Jalen Richard, holy mama. Kid has moves, speed, and desire. He may have passed Washington as the #2 back behind Murray with that performance Sunday. Whatever happens it’s certainly a good problem for the Raiders to have. Two young, small but powerful speed backs with talent.
Perhaps only Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are better than Brees at drawing players offside on fourth and short. Gotta be smarter than that, particularly on the goal line Shilique Calhoun – welcome to the NFL.
Ben Heeney lost the green dot before the season opener even kicked off. Heeney had said it was a personal goal, so it’s got to sting. But he only made three tackles on Sunday and was routinely out of position in preseason. Sixth-round draft pick Cory James had a strong preseason and may begin taking some time away from Heeney. Malcolm Smith has the green dot back, for now.
Devonta Freeman apparently has a quad injury but it doesn’t appear to be serious and he should be on the field for his regular amount of snaps Sunday. Freeman can be a dangerous one-cut runner in the Falcons zone-blocking scheme if he gets a crease.
Having said that, despite Coleman’s success catching passes out of the backfield Falcons rushers combined for a paltry 52 yards on 22 carries, a 2.4 ypc average. Run stuffers Dan Williams and Justin “Jelly” Ellis didn’t play much against New Orleans, who barely ran the ball. Expect them to be fresh and ready to occupy Alex Mack so the rest of the Raiders line can do some damage.
Speaking of damage, don’t fret about Khalil Mack and a lack of pass rush. Brees is routinely one of the least-sacked QBs in the league because of his intelligence and release, and the Saints schemed well to stop the pass rush. The Falcons tackles are large and tough, but I expect Mack and Irvin to use their bend and athleticism to wreak havoc on Matt Ryan. Mack isn’t one for disappointments and I’m sure he’s itching for a more impactful performance this week.
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