5 things you need to know for Sunday
Good morning football fans! Here are the five things you need to know coming out of Saturday to get your morning started right:
- The revamping of the Cleveland offensive line could have RB Isaiah Crowell prepping for a “monster year,” according to Browns running back coach Kirby Wilson. Crowell had the third-highest yards-after-contact average (3.18 yards) in the league in 2016, and now has an offensive line that has added Kevin Zeitler and J.C. Tretter in free agency and gets Joel Bitonio back from injury, which should help boost Crowell’s yards-before-contact number.
- Speaking of offensive lines, the one for the New Orleans Saints suddenly has more issues after LT Terron Armstead suffered a torn labrum. He is scheduled for surgery Monday and is expected to be out four to six months, which could mean he’s out for the whole year. Armstead has been strong when healthy, but has been increasingly injury-prone in recent seasons.
- When the Browns drafted Jabrill Peppers out of Michigan, one of the big questions was exactly what role he’d fill on the team’s defense. With no obvious position in the NFL, Peppers — who played safety, cornerback, and linebacker on defense in college in 2016 (in addition to returning kicks and punts and occasionally playing offense) — had several theoretical options, but so far in minicamp he’s mostly played safety.
- San Francisco rookie WR Trent Taylor has been a minicamp standout. Taylor, out of Louisiana Tech, was “very good at separating” from defenders, per the Sacramento Bee. He could challenge for the role of the team’s slot receiver in 2017 after leading all college receivers in receptions and yards from the slot in 2016.
- It sounds obvious, but most receivers produce better against slower corners than faster ones. But it’s usually close, and not an obvious gap. For new Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks, though, the difference is huge — he puts up 2.91 fantasy points per target against corners with a 4.45-second or slower 40 time, and 1.65 against those at 4.44 or faster. That’s more than double the second-biggest gap in the past decade. PFF Senior Fantasy Analyst Scott Barrett analyzes what this means.