SI's fearless NFL expert opines on all the latest news, buzz and inside information. This is just a taste of what you'll get online.
This is an article from the Aug. 16, 2010 issue
1 I think one of the most improved position groups in the league this season could be in the Chiefs' backfield. Jamaal Charles (below) made his case to be an every-down back in Kansas City with a 968-yard rushing performance during the last eight games in 2009. In the off-season the Chiefs used an early-second-round pick on running back Dexter McCluster and later signed the league's second-most-productive back over the last five years, Thomas Jones.
2 Speaking of running backs, I think if you're in a 12-team fantasy league, Chargers rookie Ryan Mathews should be a first-round pick.
3 I think I saw an awful lot of wobbly throws by Alex Smith when I watched the 49ers practice the other day. The attitude in the Bay Area is, We don't need Smith to be a great quarterback; we just need him to execute the offense. Understood. But the 49ers led the NFL last year in a long-yardage category (third down and eight yards or more), which means Smith is going to need to make a lot of accurate throws down the field.