NFL News: Player News and Updates for 9/4/14
NFL Updates: News From Around the League, Off-Season Schedule and More
September 4, 2014
Today’s the day. After a long, long off-season of patient waiting, the NFL will finally be kicking things off this evening. We’ve got just a few short hours to wait, so let’s fill our time by taking our daily look at the news from around the league and see what’s happening out there right now.
Welker Outlook: Now that the news of Broncos WR Wes Welker’s four-game PED suspension has had some time to sink in (and fantasy owners have been able to slap their foreheads in frustration), let’s take a closer look at exactly what his absence means to the Broncos, and what we can expect in these four games they’ll be without him.
Welker has served as a safety net for Peyton Manning during his time in Denver (and also Tom Brady before him) by his consistency. He’s one of the best route-runners in the league, and is always exactly where he’s supposed to be when he’s supposed to be there. That’s a huge advantage for a quarterback, and Manning will miss having it.
During Week 15 against the Chargers last season when Welker was out, that precision rhythm seemed to be lacking in the Denver offense, and it certainly showed on the scoreboard.
In the short-term during Welker’s absence this month, there are two teams that jump out as potential red-flags for the Broncos offense. Both feature physical corners that can take away outside passing lanes and require Manning to rely on the underneath routes over the middle that are Welker’s bread and butter. One is their Week 1 matchup, and Manning’s former team, the Indianapolis Colts.
The other is the defending champ Seattle Seahawks, who flat-out embarrassed the Broncos in the Super Bowl.
It’ll take some tweaking on offense to be able to come up with a Welker-less plan that will be effective against these two squads, but it conceivably can be done. We’ll have to wait and see what Manning and the gang can come up with.
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Derek Carr Outlook: One of our favorite subjects this off-season has been the much-discussed rookie QB from Oakland, Derek Carr. He came on strong in the preseason to wrestle the starting job away from new arrival Matt Schaub (who struggled with performance as well as injury), and has thoroughly impressed just about everyone who is around him.
Raiders WR James Jones even went so far as to compare Carr to Aaron Rodgers, whom he knows intimately from his six years in Green Bay.
On Sunday, Carr will become the first Raiders rookie to ever start a Week 1 game, and if that’s not pressure enough, he’ll have to go across the country and do it against a notoriously tough defense in the New York Jets.
That said, Gang Green has lost some of their luster on that side of the ball, especially in the secondary. Injuries and underperformance have severely limited what they’re able to do, so Carr may just have some early success throwing against them.
Week 1 Schedule: The regular season is (finally) upon us, and we can start looking forward to the on-field action as we anticipate the 2014 campaign. Here’s a look at the first week of the season.
Thursday, September 4, 2014:
8:30 PM ET:
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks (NBC)
Sunday, September 7, 2014:
1:00 PM ET:
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (FOX)
Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams (FOX)
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (CBS)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles (CBS)
Oakland Raiders at New York Jets (CBS)
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (CBS)
Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears (FOX)
Washington Redskins at Houston Texans (FOX)
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (CBS)
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (CBS)
4:25 PM ET:
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FOX)
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys (FOX)
8:30 PM ET:
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (NBC)
Monday, September 8, 2014:
7:10 PM ET:
New York Giants at Detroit Lions (ESPN)
10:20 PM ET:
San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals (ESPN)
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