add two more players to the list after both Jason McCourty and Richie Incognito announced over the weekend that they would be retiring from the NFL. 

  • McCourty retires after 13 seasons. The cornerback started his career back in 2009 when the Titans made him a sixth-round pick. Although most players drafted that low don’t last long in the NFL, McCourty managed to play 13 seasons that included time with the Titans (2009-16), Browns (2017), Patriots (2018-20) and Dolphins (2021). McCourty won a Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2018, and it was probably extra sweet for him considering that just one year earlier, he had been playing for a Browns team THAT WENT 0-16. McCourty doesn’t have any Pro Bowls to his name, but he was a solid role player who racked up 18 interceptions in 173 career games. You can read more about McCourty’s NFL career by clicking here
  • Incognito decides to call it quits. After missing the 2021 season due to an injury, Incognito has decided to hang up his cleats for good instead of trying to make a comeback. Incognito had been in the NFL since 2005 when the Rams made him a third-round pick. The offensive lineman had a checkered career that included four Pro Bowls, but he was also suspended for the part he played in the Dolphins’ bullying scandal back in 2013. Incognito actually first retired in 2018, but after sitting out one season, he decided to make a comeback. In 2019, he signed with the Raiders, but ended up playing just 14 games with them over three seasons. For more on Incognito’s retirement, be sure to click here

Former Cowboys and Steelers receiver Ryan Switzer has also announced his retirement. Switzer made his name as a kickoff and punt returner during his five-year career. However, after missing the past two seasons due to injuries, he felt it was time to move on

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Texans reach settlement with 30 women over Deshaun Watson-related claims

It was a wild weekend in the NFL, and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you. 

  • Texans reach settlement with 30 women involved in Deshaun Watson case. With the Texans facing the possibility of being hit with several lawsuits related to the Deshaun Watson situation, the team decided to put it all behind them by settling 30 claims that were made or were going to be made by 30 different women. You can read more about the settlement by clicking here
  • Duane Brown charged with misdemeanor. The free agent offensive lineman has been charged with a misdemeanor following his arrest earlier this month at LAX. The five-time Pro Bowler was taken into custody on July 9 for allegedly trying to bring a concealed weapon into the airport. Brown was arrested after security found an unloaded gun in his luggage. 

  • Mike Zimmer apparently didn’t like Kirk Cousins. It’s hard for an NFL team to succeed when the head coach doesn’t get along with the starting QB, and apparently, that was the case in Minnesota over the past few years. According to former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber, Zimmer simply “didn’t like” Cousins and didn’t trust him. You can read Leber’s full comments by clicking here

  • Justin Jefferson says he’ll be the best receiver in the NFL after this year. Jefferson doesn’t believe he’s the best receiver in the NFL just yet, but he does think he will be by the end of the 2022 season. “I’ll say after this year I’ll be the best receiver in the NFL,” Jefferson told Complex in a recent interview. “I definitely have to give it to Davante Adams as of now, him being so crazy and dynamic on the field. His route running is crazy, so I definitely have to give it to him right now, but I’m pretty sure after this year, it’s going to be me.” It sounds like Jefferson has more faith in Cousins than Zimmer does. 
  • Browns likely to bring in another QB if Deshaun Watson gets suspended. If Deshaun Watson gets hit with a lengthy suspension, the Browns will almost certainly try to bring in another QB, according to Cleveland.com. The Browns are apparently comfortable with Jacoby Brissett as their starter, but it seems they want someone more experienced to serve as his backup. The third QB on the Browns’ roster is currently Joshua Dobbs, who has thrown just 17 career passes since being drafted in 2017. 

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