Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Cowboys, Buccaneers headline five teams primed to take a step back, plus Giants to wear throwbacks in 2022

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

If you’re the type of person who likes a good countdown, then I have some big news for you: As of today, there are just 50 days until the start of the NFL season, which means you can officially start counting down now. 

The NFL season is so close that I can taste it. Actually, that might just be the waffles I had for breakfast, but who knows. If you read this newsletter regularly, then you probably know that the Wednesday newsletter is usually written by Cody Benjamin, but he’s taking the day off to celebrate the fact that we’re just 50 days away from actual football. Cody is also celebrating the fact that the Raiders veterans are reporting to training camp today, which will make them the first team with all their players in camp. Cody loves to celebrate things. I’m actually surprised he doesn’t take more days off. 

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. Let’s get to the rundown. 

1. Today’s show: Predicting five teams that will take a step back in 2022

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Tom Brady Getty Images

The start of training camp is usually a time of hope for every fan base in the NFL, but don’t tell that to Ryan Wilson and Will Brinson, who spent today’s episode of the Pick Six podcast trying to destroy any and all hope for five different NFL fan bases heading into the 2022 season. 

If there’s one guarantee in the NFL every season, it’s that some teams are going to be worse than they were last year, so Wilson and Brinson spent today’s show trying to pinpoint who those teams will be. 

Here’s their list of teams they expect to take a step back in 2022: 

Remember, just because a team is on this list doesn’t necessarily mean the team is going to be bad; it just means Brinson and Wilson expect them to be worse than they were last year. 

If you’re wondering why the Buccaneers are on the list, you can thank Wilson. 

“I’m going all-in on the Buccaneers as a team that regresses. I mean, it has to happen at some point,” Wilson said. 

Wilson then went on to list several things to help prove his point: Rob Gronkowski is gone, their starting running back is currently 30 pounds overweight (Leonard Fournette), and one of their best receivers is coming off ACL surgery (Chris Godwin). Not to mention, they also lost both of their starting guards from last season, and Tom Brady is going to be 45 (he has to get worse at some point). 

Personally, I do think the Buccaneers will make the playoffs, but I don’t think Wilson’s take is completely crazy. If they only win 11 games in 2022, that would be considered taking a step back and I could easily see that happen. 

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

2. Three questions each AFC East team must answer before the start of the season 

With rookies from the Bills, Jets, Dolphins and Patriots all now in training camp, the AFC East has officially become the first division in the NFL where all four teams have at least one group of players at camp. So what does this mean? It means that now is the perfect time to take a look at a few key questions each AFC East team needs to answer during camp.

CBSSports.com’s Tyler Sullivan came up with three questions for each team, but I don’t want to spoil his entire article, so we’re only going to cover one of his questions for each team here. 

  • Bills: How will going from Brian Daboll to Ken Dorsey change the offense? “Arguably the biggest change in Buffalo comes at the offensive coordinator spot. Daboll was widely considered to be one of the better offensive play callers in the NFL during his tenure and credited for helping Josh Allen ascend to an MVP-caliber quarterback. So, what does this change to Dorsey do to this high-powered unit? This is his first crack as an OC, so it’ll be fascinating to see what the offense will look like with his fingerprints on it.”
  • Patriots: Do they have enough at corner? “New England has seen quite the talent drain at corner over the past calendar year. Heading into camp last season, the team had J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore atop the depth chart. Now, Gilmore has since been traded and recently signed with the Colts, while Jackson inked a monster deal with the Chargers. That leaves the Patriots with not a lot to work with, as Malcolm Butler and Jalen Mills are the top two options on the outside.”
  • Dolphins: Is Tua Tagovailoa ready to lead this high-speed offense“Miami went all in on improving the roster this offseason to give themselves a fair and honest look at Tagovailoa. The addition of Hill and star left tackle Terron Armstead are just some of the moves that should allow the quarterback to have success in first-year head coach Mike McDaniel’s system. How quickly he can get a rapport with these new weapons and grasp this new offense will be an important hurdle for him to impress out of the gate and prove to the organization that he is the guy to build around.”
  • Jets: Can Zach Wilson take a leap in Year 2? “The Jets brass would rather see their former No. 2 overall pick make headlines for his improvement on the field rather than the ones he’s been making in the offseason. While the expectations for the Jets as a team are not particularly high for 2022, Wilson’s development will be center stage. If he puts together a mediocre camp, that could start the year off with the young QB facing some serious questions about if he is the one to help bring New York to relevancy.”

To check out all three questions for each team, be sure to click here so you can read the rest of Sullivan’s story

3. Three training camp battles to watch for the Eagles

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Nakobe Dean Getty Images

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 because we’re going to be spending a lot time talking about them. 

Today, we’re going take a look at three battles that will be taking place at Eagles training camp this year. 

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

  • Linebacker: Nakobe Dean vs. T.J. Edwards. “The Eagles are going to have an intriguing competition for the middle linebacker role, but this job will ultimately be determined by how Dean, a first-round talent who fell to the third round because of confusion regarding a pectoral muscle injury, develops. Dean has been learning the MIKE and WILL positions in minicamp, giving the Eagles options in how they can use him in their defense. If Edwards doesn’t start, he’ll have a valuable role on this unit as a backup at the MIKE to Dean. He’ll be on this team, but it will be interesting to see how Edwards fits in if the Eagles want Dean on the field as much as possible.”
  • Right guard: Isaac Seumalo vs. Jack Driscoll/Cam Jurgens. “Seumalo is a valuable asset on the offensive line, with the ability to play guard, center and tackle (started a game there his rookie year), but injuries over the past few seasons have been a deterrent toward his long-term future with the franchise. Seumalo has played just 12 games over the last two seasons and has a cap number of $7.668 million in 2022 — the final year of his deal. The Eagles have a cheaper option in Driscoll, who has played well at right guard over the past couple of seasons. If Jurgens develops as a guard this preseason, don’t rule him out of the mix for the job.”
  • No. 3 receiver and WR depth: Quez Watkins vs. Zach Pascal/Jalen Reagor/Greg Ward/Devon Allen. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith have the top-two wide receiver spots on lock, but which player will be the No. 3 wideout? How will the rest of the depth chart play out? Watkins and Pascal are locks to make the roster, but where they fit on the depth chart is to be determined. Allen, who made the final at the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships this month and has the third-fastest 110-meter hurdles time in history, is an intriguing prospect with his speed. The Eagles will use training camp and the preseason to see if Allen’s speed translates to a role on special teams. “

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

4. Giants to wear throwback helmet and uniform in 2022

It’s been more than 10 years since the New York Giants have won a playoff game, so they’re trying to jumpstart things this year by bringing back a blast from their past. The Giants announced Wednesday that they’ll be rocking a throwback uniform for two games this season. 

If you’d like to see what this new throwback combination looks like, you can check out some photos by clicking here

Here are a few details on the throwback look:

  • Giants going with a classic look. The Giants will be bringing back the uniform they wore from 1980 to 1999, which seems to be the uniform that fans in New York love the most. The classic look will also include a a throwback helmet. When the Giants wore their classic uniform, the look included a navy helmet, and that same navy color will be making a return this year. The helmet will also say “GIANTS” on the side instead of “NY,” which is what the team currently wears.  
  • The classic look will be worn twice. The Giants will be breaking out their throwback uniform for two games this year. The first time will come in Week 4 when they wear the uniform in a game against the Bears (Oct. 2). The Giants will also wear the uniform in a Week 13 game against the Commanders (Dec. 4), so be sure to mark your calendar now. 
  • The Giants are the seventh team to announce an alternate helmet. Now that the NFL is allowing teams to wear an alternate helmet, everyone seems to be taking advantage of it. Besides the Giants, the other six teams with a new helmet are the Panthers (black helmet), Bengals (white tiger helmet), Texans (red helmet), Patriots (white helmet), Saints (black helmet) and Falcons (red helmet).

According to UniWatch, there could be as many as 15 teams that end up wearing an alternate helmet for at least one game in 2022, so don’t be surprised if we hear a few more announcements over the next few weeks.

5. Major NFL milestones that can be reached in 2022: Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes among players on brink of history

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Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady USATSI

After more than 20 years in the NFL, it doesn’t seem like there are any records for Tom Brady left to break, but after doing some digging this week, CBSSports.com’s Jeff Kerr found out that there are actually plenty of records left for Brady to break. 

Kerr came up with a list of multiple milestones that can be reached this year by several players, and that list starts with Brady.

Milestones Tom Brady can reach

  • Needs at least 5,000 passing yards to join Drew Brees (2011-2013) as the only players in NFL history to record 5,000 passing yards in consecutive seasons and can join Brees (five seasons) as the only players with at least 5,000 passing yards in three different seasons.
  • Needs at least 4,000 passing yards to tie Peyton Manning (14 seasons) for the most such seasons in NFL history. 
  • Needs 2,431 passing yards to become the first player in NFL history with 100,000 career passing yards, including the postseason. Brady enters the season with 97,569 career passing yards.
  • Needs at least 40 touchdown passes to become the first player in NFL history to record 40 touchdown passes in three consecutive seasons and can become the first player with at least 40 touchdown passes in four different seasons. 

Milestones Aaron Rodgers can reach

  • Needs 40 touchdown passes to become the first player ever with at least 40 touchdown passes in four different seasons.
  • Needs 35 touchdown passes to become the first player ever with at least 35 touchdown passes in seven different seasons.
  • Winning MVP would give him five MVP awards, which would tie Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history. 

Milestones Justin Herbert can reach

  • Needs 30 touchdown passes to surpass Dan Marino (98) for the most by a player through his first three seasons in NFL history.
  • Needs 3,608 passing yards to surpass Andrew Luck (12,957) for the most by a player through his first three seasons in NFL history. Herbert has 9,350 passing yards in his first two seasons. 
  • Needs 4,000 passing yards to become the first player ever to record at least 4,000 passing yards in each of his first three seasons.

Milestones Justin Jefferson can reach

  • Needs 1,148 receiving yards to surpass Randy Moss (4,163) for the most receiving yards by a player through his first three seasons in NFL history. Jefferson has 3,016 receiving yards in his first two seasons. 
  • Needs 1,400 receiving yards to become the first player ever to accomplish the feat in each of his first three seasons.

Kerr actually took a look at milestones that can be reached by TWENTY different players this year, and you can check out every single one of those milestones by clicking here

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Sean Payton sounds pretty sure that he’ll return to coaching at some point 

It’s been a wild 24 hours 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. 

  • Sean Payton confirms that he’ll likely return to coaching. Last week, there was a report that Payton would be interested in coaching the Dolphins, Chargers and Cowboys. This week, Payton actually got interviewed about a possible return to coaching, and although he didn’t confirm his interest in any specific team, he did say that he would more than likely “get back” into coaching at some point. You can check out his interview by clicking here
  • Raiders led NFL in ticket revenue. The Raiders’ move to Las Vegas definitely paid off last season. According to Sportico, the Raiders had the NFL’s highest ticket revenue in 2021. Although it was their second season in Vegas, it marked the first year that fans were allowed to attend games. Getting drunk in Vegas and spending money will always go hand and hand. On the other end of the spectrum, the Lions had the lowest ticket revenue of any team in the league. 

  • Bengals expand Ring of Honor. The Bengals created a Ring of Honor for the first time last year, and now that Ring has two more members. The team announced Wednesday that Isaac Curtis and Willie Anderson will both be inducted later this year. 
  • Falcons defensive lineman retires after just 14 days with team. Eddie Goldman didn’t last long with the Falcons. Less than two weeks after signing with Atlanta, the former Bears defensive lineman won’t actually end up playing a snap with them because he’s decided to retire. Goldman spent his entire six-year playing career with the Bears after Chicago made him a second-round pick in 2015. 

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