NFL Preseason
Will Zeke serve his full six game suspension once the NFL preseason is done? (James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys)

If you want an article with your morning coffee that catches you up to speed with your “buddies at the office”, then look no further. You’ll find everything you missed during the week/over the weekend below. In addition to the latest news and observations, at the end of each recap, I will include a Def Pen Sports “mini mailbag”.

If you want your questions answered in the “mini mailbag”, tweet them to @the7threport. I will select a few questions each week to answer and provide thoughtful analysis and insight on.

Now, what did you miss?

Ezekiel Elliott received a six game suspension from the NFL for alleged domestic violence. Elliott receives his suspension without any charges from the judicial system. If my memory serves me correctly, the last occurrence was Ben Roethlisberger in 2010. The commissioner has received heat in the past for not coming down hard enough in the Ray Rice and Greg Hardy instances. My gut feeling is Elliott will appeal this suspension and the sentencing will be reduced to somewhere around four games. Here is Cowboys’ great Emmitt Smith’s take on the suspension.

Trade Alert

The Buffalo Bills were involved in two trades on Friday. In totality, the Bills received WR Jordan Matthews, CB E.J. Gaines, the Rams 2nd rounder, and the Eagles 3rd rounder. The Rams received Sammy Watkins and the  Bills 6th rounder. The Eagles received CB Ronald Darby.

This is a great move by the Buffalo Bills. Entering the 2018 NFL draft, they now have two first, two second, and two third round draft selections equaling six draft picks in the first three rounds. Bookmark this statement – the Bills are making a move for a quarterback: Sam Darnold (USC) or Josh Rosen (UCLA).

I’m not sure what the Eagles were thinking giving up Jordan Matthews and a 3rd rounder for another cornerback, but time will tell us who won this trade.

Kicker Released

Not many times do we see a kicker released so early in their careers after being selected in the second round.

In his first season, Aguayo hit 22 of 31 field goals (71.0%) and 32 of 34 extra points (94%). In 2016, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished last in the NFL in field goal percentage so Aguayo’s release is justifiable. Hopefully, Aguayo finds more success in Chicago.

Rookies in the NFL Preseason

 

Many fans are aboard the hype train of their rookie quarterback after week one of the NFL preseason. Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, and DeShone Kizer all impressed in their NFL preseason debut but is it too early to go all in? This is what’s so great about football being back. Welcome to the NFL preseason.

Watson finished the game 15/25 for 179 yards and a rushing touchdown (81.9 QBR). But the story is not in his numbers. What was so impressive was the poise and control in which he led his offense. He looked more comfortable in this offense than Tom Savage.

The biggest surprise of the three rookies was the play of Mitchell Trubisky who finished his first game 18/25 for 166 yards and one touchdown (103.1 QBR). If you watched the game, you noticed how the Bears simplified the game for him. Almost every pass was a roll out and involved a linear progression. What does that mean? By rolling out, the offense is cut in half; i.e. he only has to survey half the field. Usually, in play-action passes, the reads by a quarterback are linear, meaning they are all in a line right in front of you at different depths; shallows, slants, digs, posts etc. Yes, it was a preseason game, but of the three rookie quarterbacks, I was most impressed by his play.

DeShone Kizer entered the game like a lightning bolt. He finished his debut 11/18 for 184 yards and one touchdown (114.1 QBR). The internet erupted when Kizer threw a ball from his own 39-yard line to the Saints 4-yard line.

I knew he had a big arm, but I didn’t know he could make that throw.

All three quarterbacks certainly earned more responsibility and opportunity to prove their worth to their respective franchises. Although, I cannot help but pose this question: Of the four rookie quarterbacks (including Patrick Mahomes) which one is most likely to start?

The 7th Report: Mini Mailbag

You ask the questions. I answer them. Today, I am answering four of your questions:

“Where do you see Dallas finishing in the NFC East with the Zeke suspension?” – @Jared_Jones25 

I see the New York Giants winning the division. Even before the Ezekiel Elliott suspension, I thought they would win. The Cowboys have enough pieces with Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, and Ronnie Hillman to supplement the running game without Elliott for the first few games. The Giants defense got better and they improved their offense while Dallas lost all four defensive backs, has offensive line questions, and they still don’t have enough pass rushers.

“Who’s your sleeper NFL team pick for this season?” – @Jared_Jones25 

My sleeper team this season is the Los Angeles Chargers. They lost five games last season by three points or less. Philip Rivers is a hall of fame quarterback and this season he has viable playmakers to work with (as long as they stay healthy). I think their defense improved from a year ago and have a chance to win eight or nine games this season. Especially in a division where the Raiders are the clear favorite, but the Chiefs and Broncos will both regress.

“What is the team Kyrie Irving will most likely end up on?” – @willgr0g 

I think there are two “most likely” teams – the Pheonix Suns and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Cavaliers will not send Kyrie to a good team in the East so that leaves the bottom feeders in the East or a team in the West. Of the teams in the West, the Suns and Timberwolves make the most sense personnel wise.

In this trade, the Cavs receive a starting point guard and a tremendous outside shooter, which is exactly what LeBron James likes to play with. Maybe you could even squeeze another draft pick out of Pheonix.

In this trade, the Timberwolves would also need to trade Jeff Teague to make it work. However, he cannot be traded until December. But this trade makes sense because they would receive a wing defender to help LeBron as well as replacing the point guard position with Jeff Teague who is an excellent outside shooter.

“The Cavaliers obviously need to do something different this year to compete with the Warriors. What should they do?” – @J_Shamblin 

Their biggest weakness was not having someone else to guard Durant and score from the perimeter. LeBron sacrificed offensive playmaking to guard Durant defensively. To compete with the Warriors, the Cavaliers need to add wing shooting and defense. The Wiggins/Teague trade for Kyrie Irving would be a home run for both teams, however, I am not sure the Timberwolves will go for it. Wiggins adds the length, defense, and perimeter scoring that would help the Cavaliers mightily.

Remeber, if you want your NFL preseason questions answered in the “mini mailbag”, tweet them to @the7threport. See you next week!

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