Welcome back football fans of America!  I’ve accepted at this point that this is a biweekly series as I continue miss weeks – I apologize for that.  The jury is still out on my last article’s takes as the Cowboys have been up and down, the Rams have played against mediocre offenses, and the Bears have fallen inches short the last two weeks.  Here’s to another slew of takes. Let’s ride.

 

Take: Blake Bortles is the BOAT (Bad Obviously at Throwing).

On point.  Prior to the season starting, the Jacksonville Jaguars were a heavy favorite to take the AFC crown this year (besides the Patriots of course).  But the one man holding this team back has been Blake (the BOAT) Bortles. Bortles was signed to a three year deal worth at least $26.5 million, and just this week, he was benched midway through the game (posting a 34.5 PFF grade) in favor of Cody Kessler.  This is not a good look for the most expensive player on the team as he is (and has been) the biggest liability on the team at the same time. The Jaguars still boast elite talent all over the roster, but if Bortles doesn’t get his ish together soon, they can kiss the Lombardi trophy goodbye.

Take: Special teams aren’t worth anything in the NFL.

Way off.  What’s the point of having kickoffs and punts in football?  Apparently they win you football games. Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have put an emphasis on every part of the team, which has clearly paid dividends.  Special teamer Matthew Slater has made it to seven straight Pro Bowls and has been named First-team All-Pro four times in his career. Recently signed kick return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson, who scored on a kickoff this week, has a career average of 30.4 yards per return and a couple of First-team All-Pro biddings to his name.  Stephen Gostkowski has also been named as a First-team All-Pro twice, and he is the third most accurate kicker in NFL history. Not enough teams are taking advantage of this third of the game; the Rams have emerged as a dominant force alongside the Patriots with their First-team All-Pro punter, kicker, AND punt returner. Take notes everyone.

Take: Khalil Mack is a shoe-in for DPOY.

Way off.  First thing’s first, Khalil Mack is one of the best defensive players in the league – when he’s healthy.  Mack has been battling an ankle injury the past couple of weeks, and this has shown through his play. After a historic tear to start the season, Mack has posted PFF grades of 47.8 and 55.0 the past two weeks.  These performances have come against offensive lines graded in the bottom half of the league in pass blocking according to PFF. Should the Bears sit him until he’s healthy? Probably not. But this injury is something to worry about, and may keep Mack from winning DPOY and the Bears from making the playoffs.

 

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

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