Tuesday, September 27, 2022

NFL preseason winners and losers from Week 1, plus the Jets could lose Zach Wilson for at least a month

Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

If you’ve ever read this newsletter and wondered, “Man, the guy who writes this is awesome, I’d love to talk to him,” I have some great news: you actually can! Starting today, you can bid on a chance to have a 10-minute Zoom call with me. The auction is for our annual CBS Sports telethon that raises money for St. Jude, so all the money from the auction will be going to charity. 

If you want to bid, all you have to do is click here. I like talking to myself, so I might even bid. If you have the winning bid, we can literally talk about anything during our conversation from your favorite team to your favorite brand of laundry detergent or we can sit down together and try to figure out what in the heck happened on last night’s finale of “Westworld.” I’m open to anything. 

Last year, the winning bid went for more than $1,000 — it was the highest at CBS Sports — but this year, it’s much more affordable. (The opening bid is just $10.)

Alright, that’s enough of that, 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

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears

Justin Fields USATSI

During the NFL offseason, we like to spice things up each week on the Pick Six Podcast by adding a listener mailbag every Monday, and just because the preseason is here doesn’t mean these mailbags will be going away anytime soon. As a matter of fact, there are actually going to be two mailbags this week! 

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 someone once asked us how many state capitals we could name without using Google. 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 for today’s show.

Q: I know the season hasn’t started, but which five teams are already doomed for 2022 and have absolutely zero chance of making the playoffs?

We spent way longer debating this question than I thought we would and that’s mostly because we couldn’t unanimously agree on five teams. That being said, Wilson, Brinson and I did agree on three teams that have a zero chance of making the playoffs: the Texans, Falcons and Bears. If any of those three teams end up making the postseason, please remember to throw this episode of the podcast back in our face. 

As for the other two teams that I don’t think have a shot at the playoffs, those are the Jaguars and Seahawks. I actually think the Jags could be decent this year, but I don’t think they’ll be competitive enough to finish ahead of either the Titans or Colts. On Seattle’s end, even if Pete Carroll somehow works a miracle this year, it’s hard to envision the Seahawks beating out the Rams, 49ers and Cardinals for a playoff spot in the NFC West. 

Wilson and Brinson had the Panthers on their list of teams with a zero chance to make the postseason, but I refused to jump on their anti-Panthers bandwagon. I don’t necessarily think the Panthers are going to make the playoffs this year, but I would put their chances WAY above zero percent. I mean, they play in a division where the team favored to win it doesn’t even have a starting QB right now because he’s on a hiatus. The second best-team has a QB who’s currently injured in Jameis Winston and then there’s the Falcons, who don’t feel like a threat to anyone. The NFC South just feels like a division that could give us a surprise this year, and the Panthers getting to the playoffs would definitely qualify as a surprise. 

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. Injury roundup: Zach Wilson to miss several weeks, Browns lose their starting center

There’s a good reason why a lot of coaches end up benching their starters in the preseason and that’s because they don’t want to risk anyone getting injured. Jets QB Zach Wilson is the latest example of why it can be a risk to put your best players on the field. 

The Jets quarterback suffered an injury over the weekend that could keep him out for nearly a month. Here’s what we know:

  • Wilson will likely miss two to four weeks. The Jets QB has a bone bruise and torn meniscus in his right knee, and those two injuries are expected to sideline him for up to four weeks. However, it could be even longer. According to NFL.com, the Jets won’t know the exact extent of the injury until the doctor goes in for surgery, which will be happening Tuesday. 
  • Week 1 could turn into a revenge game for Joe Flacco. If Wilson is out exactly four weeks, that almost certainly means he’ll be out for the Jets’ opener. If that happens, the Jets will likely turn to Joe Flacco, who would get to play against the Ravens. Flacco tried to downplay what it would mean to face his former team, but he also admitted that it would definitely be different. “I’m going to try to make sure it’s not the biggest deal in the world, but at the same time, I’ve been through it enough, I’ve seen guys go through it,” Flacco said. “It’s a different thing.”
  • Other options for the Jets. If it turns out that Wilson is going to be out for more than four weeks, the Jets could try to pull off a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, but that would only make sense if Wilson was going to miss a month or two of the season. Right now, it doesn’t look like he’ll be out that long, but again, no one will know for sure until he undergoes surgery on Tuesday. 
  • Browns also suffer a big injury. Browns starting center Nick Harris had to be carted off the field against the Jaguars on Friday, and it looks like he won’t be returning anytime soon. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said over the weekend that Harris will likely miss the entire season due to a right knee injury. 

If the Browns end up signing a center, one option could be JC Tretter. The veteran served as the Browns’ starting center for the past five seasons before being released in March. Tretter is still a free agent, and trying to re-sign him could make a lot of sense for the Browns. 

3. NFL preseason Week 1: Ranking the debut of each rookie QB

kenny-pickett.jpg

Kenny Pickett USATSI

I’m not going to sit here and say this past weekend gave us the most exciting opening preseason week in NFL history. Actually, you know what, I just changed my mind, I am going to say it: This was the most exciting opening preseason week in NFL history.

One reason it was so good was because of the play of the rookie quarterbacks. We saw eight of them take the field and most of them actually looked impressive. Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder and Matt Corral all led a game-winning drive over the weekend, although I’m not sure we should count Corral’s since he didn’t actually do anything. The Panthers rookie went 0-for-4 throwing the ball on Carolina’s game-winning drive. (The Panthers got 20 rushing yards and 20 yards in Washington penalties to get into field goal range.)

On the other hand, Pickett was the hero of the Steelers‘ win, throwing a 24-yard TD pass with just three seconds left to play to give Pittsburgh a 32-25 win over Seattle. 

If you didn’t get to watch every rookie quarterback play over the weekend, don’t worry, we have you covered here. Jeff Kerr decided to rank each player’s debut. 

Here is Kerr’s ranking (along with their game-ending numbers): 

1. Kenny Pickett, Steelers: 13 of 15 for 195 yards, 2 TDs — three rushes for 16 yards

2. Desmond Ridder, Falcons: 10 of 22 for 103 yards, 2 TDs — six rushes for 59 yards

3. Malik Willis, Titans: 6 of 11 for 107 yards — five rushes for 38 yards, 1 TD

4. Skylar Thompson, Dolphins: 20 of 28 for 218 yards, 1 TD — three rushes for 25 yards

5. Sam Howell Commanders: 9 of 16 for 145 yards — three rushes for 19 yards and 2 TDs

6. Bailey Zappe, Patriots: 19 of 32 for 205 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT — one carry for two yards

7. Brock Purdy, 49ers: 3 of 6 for 36 yards, 1 TD — three rushes for -4 yards

8. Matt Corral Panthers: 1 of 9 for 11 yards — one carry for six yards

One thing to keep in mind here is that it’s almost impossible to figure out who’s going to be good based on one game in the preseason. For instance, Pickett only played in the second half, which means he was facing the bottom of the Seahawks’ defensive roster. On the other hand, Thompson played the entire game for the Dolphins, which means he was facing slightly tougher competition for at least the first half of his game. 

Anyway, if you want to check out our full look at how each rookie QB played this weekend, then be sure to click here

4. Winners and losers from Week 1 of the NFL preseason

Every week during the preseason, we’ll be creating a winners and losers list, and we started that process today with a list to cover Week 1. One beauty of the preseason is that the standings don’t matter. Just because a team or player lost over the weekend doesn’t mean they can’t end up on our winner’s list. 

With that in mind, let’s check out Tyler Sullivan’s list of winners and losers. 

WINNERS

  • Doug Pederson. “The change from Urban Meyer to Doug Pederson will be looked at as one of the biggest additions of last offseason. Already, the Jaguars are looking like a more well-run organization with a capable head coach manning the sidelines and, most importantly, Trevor Lawrence looks to be back on track.”
  • Jalen Hurts. “We all know that Jalen Hurts is a menace with his legs, but there is still some questions surrounding his ability as a passer. Well, in Philadelphia’s preseason opener, he showed that he may be taking a big leap in that aspect of his game in 2022. In his lone series of the night against New York, Hurts was dynamite as a passer, completing all six of his throws for 80 yards and a touchdown to tight end Dallas Goedert.”
  • Lions first-team offense. “The Hard Knock stars came out of the gate strong in the preseason opener against the Falcons and looked like a well-oiled machine on offense. Jared Goff was 3-of-4 passing for 47 yards, with his long incompletion coming on a drop from running back Jamaal Williams. Second-year wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown picked up where he left off last season, catching both of his targets from Goff for 29 yards, while running back D’Andre Swift rushed for 20 yards on four carries, including a nine-yard touchdown run.”

LOSERS

  • Deshaun Watson. “For the first time in 19 months, Deshaun Watson played in an NFL game and didn’t exactly look like the $230 million quarterback that the Browns traded for. After publicly apologizing for his off-the-field actions to CBS Sports’ Aditi Kinkhabwala, Watson took the field and had some noticeable rust, completing just one of five passes for seven yards.”
  • Bears offensive line. “One of the bigger concerns with the Chicago Bears is the offensive line’s ability to keep second-year quarterback Justin Fields upright. In the preseason opener against the Chiefs, the grouping that got the start didn’t do much to ease those worries. In the early stages of the game, Chicago’s O-line seemed to let Chiefs defenders find their way into the backfield and disrupt plays quite a bit. Fields was also sacked twice, and the offense punted on all three of his drives to open the game in part because of that poor play up front.”
  • Kenny Golladay. “Kenny Golladay has yet to live up to the $72 million contract he signed with the Giants last offseason, and he didn’t start his preseason on a positive note, either. In New York’s first exhibition of the summer against the Patriots, Golladay was only able to bring in one of his three targets on the night and seemed to really struggle creating separation.”

For a full look at Sullivan’s complete list of winners and losers, be sure to click here

5. Deion Sanders has a major complaint about the Pro Football Hall of Fame

deion-sanders.jpg

Deion Sanders Getty Images

It’s not often you hear a Pro Football Hall of Famer complain about the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but that’s exactly what Deion Sanders did over the weekend. Apparently, the former NFL star thinks it’s too easy to get into the HOF. 

Let’s take a look at what Sanders had to say:

  • Sanders doesn’t think it’s the ‘Hall of Fame’ anymore. “The Hall of Fame ain’t the Hall of Fame no more,” Sanders said. “I love it, I respect it, I admire it. I think all the guys who are inducted are definitely deserving, but it needs to be a different color jacket. My jacket’s gotta be a different color.”
  • Sanders seems to think the Hall is becoming watered down. Deion thinks that only players who have “changed the game” should be in the Hall. “That’s what the Hall of Fame is, a game-changer,” Sanders said. “Not ‘I played good, I had a good little run. I gave you three or four good years.”http://www.cbssports.com/”

  • Deion apparently wants to create a Super Hall of Fame. If you have a complaint about something, it’s also helpful to propose a solution and Deion did exactly that. Sanders thinks the Hall of Fame should create a top tier of Hall of Famers that would only feature 22 players (11 starters on offense and 11 on defense). “There needs to be a starting 11, there needs to be an upper room,” Sanders said. “My [bust] don’t belong with some of these other [busts] that’s in the Hall of Fame. I’m sorry, I’m just being honest. I’m just saying what you all are thinking and a lot of you all Hall of Famers are thinking the same thing. This thing is becoming a free-for-all now, man.” 

If Deion ever becomes NFL commissioner, I guess we now know what his first order of action will be: Say hello to the Super Hall of Fame.  

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Lamar Jackson sets deadline for contract negotiations

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. 

  • Lamar Jackson to halt contract talks once season starts. If the Ravens can’t work out a new deal with Lamar Jackson before the start of the regular season, then the QB is going to put a halt to all contract talks. That basically gives the two sides four weeks to figure out a new deal. Jackson is headed into the final year of a rookie contract that will pay him $23.02 million in 2022. 
  • Deshaun Watson publicly apologizes for first time, has ugly showing in preseason debut. For the first time since his sexual misconduct case came to light, Watson issued an actual apology. “I’m truly sorry to all the women that I’ve impacted in this situation,” the QB said before Friday’s game against the Jaguars. “My decisions that I made in my life that put me in this position, I would definitely like to have back.” For Watson, this will likely end up being too little, too late. The NFL’s appeal of his punishment will be ruled on in the near future, and it won’t be surprising if the decision comes at some point in the next few days. 

  • Joe Burrow returns for walk-through practice. After more than two weeks of not practicing, Joe Burrow finally returned to the field on Sunday. The Bengals QB underwent an appendectomy on July 26 and hadn’t practiced since then. The practice was only a walk-through, so it will be interesting to see if Burrow is also involved when the practices start to get more physical.  

  • Bills rookie drills 82-yard punt. They call Matt Araiza the ‘Punt God’ for a reason, and he showed why over the weekend. The Bills rookie smashed an 82-yard punt against the Colts that traveled more than 75 yards in the air. If you want to see what an 82-yard punt looks like, then be sure to click here
  • Chiefs safety kicks an extra point. It looks like the Chiefs have found their backup kicker. During their 19-14 loss to the Bears on Saturday, the Chiefs decided to let Justin Reid kick an extra point and he responded by drilling the kick. You can check out Reid’s big kick by clicking here.  
  • NFLPA president calls out NFL over conditions at Soldier Field. The turf at Soldier Field was in horrible shape for the Bears’ first preseason game and the NFLPA definitely took notice. NFLPA president JC Tretter sent out a tweet saying that the “The NFL can and should do better.” The NFLPA is clearly not happy that its players were forced to play on such a horrid field. 

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