NaVorro Bowman signs with Raiders. Andrew Luck suffers setback. Teddy Bridgewater returns to practice.
1. A big part of the release of NaVorro Bowman, as I understand it, was the 49ers’ confidence in Reuben Foster as an every-down linebacker. Foster has even impressed with his diligence in rehabbing an ankle injury. The Alabama product had some off-field questions going into the draft, but as one source there explained it, “We haven’t seen any of that. He’s a leader.”
2. The Raiders signing Bowman makes plenty of sense. Internally, they’ve long viewed linebacker as the biggest hole on the roster. And the word on the street back in April was that they were looking hard at taking Florida’s Jarrad Davis in the first round of the draft to take care of it. Unfortunately for them, the Lions snapped Davis before they’d get the chance, and so that void remained for Bowman to fill.
3. The news of Jonathan Allen’s season-ending foot injury is a real bummer. The Redskins rookie was borderline unblockable in the final game of his first season, causing trouble all night for the then-unbeaten Chiefs two Sundays ago.
4. If you want to see the potential of Eagles QB Carson Wentz, check out his off-balance, 20-yard strike to Mack Hollins to convert a third quarter third-and-16 against the Panthers in Week 6. The Philly sophomore was off balance and under duress, his eyes remained downfield, and there aren’t many quarterbacks who could get that ball where he did in that situation.
5. The Giants were able to contain the fire that their season’s become in Denver last Sunday night. And Ben McAdoo deserves credit for that, given that it was another crazy week in Jersey, with all the injuries and the Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie suspension.
6. I’ve said here a few times that the Colts aren’t going to put Andrew Luck back on the field until he’s 100 percent, but this week’s development is different. Not only is the soreness an issue enough to shut him down, but this is the week he would have been eligible to come off the PUP list. The Colts chose to not put him on that list just before Week 1, which tells you they expected him back before now. And given the optimism that he’d be ready for the opener back in camp, this makes it twice.
7. The Saints coaches believed that much of their progress defensively would hinge on the success of rookies Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams in the secondary. The two played all but three snaps between them in Sunday’s win over Detroit (Williams played 80, Lattimore played 79), and Lattimore registered a pick-six.
8. It shouldn’t be undersold what kind of comeback Teddy Bridgewater has made. When I asked Vikings coach Mike Zimmer about the quarterback’s recovery over the summer, here’s what he said: “If you asked me that last August, I might have said, ‘I don’t know if he’ll ever play again.’ But now I think he’ll play.” There’s still a fair amount of uncertainty, but getting back to practice was a pretty big step for Bridgewater.
9. It’s worth asking questions now about where Joe Flacco is in his career. He posted passer ratings just north of 83 the past two years, and that number has dipped to 66.1 this season. Now, there’s certainly been moving parts around him, and the offensive line’s attrition hasn’t helped. But his start, coming off an injury-marred summer, hasn’t been pretty.
10. How could you not be looking forward to the Steelers and the Bengals dropping gloves late Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field?