1. New Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis said on a conference call Wednesday night that he’s at a healthy 208 pounds, and those who’ve been around him affirm that’s stayed in shape in his time out of football over the past few months. He was way over 208 last year with the Jets, so this is good news for K.C. But a bigger question remains: Can he still run?
2. Another question is why Revis agreed to a non-guaranteed second year on his new deal. Year 1 is at the minimum, and because there were offsets in his last Jets deal, he was going to make $6 million for the rest of this year, regardless of what he signed for elsewhere. All the $10 million of non-guaranteed 2018 money does is give the Chiefs control and set a ceiling on what he’ll make.
3. The Bills’ move back to Tyrod Taylor was the only choice Sean McDermott had after Nathan Peterman’s five-interception Sunday in L.A. Why? Well, Buffalo has made a bunch of future-thinking moves (trading Ronald Darby, Sammy Watkins and Marcel Dareus) to set the culture and build capital over the past four months. This one was different. Taylor didn’t present a cultural issue, and there was nothing come back for taking him off the field. And so when it became obvious Peterman wasn’t giving Buffalo a chance, there’s no way the coaches could keep playing him and expect the vets to stay focused.
4. In light of his comments on Pittsburgh radio this week, there’s one thing that Ben Roethlisberger should probably understand: If he’s going to play the Brett Favre-patented Will I Play Or Retire game in the offseason, his general level of commitment to football will be questioned. And it’s a fair thing to ask about, all things considered
5. The next checkpoint in Jerry Jones v. the NFL comes with the Dec. 13 owners meeting in Dallas. Now that Jones has backed off his threat to sue the NFL, the ball is in the court of the compensation committee. I’m told they’re chugging along with the details of commissioner RogerGoodell’s extension. Will they push it through without any sort of vote? The answer to that question probably determines where this all goes next.
6. Last week, we detailed what losing Ezekiel Elliott meant in Dallas. On Thursday, they got left tackle Tyron Smith back, and it didn’t seem to matter a lick. And the truth is remarkably simple. Playing without Elliott changes the circumstances of quarterback Dak Prescott, the offensive group around him, and by extension (since the Cowboys can’t control games the same way), the defense too.
7. If you want to see good example of how important such circumstances are for a young quarterback, look no further than the Rams. Los Angeles, behind a resurgent Todd Gurley, ranks ninth in rush offense, which juices play-action elements that allow Sean McVay to marry his run game to his pass game. Since Jared Goff played in a spread in college, creating run-action brings him back to where he’s most comfortable. And all that ties right into McVay’s philosophy: Quarterback is the toughest position, so a coach should do all he can to make the quarterback’s job easier.
8. The Seahawks, sans Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, should be interesting, mainly because they’ll need to learn to win a different way. The Seahawks finished 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st and 3rd in scoring defense from 2012-16. They’re just 10th this year, and they’ve yielded 30-plus twice in the past four weeks. That, of course, means they’ll have to win more shootouts. They did take one against Houston, but last week, you could see they weren’t all that comfortable in a high-scoring loss to Atlanta. Clock management issues at the end were proof. And so you wonder now how the team will evolve. “I would not put anything past Russell Wilson,” said one rival exec of the Seahawks, “but [losing Sherman and Chancellor] are both huge.”
9. The Raiders’ pass rush managed just one sack and four hits last Sunday against the Patriots, and a lot of credit has to go to New England line coach DanteScarnecchia, who’s proving once again to be a ninja in how he develops players. Backup LaAdrian Waddle has played in right tackle Marcus Cannon’s spot the last two weeks, drawing Von Miller and Khalil Mack for most of his snaps, and Ted Karras filled in for David Andrews at center against the Raiders. And for a Patriot line that struggled early in the year, those games went off largely without incident. Given the rules, it’s harder than ever to develop linemen, and even more difficult to develop backup linemen. Somehow, Scarnecchia does it.
10. All the draft picks and money the Ravens have poured into their defense are paying off. Baltimore ranks sixth in total defense, third in points allowed and has pitched three shutouts. Conversely, on offense, problems remain.