A promising lead involving J.J. Watt’s supposed Peloton profile veered off course for the Buffalo Bills on Monday.
Bills fans were enthused by a report from ESPN’s Field Yates, who claimed a Peloton profile belonging to Watt narrowed his free agency destinations down to Buffalo and two other contenders from Cleveland and Green Bay. However, Watt refuted ownership of such an exercise bike on Twitter and later revealed that he would instead be signing with the Arizona Cardinals in a separate post. The latter image shows the former Houston Texan lifting weights, clad in Cardinals gear, and is accompanied by the captions “source: me”. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the deal is worth $31 million over two seasons with $23 million guaranteed.
With this move, Watt joins fellow disgruntled former Texan DeAndre Hopkins, who united with quarterback Kyler Murray for 1,407 yards through the air.
Yates owned his refuted report, later threading the original Peloton tweet with a GIF of animated character Homer Simpson awkwardly disappearing into shrubs. It likely does nothing to soothe the blow dealt to Bills fans who wanted to see Watt in Western New York. Some Bills-supporting social media users, perhaps desperate, got their hopes up for such a union when Watt posted a tweet about “mitochondria” last week, reasoning a local medical research center in Buffalo bore the same name.
Though the Bills will miss out on Watt, he of three Defensive Player of the Year awards and 101 sacks over a ten-season career with the Texans, there are plenty of options available to them on the free agency front to bolster their pass rush, including Leonard Williams, Matt Judon, and Shaquil Barrett.
The New York Giants earned a clutch victory over the Seattle Seahawks last week. New York’s formidable defense shut down Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ high-flying offense, helping backup quarterback Colt McCoy earn a victory in place of the injured Daniel Jones.
This week, the Giants will play another NFC West team. New York will host the Arizona Cardinals in another crucial matchup with major playoff implications. The Giants are hoping to have their second-year starting quarterback Daniel Jones back from injury. Jones missed the Giants’ Week 13 matchup after injuring his hamstring in the Giants’ Week 12 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
All reports on Daniel Jones’s health have been positive this week, though, as he aims to play on Sunday. If Jones is out there, it will be a battle between the top two quarterbacks taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. Arizona’s quarterback, Kyler Murray, was the first overall selection in last year’s draft. The Giants drafted Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in 2019.
Both of these quarterbacks, Jones and Murray, have made significant improvements in their sophomore season. One area where both of these young signal-callers have excelled this season is the deep-passing game. Kyler and Daniel have been two of the most accurate and efficient quarterbacks in the NFL on throws traveling over 20 yards.
Daniel Jones & Kyler Murray going deep
According to Pro Football Focus, Daniel Jones and Kyler Murray have the first and second highest passer ratings on 20+ yard throws. Daniel Jones ranks first with a passer rating of 143.1. Kyler Murray ranks second with a passer rating of 129.2.
When throwing passes 20+ yards down the field, Kyler Murray has not thrown an interception. He has thrown 8 touchdowns and totaled 691 passing yards on 20+ yard passes.
Daniel Jones has not thrown any interceptions deep either, but he has not gained as much yardage or thrown as many touchdowns as Murray. Jones has thrown 5 youchdowns and totaled 535 passing yards on 20+ yard passes.
Both of these quarterbacks have turned into gunslingers in their second seasons. Murray and Jones have been aggressive when throwing downfield, but also efficient. The Giants and Cardinals both possess excellent defenses, but if these two gunslingers get hot, we could see a deep-ball shootout in MetLife on Sunday.
The Buffalo Bills’ visit to Arizona ended in heartbreak, but several players still managed to stand out in defeat.
Wide Right. No Goal. Hail Murray?
Kyler Murray’s 43-yard desperation heave landed in the arms of DeAndre Hopkins with two seconds remaining, allowing the Arizona Cardinals to steal a 32-30 victory from the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo (7-3) previously took a lead on a 21-yard scoring hookup between Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs with 34 seconds remaining before Murray had time to work his miracle. The game was overall a struggle for Allen, who threw two interceptions in the second half after the Bills had taken a 23-9 lead. Hopkins earned 127 yards on seven receptions for the victorious Cardinals (6-3).
McKenzie had a special job at practice this week, donning a late Halloween costume to portray Kyler Murray on the Buffalo scout team this week. It appears that McKenzie was still in character on Sunday, partaking in a Buffalo trick play that accounted for their first points of the ball game. His throw back to Allen after taking a pass behind the line of scrimmage gave the Bills a 7-3 lead after Arizona opened the game with a field. It was the first throw McKenzie launched in his professional career.
¡APENITAS… PERO ENTRÓ!
Tyler Bass hace efectivo el intento de gol de campo para aumentar la ventaja de Buffalo
Had it not been for a certain play at the end of the game, Tyler might’ve ended the day outscoring Kyler.
The rookie’s status at kicker might’ve been in jeopardy after starting the season 6-of-9, but he has been one of the hottest kickers in football with 13 conversions on his last 16 attempts. Entering Sunday’s action, Bass was only 1-of-3 from field goals of at least 50 yards, but he successfully booted a trio of attempts from such distance on Sunday, including a jaw-dropping, career-best, 58-yard launch that gave the Bills a 16-9 lead at the end of the first half. His first field goal was a single-doink off the right upright from 54 yards away. The Buffalo offense has shown little trouble getting to midfield, so if Bass can establish himself as a legitimate deep threat, the possibilities could be endless.
Sunday’s game was a struggle for Allen, who made several ill-advised throws and mostly dealt with strong pressure on Stefon Diggs, at least until what many thought was the game-winning touchdown. But the lead-up to some of the Bills’ biggest second-half moments came through Beasley, who broke through the Arizona defense at several crucial points.
Beasley tied a career-best with 11 receptions (set less than a month ago in East Rutherford against the Jets) and fell three yards short of his personal best in that category. Three of his four receptions (32 yards) on the final push to the end zone led to Buffalo first downs, including a stunning one-handed grab deep in Buffalo territory that gave the Bills the momentum they needed. Alas, Beasley couldn’t play defense on the Cardinals’ memorable trek, but it was clear from the performances of he and John Brown (6 receptions, 72 yards before leaving the game with an injury) that Buffalo’s receiving threats go far beyond the mere prescience of Diggs.
The Buffalo Bills conquered the forces of Russell Wilson last week, but their NFC West endeavors get no easier.
A win over the NFC-leading Seattle Seahawks should’ve, in theory, rendered doubters in the 2020 Buffalo Bills an endangered species. The Bills not only led a majority of the Seattle game by at least two possessions, but they neutralized the Swiss Army quarterback that is Russell Wilson through four turnovers (two interceptions and fumbles each).
But any progress the Bills made last weekend can immediately become undone by Wilson’s NFC West compatriot.
The road to respectability revealed a fast lane for the Bills last weekend, but another roadblock awaits in the form of the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS). Buffalo (7-2) will face an Arizona offense that sits atop the NFL at 422 yards a game. The Cardinals (5-3) not only enter with voltage but fury as well after enduring a 34-31 defeat to the Miami Dolphins last weekend.
The primary reason for the revolution has undoubtedly been a combination of quarterback Kyler Murray, a top overall draft pick who has made several large leaps in his sophomore season. Murray has thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his eight games thus far. That includes three each over the past two games to tally 16 on the season.
Buffalo brass knows a dangerous challenge lies ahead.
“They’ve got a terrific young quarterback…and an offense that is ranked number one in the league, so we’re gonna have our hands full with what they do on offense,” Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said earlier this week, per Sal Maiorana of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. “Trying to get a grasp around what’s the best approach that we need to take to slow them down. It’s hard to compare (Seattle and Arizona) other than the fact that they are both very explosive offenses. We’re gonna have to bring our ‘A’ game to have a chance to be successful.”
“The speed and quickness element are off the charts,” head coach Sean McDermott added in the same report. “Having never coached against him before, just when you’re watching on film and you watch it on TV, you can see the difference. We’re talking elite (defensive) athletes that are around him, he’s not running around just average athletes out there, he’s running around great athletes, and he looks different even than those athletes, so I’ve been able to get an appreciation for him.”
Murray has also caused relentless damage on the ground, gaining at 50 rushing yards in all but two games this season. He put up a career-best 106 in a losing effort against the Dolphins last week but the Cardinals are 6-3 when he otherwise reaches the half-century mark on the ground.
During game prep for Arizona, reserve receiver/returner Isaiah McKenzie played the role of Murray on the scout team.
“It certainly helps,” McDermott said of the McKenzie imitation, in another report from Garrett Stepien of 247 Sports. “A lot? I don’t know, I think that remains to be seen. I would just say it certainly helps to get ourselves acclimated to that type of speed and quickness.”
Another factor in the Arizona revolution has been receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who came over to the Cardinals through an offseason trade with the Houston Texans. Hopkins’ final game in the Space City came against the Bills during the AFC Wild Card playoffs, when he earned 90 yards on six receptions in addition to a two-point conversion in the Texans’ overtime victory. Arizona’s other offensive talents include running back Kenyan Drake and Hopkins’ fellow receivers Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella, and the immortal Larry Fitzgerald.
Only adding to the Bills’ plight is the fact that they’ll be missing two of their top cornerbacks (Josh Norman, Levi Wallace) and a strong reserve safety (Dean Marlowe) after a positive COVID-19 test also sidelined several of those in close contact. Buffalo has made several roster moves to combat the losses.
After coming up big against Seattle, Buffalo Bills WR John Brown hopes Sunday is just the start of something bigger for Orchard Park.
It’s not often that the athletic paths of Western New York and the Arizona desert converge. The most notable incident is probably a 2015 NHL showdown between the Sabres and Coyotes where hometown Buffalo fans cheered an overtime loss because it bettered the odds in the NHL Draft Lottery’s Connor McDavid sweepstakes (the gambit didn’t even pay off, as the Edmonton Oilers leapfrogged them both on lottery night).
John Brown serves as rare middle ground in the Buffalo-Arizona Venn diagram. The Division standout from Mars Hill and Pittsburg State entered the league as a third-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2014. Injuries prevented him from reaching his full potential after four seasons, leading a transfer to Baltimore in 2018 before settling in his current Buffalo surroundings through a three-year, $27 million deal with the Bills. Brown will face his original employers for the first time when the Bills meet the Cardinals for their quadrennial showdown at State Farm Stadium on Sunday afternoon (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS).
Brown has had his share of success on the NFL level, posting four digits in yardage in both his Arizona and Buffalo incarnations, including a career-best 1,060 in his Bills debut. The aforementioned ailments, however, have stopped him from making a truly lasting mark on the NFL game, even if his likelihood of success could be considered astronomical considering his Division II roots. A knee and calf issue has already cost him two games this season, preventing him from capitalizing on his career year, when he led or tied for the lead in all major Buffalo receiving categories (also earning 72 receptions, six of which went for scores).
“I think the vertical presence that he has, the speed and the quickness that he has, he’s able to run some really good in-breaking routes,” quarterback Josh Allen said of his two years working with Brown, per Matt Parrino of Syracuse.com. “He’s another matchup that you have to focus on. You can’t just play man to man and roll somebody to (Stefon Diggs). You got to worry backside what John’s doing too.”
Last Sunday seemed to hint at Brown returning to full strength. The receiver played a large role in the Bills’ statement win over the Seattle Seahawks, earning a season-best 99 yards on eight receptions. None were bigger than a 33-yard tally on a screen pass on a 16-yard third down in the fourth quarter. It set the Bills up for a one-yard touchdown run from Zack Moss, a score that permanently put the Bills ahead by two possessions in what became a 44-34 victory over the NFC leaders.
In addition to the considerable amount of talent and potential he has left, the 30-year-old Brown brings a sense of veteran leadership and direction to a young team potentially on the cusp of something bigger. That was perfectly on display during a chaotic offseason where minicamps and preseason games were wiped out by the ongoing health crisis. When the Bills brought in UCF rookie Gabriel Davis in the fourth round of April’s draft, Brown was immediately on the case through mentorship.
“When I got drafted ‘Smoke’ took me in,” Davis said in reference to Brown, per Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com (no relation). “I was asked to stay at his crib for a few days to get with him on some football things.”
“That’s something I had to accept,” John Brown told Buffalobills.com about his new role in the locker room. “I couldn’t put myself first. The plays were going to come but helping others would help the team even more. It was a lot, but I got there.”
Brown’s impact is felt beyond the receiver room. According to Thad Brown (also unrelated) of RochesterFirst.com, offensive lineman Dion Dawkins referred to the receiver as one of “(his) my favorite players on this offense”, as well as a “silent sniper…an assassin”.
Brown will get a chance to reunite with the man who bestowed the knowledge of leadership to him on Sunday, Upon his arrival to Arizona in 2014, Brown worked closely with veteran Larry Fitzgerald, who’s in the midst of his 17th NFL season with the Cardinals. Fitzgerald has earned 261 on 33 catches thus far in 2020.
“I was able to help out because I know a lot from being around Larry Fitzgerald,” John Brown said in Chris Brown’s report. “I’m real thankful for Larry because I’m able to help these guys and I see them taking it in.”
Arizona (5-3) is coming off a 34-31 defeat at the hands of Buffalo’s divisional rivals from Miami.
Another painful loss awaited the New York Jets in their return to MetLife Stadium. ESM takes a look at the plays that changed the game.
There was a new quarterback and new men on the offensive line thanks to injuries. But the New York Jets were forced to endure the same result.
Kyler Murray tallied 401 yards of offense, with 131 of his passing haul going to DeAndre Hopkins. Their Arizona Cardinals tallied a 30-10 road win over the hapless Jets at MetLife Stadium. The Jets (0-5) earned a nominal bright spot in the form of Jamison Crowder, who reached triple digits in receiving for the third time this season (116 yards on 8 receptions).
As we do each week…someone’s got to do it…ESM looks back on four big plays, one from each quarter, that are shaping the Jets’ present and future for better or worse…
The Jets’ defense rose to the occasion in the early going, forcing Arizona into a three-and-out on their opening drive. A Joe Flacco-led offense was struggling to get things rolling, but Braden Mann helped the defense out with a 54-yard punt that situated the Cardinals on their own 11. Alas, it only signaled the start of New York’s demise.
Arizona would embark on a scoring drive, needing only eight plays to go 89 yards. The Cardinals (3-2) faced only one third down on the drive, and that was only when they needed a single yard at the cusp of the Jets’ 30. It also brought forth a 29-yard touchdown run from Chase Edmunds, giving the Cardinals a lead they would never relinquish.
Alas for the Jets, long drives and defensive lapses, even if they’re brought forth by short three-and-outs from the offense, have become far too common. When the inevitable purge comes to both the roster and staff, members of the defense should not be exempt.
The Jets should be commended for their reckless abandon on fourth down in recent weeks. They know that the playoffs are but a pipe dream and more than likely will be destined for a high draft pick. With all due respect to Mann, a serviceable draft pick to date, he shouldn’t be seeing the field once the Jets cross their own 40. The same could go for Sam Ficken if it’s a long situation, though he continued his perfect streak in the early going with a triple in the first half.
Faced with a single yard to go on the Arizona 13, the Jets opted for an unusual option, handing the ball off to tight end-turned-fullback Trevon Wesco. The intention was pure…Wesco’s brief time in the backfield yielded a couple of first downs last season…but the execution simply wasn’t there. Starting the 6-foot-6-inches Flacco in place of the injured Sam Darnold, the time was perfect for a quarterback sneak. Flacco even showcased some hidden rushing talents to the tune of 20 yards on a quartet of carries. Instead, they tried to force nearly the exact same play, only this time with Le’Veon Bell. The Jets’ willingness to take risks is admirable, but ended a 14-play trek with no points on two failed rushes only adds to their plethora of embarrassment.
The Jets have been through a lot this season, and there’s still a dozen weeks left on the horizon. Their most consistent silver lining has by far been Crowder, who had one of his strongest games of the season. He came up particularly big in the third quarter, first accounting for Flacco’s longest pass of the day at 52 yards, setting the Jets up in Arizona territory. Three plays later, Crowder dodged a pair of Cardinal defenders to earn an 11-yard touchdown that narrowed things to a single possession.
New York has been through a lot this season, much of it showing just how far they are from mere playoff contention, much less a Super Bowl. But the veteran Crowder is making himself essential as a presumed purge lures on the horizon.
4th Quarter: Buried by Kingsbury
Sunday’s second half featured plenty of instances where one could declare “only the Jets!”. For example, an untimed down at the end of the third quarter led to a false start. That duplicated an incident in the second quarter when they took a delay of game after an interception (on a red zone drive that eventually led to Ficken’s field goal). But a neutral zone infraction after Arizona’s final touchdown (a 37-yard hookup between Murray and Hopkins) led to Kliff Kingsbury opting to go for two despite owning a 30-10 led that became the final margin. Who knows what the Jets did to Kingsbury, who pair of NFL passes came in New York, but it was enough to try and help anyone who had Arizona -21.5 out and goes to show how far the Jets have fallen.
The New York Jets have been cleared for Sunday action at MetLife Stadium, but a dangerous, angry opponent awaits.
What: Arizona Cardinals @ New York Jets Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ When: Sunday, 1 p.m. Watch: CBS
After the ongoing health crisis invaded the NFL realm in Florham Park, the New York Jets have been cleared for Sunday action barring any unforeseen developments. They’re set to take on an avian invasion at home, one seeking revenge after a strong start has given way to distress.
The Jets (0-4) will take to the field for the first time in 10 days, as they battle the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium. They’ll go into battle with a quarterback who previously earned plenty of success with a bird on his helmet, as backup Joe Flacco takes over for the injured Sam Darnold.
New York last took the field on October 1, opening the Week 4 slate in a Thursday night tilt against the Denver Broncos. In what became their closest game of the season, the Jets fell in a 37-28 decision. Darnold earned 314 yards of offense, including a career-best 84 on the ground. A majority of that tally came on a 46-yard scoring rush that gave the Jets their first lead of the season. Jamison Crowder broke the century mark in receiving yardage (104) while Pierre Desir had two interceptions on defense.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals (2-2) have suffered consecutive defeats after a strong start. They by a 31-21 final to the Carolina Panthers last weekend in Charlotte after dropping a home tilt with the Detroit Lions. Kyler Murray threw a trio of touchdown passes in the Carolina defeat, while Jordan Hicks had four tackles for a loss.
The Cardinals are on the Jets’ opposite coast in more ways than one. Not only do they play three time zones away from New Jersey, but they play in a different conference. In other words, meetings between the Jets and Cardinals are not very common, even with the latter franchise lingering around in some way, shape, or form since 1898.
In either case, the Jets lead the all-time series 6-3, earning each win in succession between 1978 and 2012 (the first one coming under the Cardinals’ St. Louis moniker). Arizona broke the streak in their last meeting in 2016, when they took home a 28-3 decision in Glendale.
History Happens: 2008
Brett Favre’s brief yet eventful time as a New York Jet got off to a tough start. The Jets sat at 1-2 and were reeling from a one-sided Sunday night loss in San Diego in a return to Giants Stadium. An ensuing matchup with future NFC champions Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin was perhaps one of the earliest signs that the 2008 was going to be quite out of the ordinary.
The Jets scoring 34 points seems like a pipe dream to some modern fans, but they acquired that tally in a single quarter on a late September afternoon against the Cardinals. Dressed in their New York Titans-inspired throwbacks, Favre and Laveranues Coles united for three scores while Darrelle Revis took back a Warner interception back for a touchdown. Arizona slowly worked their way back with three unanswered rushing scores (two from Edgerrin James) in the third quarter, but Favre kept the Cardinals down with three more touchdown passes. Jerricho Cotchery was the recipient of two, while Dustin Keller had the last. New York took the game by a 56-35 final. The six touchdown passes were a career-best for Favre, who united with Warner to throw for 761 passing yards.
They Said It
“I’m not looking at it in terms of bringing a spark,” Flacco said. “Of course, we want to get things rolling as a team and kind of get our morale up and get us headed in the right direction. But not one guy, including myself, can try to do too much. We just have to go out there, take it play-by-play and let things fall in place.”–Jets QB Joe Flacco on starting Sunday, per Eric Allen
“I think this week particularly, all of us want to get back on the field. There was frustration with how we played last week, so we’ve been chomping at the bit to get back after it. So when you hear that initially, you’re like, ‘Oh no, we really want to get back out there.’ And then you settle in and realize, hey, you can control what you can control.”-Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury on dealing with the Cardinals’ current situation, per Katherine Fitzgerald
Matchup To Watch
RB Le’Veon Bell vs. Arizona’s Run Defense
Even when we were having the “Is Joe Flacco elite?” debate every week, it was never wise to put the game solely in his hands. The Jets have averaged 35 pass attempts a game over the first four games of the 2020 season. Flacco-led are 31-48 in the regular season when he throws the ball at least 35 times.
New York enjoys a bit of a boost this week with Le’Veon Bell making his return from injury, but the reunion comes in a game where Mekhi Becton, one of the Jets’ rare silver linings, list listed as doubtful on the injury report. With the franchise quarterback down and the receiving corps still missing links (Breshad Perriman is likewise doubtful and Denzel Mims is still inactive), Bell may be called upon to take on an increased workload to alleviate the pressure on Flacco.
Head coach Adam Gase was pleased with the way Bell kept himself in game shape during his injury absence. Bell hasn’t played since the Week 1 defeat in Buffalo.
“I think he can be pretty effective,” Gase said his top rusher in a report from ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “He did a good job of getting healthy and then staying in good shape. (He) did a good job making sure that he maintained where his weight was. I think he feels even better now than he did when we kind of hit that first game.”
Arizona’s run defense ins’t anything to truly write home about, stagnant in around the middle of the pack in the statistical rankings. If Bell can get his legs back quickly and overcome the losses of some starting big men on the line, he can earn a long-awaited return to form and shoulder some of the load a desperate offense needs to properly distribute.
The Jets Will Win If…
They contain Kyler Murray.
Over the past two weeks, the Jets’ defense failed to contain an aging Phillip Rivers and a third-stringer in Denver making his first career start…and they had trouble with Nick Mullens and the 49ers’ reserves the week before that. That was all before they ran into a showdown with Murray, a dual-threat who was working on MVP candidacy over the first two weeks before running into trouble against Detroit and Carolina. Murray has no doubt seen the struggles of the Jets’ defense and has to be licking his chops going into this matchup. The Jets have earned only six sacks so far and was already torched by one dual-threat, Josh Allen, in aforementioned opener against Buffalo. Murray’s prescience has loomed over Jets practice all week.
“To keep him in the pocket, try to make him one-dimensional because he can throw and use his feet as well once he gets outside the pocket,” safety Marcus Maye said on Thursday, per Kristian Dyer of Sports Illustrated. “If we can pressure him, make him one-dimensional, I think we can be OK.”
The Cardinals Will Win If…
They embrace their sense of desperation.
Arizona was seen by some as a team able to play consequence-free football in 2020. Murray excelled in his rookie year, and the outlook was mostly positive moving forward. Expectations rose slightly when DeAndre Hopkins was gifted to them from Houston, but there still would’ve been no shame from a Cardinal standpoint if they didn’t beat out the Seahawks or 49ers in the competitive NFC West.
However, after topping the Niners in Week 1, the Cardinals were seen as surprise contenders. The past two weeks have been disappointed, and Arizona now sits at .500 while the Seahawks remain dominant, the 49ers thrive despite several big injuries, and the Rams start to reintroduce themselves to the NFL scene. A terrifying trap game scenario awaits in New York. It’s a game that’s starting at 10 a.m. local time. It’s a game that the eternal Cardinal Fitzgerald has labeled a “must-win”.
“Seattle is the leader in our division, 4-0 right now, and they are rolling,” Fitzgerald said, per team writer Darren Urban. “We have to be able to find a way to get back on the right track. Another road game, going across three time zones to play, you have to find a way to put together four good quarters in all three phases. It’s as simple as that.”
“We need to be able to keep pace with the Rams and the other teams playing well in the division. It’s definitely a must-win.”
Even with Arizona’s struggles, it’s far too much to ask this Jets team to pull off what would nonetheless be a miracle. The loss against Denver provided a small hint of momentum, but topping an interconference foe bent on division domination is too far out of the Jets’ realm of possibilities.
Navigating the Coronavirus Pandemic during this football season was never going to be an easy task. The NFL has now begun to see a spike in cases that is felt throughout the world. Yet, the Tennessee Titans outbreak looks to be a little more contained as they had zero new positive cases. Along with the NFL seemingly getting a grip on the game schedule during a pandemic, the New York Jets have thrown a curveball into that premise.
Today, Adam Schefter has reported the New York Jets had a presumptive positive test.
What We Know
What is known is that the Jets had one of their routine tests come back positive today on One Jets Drive. Thus, all players and coaches were sent home, and the player who tested positive is awaiting the results of their retest, per Rich Cimini. The Arizona Cardinals were slated to fly out today for this Sunday’s contest, and that game now hinges on the results of this test. This positive test is considered presumptive as there have been false positives in the last week or so.
Still, the organization must act out of an abundance of caution to prevent a continued spread. One scenario that could come into play is reminiscent of this past Monday’s game between the Patriots and Chiefs. Despite a positive test, the Patriots kept the virus contained between Cam Newton and now All-Pro Corner Stephon Gilmore, and the team were still able to play their scheduled game.
Long Term Outlook
The Jets must now act with the same sense of fluidity that the entire league and country, for that matter, has operated under in order to prevent a larger spread. The players and coaches need to continue to take responsibility in order to finish the season. With that said, if cases continue to become more widespread nationally, the league may have to consider a bubble setup to finish out the season and the playoffs safely.
Hopefully, the Jets get everything in order within the organization, because no matter how critical you are of the team, I wish them nothing but the best in their health and potential COVID-19 recovery.
The official deadline to set a 53-man roster in the NFL is tomorrow at 4 p.m. With this deadline rapidly approaching, NFL teams have begun cutting players to shrink their roster sizes. The New York Giants have yet to make their round of cuts, but they will soon.
Other teams around the league have already started chopping away at their roster. The Arizona Cardinals made a surprising move today, cutting Hakeem Butler, a second-year wide receiver that they drafted in the fourth round last year. Butler was a solid prospect coming out of college. Could the Giants look to take a flier on Butler before the start of the regular season?
Why Butler Might Make Sense For New York
Wide receiver depth is crucial. The position is one that faces plenty of injuries every year, as the Giants know all too well. Darius Slayton, Corey Coleman, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate were all injured at one point or another last season. New York had to start backups on multiple occasions at the wide receiver position.
In 2020, there is a chance that the Giants find themselves in a similar situation. It is important to be prepared for the worst, and the Giants can prepare by acquiring as much wide receiver talent as possible. Hakeem Butler is the latest talented wide receiver to be made available for acquisition.
In college, Hakeem Butler was an excellent player. But after being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Butler never got to see the field in the regular season. Hakeem broke his hand in the preseason and missed the entirety of the 2019 season. Now, healthy, he was unable to earn a spot on the Giants’ roster.
Admittedly, the Cardinals have an abundance of wide receiver talent. From DeAndre Hopkins to Andy Isabella, the Cardinals might have liked Hakeem Butler but just not had the room to house him.
Butler was a workout warrior at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. He stands tall and strong at 6 feet 5 inches, 227 pounds, while also having the speed to run a 4.48 forty-yard dash. Butler was a legitimate deep threat in college, racking up 1,318 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns on only 60 receptions in 2018. Butler could be a solid addition as an outside receiver for the New York Giants.
Why The Giants Might Not Be A Landing Spot For Butler
The Giants already have a pretty crowded room of wide receivers. Sure, Hakeem Butler is very talented. After all, he was drafted in the fourth round last year, and many of the Giants’ backup receivers went undrafted. But these undrafted receivers have been impressive during training camp with the Giants. They have worked hard to earn their potential roster spots. Additionally, the Giants have been able to evaluate these receivers first-hand in camp. Any evaluations they might have of Hakeem Butler will be based on his college game tape.
The Giants and Butler’s mutual unfamiliarity with each other will likely prevent the team from using a roster spot on Butler. He was an exciting prospect in 2019, so he will find a home somewhere. But with the Giants’ crowded group of receivers on the current roster, it is unlikely he will find that home in the Big Blue side of New Jersey.
It’ll be the same spot, but a new first-round commodity to protect for Kelvin Beachum.
The former New York Jets blocker has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, the NFC West team confirmed on Friday. Thus ends Beachum’s three-year tenure with the Jets, one saw that him miss only three games.
Beachum, 31, joined the Jets on a three-year, $24 million deal during the 2017 offseason. He previously entered the league as a seventh-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, spending four years there before a single season with Jacksonville. Beachum became known for protecting the blindside of quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Josh McCown.
It’s likely he’ll help fill a similar role for 2019’s top overall draft pick and Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray. The veteran Beachum will possibly serve as a depth option behind DJ Humphries.
Off the field, Beachum made a name for himself in the New York community. He was the Jets’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award during the 2018 season. His efforts centered on eradicating hunger and providing STEM education for minority youths.
“You trust him, you know he’s extremely reliable, you know he’s going to execute his assignment, and he’s going to help other guys up front,” Jets head coach Adam Gase said of Beachum in November, per Olivia Landis of NewYorkJets.com. “I think he’s a guy that’s played a lot of football, he’s seen a lot of different blitzes and he can help our group in a lot of different ways.”
Beachum perhaps became expendable once the Jets added both George Fant in free agency and Mekhi Becton with their first pick in April’s draft. Fellow starting blocker Brandon Shell also left this offseason, inking a two-year deal with Seattle in March. The Jets also added Greg Van Roten and Connor McGovern in free agency and likewise drafted Cameron Clark during the draft’s day three proceedings.