August 17, 2017
Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette made some eyebrow-raising comments about the speed of the NFL.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

1. This weekend’s preseason games will be interesting in light of what’s going on in our country, and what happened in Charlottesville. I’ll be curious to see if more players take the lead of Colin Kaepernick and kneel, sit or have some sort of display ready for the national anthem.

2. So Jaguars rookie Leonard Fournette made news last week, telling my buddy James Palmer at NFL Network that the NFL is “slower than I thought.” That might have been a little much. But per his teammates, Fournette should feel ready physically. “When you watch him, you say, ‘There’s no way a kid at 240 should be running that fast,’” Jacksonville safety Tashaun Gipson told me. “I thought Adrian Peterson … I mean, I would never compare anyone to Adrian Peterson but a guy that big moving that fast, it’s gonna be scary.” More on the Jags in a bit.

3. The release of Roberto Aguayo in Tampa reminds me of what people around him told me last summer—when he misses, it’s a technical issue, and not mental. And there was evidence from a national-title season at Florida State to back that up. That makes Aguayo’s whole circumstance fascinating to me. Maybe this was just the first time he ever had to ask himself if he was good enough.

4. What if Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is cleared in, say, November? I asked Mike Zimmer. His response: “I’ve thought about all that stuff. I’m hoping Sam (Bradford’s) playing well.” So if he’s playing well, there’s no decision to make? “Not really,” Zimmer responded. “I wouldn’t think there would be.” And that is, as much as anything, about being fair to the team.

5. Sammie Coates has become the forgotten receiver in Pittsburgh, but I wouldn’t totally discount him yet. Plenty of wideouts take time, he came from a pure college spread, and his physical ability has never been in question. His health has. He came off the PUP Wednesday. So the first step is just staying available.

6. The Chargers’ failure to fill the StubHub Center on Sunday—especially when juxtaposed again last summer’s Rams preseason debut—is proof positive of the team’s L.A. reality. The only sure-fire way to relevance is through winning.

7. Best thing that Deshaun Watson had going for him coming out of his preseason debut, and maybe the reason he’s gotten some first-team reps this week, is that he avoided turnovers and ran the offense smoothly. If Watson’s to wrest the Texans job from Tom Savage, continued success in those areas will be critical.

8. Given the Lions’ injury issues on the offensive line, people in Detroit could probably use some better training-camp news, and I’ll give it to them here. Jarrad Davis looks like he’s the real deal, and not just as a linebacker, but as a leader. The Lions are pretty optimistic about their first-round pick’s future.

9. We mentioned a couple weeks back that, among a handful of pivotal questions, wide receiver John Brown’s injury situation would loom large over Arizona’s 2017 season. Bruce Arians’ apparent frustration with Brown’s absence was good evidence. Arizona needs him to take some of the burden off still-effective-but-also-33-year-old franchise icon Larry Fitzgerald.

10. We’ll get more into the Bills’ trades in a minute, but from the Rams’ perspective, an important point—GM Les Snead and his largely still-intact personnel staff loved Sammy Watkins coming out two years ago. My understanding is Watkins was under consideration at 2 (that wound up being Greg Robinson) for them.

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