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Chargers’ title stress, NFL power rankings, Kyler Murray and more

Last 12 months, the Los Angeles Rams survived the preseason hype and gained all of it. This time, it’s their stadium co-tenants within the Los Angeles Chargers in such a spot.

Time is the theme of the 2022 Los Angeles Chargers.

Either within the sense of this being their time, or time being up on persistence for a lot of supporters.

After watching quarterback Justin Herbert escape in 2020 as a rookie with 4,336 yards and 31 landing passes, many anticipated the Chargers to go from a seven-win crew to the playoffs.

Yet regardless of Herbert totaling 5,014 yards and 38 touchdowns, Los Angeles nonetheless missed the postseason, ending with a 9-8 file. The season was notably maddening contemplating the late-season swoon which included losses to the COVID-ridden Houston Texans and the Week 18 thriller in opposition to the Las Vegas Raiders.

This offseason, normal supervisor Tom Telesco went scorched earth. He traded for edge rusher Khalil Mack and signed the league’s high free agent in nook J.C. Jackson. The Chargers additionally bolstered their offensive line within the NFL Draft’s first spherical for a second consecutive 12 months, this time deciding on guard Zion Johnson out of Boston College.

All instructed, Los Angeles has one of many league’s finest rosters. It’s a bunch loaded with younger expertise and veterans, led by a celebrity quarterback who continues to ascend.

Yet for his or her appreciable promise, few franchises have been longer on potential and shorter on outcomes than the Chargers in recent times.

And to that time, there’s a case to be made for glory this season, but additionally for ache.

The case for glory is straightforward. As aforementioned, Los Angeles is loaded.

The Chargers have a top-flight quarterback, two glorious receivers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, a high quality offensive line, and a protection which options edge rusher Joey Bosa, security Derwin James, nook Asante Samuel Jr., Mack and Jackson.

Few groups can declare top-tier expertise much like that group, which is why the Chargers enter August with 15/1 odds to win the Super Bowl.

However, the case for ache is equally straightforward to make.

Los Angeles is in an absurd division with the Kansas City Chiefs, much-improved Denver Broncos and high-flying Raiders. Kansas City has hosted the final 4 AFC title video games, whereas Denver introduced in a brand new head coach-quarterback combo in Nathaniel Hackett and Russell Wilson, respectively.

The Chargers even have stars, however many damage considerations accompanying them. Bosa has missed 14 video games in his six-year profession. Mack solely performed seven video games in 2021. Since coming into the NFL, James has performed 36 video games and missed 29. Samuel missed 5 contests as a rookie with a number of concussions.

As for Herbert, the stakes are monumental.

After this season, Herbert turns into eligible for an extension. After seeing the contracts doled out to Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson, one other nice marketing campaign may have the previous Oregon Ducks star in line for a contract of more than $50 million yearly and upwards of $250 million assured.

Yet a down season, both for Herbert or the Chargers, may show problematic. Los Angeles is historically a cash-poor franchise by comparability to different NFL golf equipment. If proprietor Dean Spanos has any leverage to squeeze Herbert in negotiations — particularly after paying a $650 relocation charge whereas being embroiled in a nasty household dispute — he may properly use it.

In Los Angeles, followers have been ready for his or her gifted crew to lastly mature and win all of the video games it ought to as a substitute of giving video games away in weird style, one thing of a Chargers staple. They wish to see playoff soccer and even a deep run, with the crew not reaching the convention championship stage since 2007 and solely as soon as since 1994.

The quarterback is in place. The head coach is younger and intriguing. The roster is stacked.

The Chargers realize it’s time to make their transfer. Now we wait to see in the event that they’re prepared to fulfill the second, or slide again as soon as more as one other season tolls midnight.

Power rankings

Top 10 WRs primed for his or her first 1,000-yard season

1. Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Devonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
3. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions
4. Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos
5. Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints
6. Drake London, Atlanta Falcons
7. Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
8. Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
9. George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers
10. Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans


“I think it’s the best I’ve ever seen him throw it thus far. What are we, three days in? And he’s probably throwing it better than I’ve ever seen him throw it. He’s really worked hard in the offseason and it’s showing. So we’ve just got to build on that. It’s really exciting, and we’re all very excited.”

– Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman on Lamar Jackson’s progress

Jackson has lots to show this season, particularly as contract talks continues whereas a self-imposed deadline looms. The Ravens have loved two division titles and three playoff berths in Jackson’s 4 years on the helm — together with his ’19 MVP marketing campaign — however have just one postseason win in that point.

An enormous 12 months from Jackson and a deep run in January can be a game-changer for his nationwide fame and, if the contract isn’t squared, future negotiations.


On trip! No podcast this week and subsequent, however returning with pressure on Aug. 16!

Random stat

The 1980 Oakland Raiders have been the primary crew to win 4 postseason video games of their Super Bowl-winning season.

Info realized this week

1. NFLPA, Watson launch joint assertion

We seem near an announcement on the Deshaun Watson listening to.

While Disciplinary Officer Sue Robinson hasn’t made her choice public — or maybe even in any respect — the NFLPA tipped its hand on Sunday night time with a joint assertion alongside Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, which you’ll learn in full under:

This suggests the NFLPA would possibly really feel a positive ruling is coming, and the union is actually telling commissioner Roger Goodell to respect the decision.

However, let’s be clear about how this works. Goodell, through the Collective Bargaining Agreement, has closing say. Robinson can suggest a suspension size, however Goodell can unilaterally determine the last word punishment. If he feels Watson’s punishment is simply too gentle, he can override Robinson and impose any ban he needs. And whereas the union can battle it by interesting to federal courtroom, the chances are it successful are near zero p.c.

Soon, we’ll know Watson’s destiny … by Robinson or Goodell.

2. Seahawks decide to D.Okay. Metcalf with acquainted extension

John Schneider will get an F for creativity.

The Seattle Seahawks prolonged star receiver D.Okay. Metcalf final week on a three-year deal worth $72 million, together with $58.2 million assured. Over three seasons in Seattle, the previous second-round choose from Ole Miss has notched 216 receptions for 3,170 yards and 29 touchdowns. Without query, he deserved to be paid.

However, the playful dig at Schneider is instructive of an attention-grabbing development within the receiver market. After seeing Tyreek Hill (four years, $120 million) and Davante Adams (five years, $140 million) reset the wideout market in beautiful style, the pacts for these coming into their fourth years on rookie offers have been remarkably comparable.

On the opening night time of the Draft, A.J. Brown was despatched from the Titans to the Eagles and promptly bought four years, $100 million and $57.2 million guaranteed. Then, just a few weeks in the past, Terry McLaurin and the Washington Commanders agreed on a three-year, $68 million cope with $53.4 million assured. Now Metcalf, who checks in a simply above each in ensures, and between them in annual common. All very shut in cash, and all three years.

Then on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers signed Deebo Samuel, which leads us to…

3. Oh look … Deebo Samuel’s deal in SF adopted the sample

Samuel and the Niners getting collectively on Sunday night time and ending the All-Pro receiver’s hold-in, with a three-year deal worth up to $73.5 million with $58.1 million guaranteed. Basically, Metcalf’s deal, nearly to the cent.

Unlike Metcalf, Samuel started his profession as an excellent participant with apparent upside as a substitute of being an instantaneous star. In his first two years with San Francisco, Samuel missed 10 mixed video games, limiting his manufacturing to 1,193 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. In 2021, Samuel performed 16 video games and exploded, turning into a First-Team All-Pro with 1,770 scrimmage yards and 14 touchdowns, whereas main the league with 18.2 yards per reception.

Still, Samuel bought paid on the identical stage as Metcalf, largely as a result of the 2 are in an similar contract 12 months, with one having more sustained success whereas the opposite has reached a better ceiling.

Bottom line? Metcalf and Samuel bought paid, and together with McLaurin and Brown, they’ve set the usual for the following wave of star receivers nearing the top of their rookie offers.

4. Frank Clark offers uncooked presser, is likely to be value betting on in ’22

In three seasons with the Chiefs, Frank Clark has reached two Super Bowls, gained one, totaled eight playoff sacks and reached three Pro Bowls.

Still, most Kansas City followers would let you know his five-year, $105 million deal signed previous to 2019 was a nasty transfer for the Chiefs. This declare is backed up by the crew restructuring his contract this offseason with the probably transfer of reducing bait after this season to avoid wasting $19 million in 2023.

However, on Thursday, Clark stepped to the mic at a post-practice presser and talked openly. He spoke about cutting out liquor this offseason and getting rid of his gut. He spoke a few candid dialog between he and head coach Andy Reid after final season, and how Reid expressed his disappointment in Clark’s marketing campaign. He additionally spoke about needing to develop up, and how his offseason has been devoted to doing so.

His presser was 12 minutes lengthy, and worth the watch.

With the Chiefs including edge rusher Carlos Dunlap on a one-year deal final week, and drafting George Karlaftis within the first spherical of April’s draft, normal supervisor Brett Veach is sending a transparent message: snaps will probably be earned, not given. For Clark, who is actually in a contract 12 months, he must outperform his previous two seasons which have produced a mixed 10.5 sacks, together with 4.5 final 12 months.

If his highly effective phrases have been any indication, maybe he’s an excellent guess to take action.

5. Isaiah McKenzie value looking ahead to Bills in new function

Josh Allen. Stefon Diggs. Dawson Knox. Gabriel Davis. Those are the massive names related to the Buffalo Bills and their high-powered offense. Maybe we must always think about including Isaiah McKenzie.

McKenzie has by no means had more than 300 receiving. yards in any of his 5 seasons within the league, both with Denver or Buffalo. However, with slot receiver Cole Beasley nonetheless a free gent and veteran Jamison Crowder as McKenzie’s major competitors, the 27-year-old may shine in Buffalo’s system.

Last 12 months, McKenzie starred in Week 16 in opposition to the New England Patriots within the de facto AFC East title sport. With Beasley out with a optimistic COVID check, McKenzie caught 11 passes for 125 yards and a landing. The remainder of the common season noticed McKenzie catch 9 balls for 53 yards.

Normally, McKenzie’s efficiency may very well be written off. Yet he’s starred early on in Buffalo’s camp and with a dire want for slot assist following Beasley’s departure, don’t be fast to dismiss the speedster.

Two cents

The Ryan Jensen damage is crushing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

You might keep in mind I picked the Bucs to achieve Super Bowl LVII, and I’m not transferring off that stance. However, there’s a robust argument that exterior quarterback Tom Brady, no offensive participant was more indispensable than Jensen.

Jensen, 31, is an eight-year veteran and a Pro Bowler who earned a three-year, $39 million deal this offseason. On Thursday, Jensen was carted out of form after suffering a knee injury which will keep him sidelined for months if not the entire season. Without him, Tampa Bay has now reshuffled all three of its inside line positions, with guards Ali Marpet (retirement) and Alex Kappa (free company) additionally gone.

Now think about how Jensen’s loss impacts these round him. For all Brady’s greatness, he’s not cellular. Pressure up the intestine is the simplest solution to sluggish his rhythm passing assault.

Finally, think about Tampa Bay’s largest threats. The Rams have Aaron Donald inside. The Chiefs have Chris Jones. The Packers have Kenny Clark.

If Jensen is gone for the 12 months, it makes the Buccaneers’ path to successful all of it a lot harder.

Inside the league

Massive contract extensions are normally trigger for celebration. Somehow, Kyler Murray’s cope with the Arizona Cardinals turned a second for controversy and embarrassment.

At the outset of coaching camp, the Cardinals and Murray agreed to a five-year, $230.5 million extension with $160 million assured, retaining the quarterback round by way of the 2028 marketing campaign. However, the impartial clause turned the nationwide storyline, with Murray required to do four hours of homework outside of meetings.

After the clause turned public on Monday, FanSided reached out to league sources in an effort to seek out somebody who had ever seen such language inserted right into a contract. I’m nonetheless ready to discover a single one who has.

On Thursday, the Cardinals removed the clause and released a comical statement, partially blaming the media for a way the clause was perceived.

Let’s be actual. The Cardinals don’t imagine in Murray’s work ethic and examine habits. If they did, none of this could’ve occurred. For his half, Murray signed the deal. Either he was conscious of the clause and accepted it, or his agent didn’t relay the language and the contract was inked. Regardless, it’s extremely embarrassing for Murray’s camp, and eliminating the controversial part doesn’t take it away.

Ultimately, the Cardinals and Murray each look ridiculous. Not the way in which both get together needs to be feeling after the largest contract in franchise historical past.

History lesson

You probably know the Buccaneers didn’t win a sport in 1976. You actually know the ’08 Detroit Lions and ’17 Cleveland Browns adopted swimsuit.

But do you know the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Colts additionally had winless campaigns?

As an growth crew in 1960, the Cowboys went 0-11-1 underneath future Hall of Fame head coach Tom Landry. Dallas managed to tie Landry’s previous crew, the New York Giants, 31-31, at Yankee Stadium within the season’s penultimate week.

Then there’s the ’82 Colts. This comes with an asterisk, as Baltimore went 0-8-1 in a strike-shortened 12 months. The Colts solely managed 113 factors, the fewest within the NFL, whereas permitting the third-most factors (236) within the league.

Parting shot

We’re all lacking the purpose about Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins.

For Tagovailoa and his crew, the offseason storylines have been concerning the newly-acquired Tyreek Hill, holdover star wideout Jaylen Waddle and whether or not their quarterback can ship the deep ball. On Saturday, Tagovailoa aired out a beauty to Hill, sending Dolphins followers in attendance into ecstasy.

In actuality, it’s all about whether or not Tagovailoa could be a driver of the offense, and not a passenger. Whether he can hit the slant route on third and 6. Whether he can throw the deep out to bail the offense out of a holding penalty. Yes, the deep pictures are highlights, however soccer video games are gained by way of situational success.

The Dolphins could have a run-first offense with Tagovailoa tasked to make fast reads and correct throws. Hill and Waddle have elite pace, offering their quarterback more leeway.

Tagovailoa should reap the benefits of it.

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