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Fantasy football waiver wire for NFL Week 3 — Devonta Freeman, Dion Lewis among top pickups



We’re prone to hyperbole in analysis, as it’s hard not to overreact in a day and age where everyone is one 280-character Tweet away from chiming in on the topic du jour.

However, it doesn’t feel like hyperbole to suggest that Sunday of Week 2 was one of the most consequential days of injuries that we have seen in years. Maybe decades. It was carnage on Sunday, led by the devastating news that Saquon Barkley is expected to miss the rest of the 2020 season due to an ACL tear, per Adam Schefter and Jordan Raanan.

With so many injuries, this week’s waiver wire column is longer than normal. Here it goes.

Note: All players in this column are available in at least 50% of leagues on

Dion Lewis/Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants (0.8%/0.4%): It’s unlikely that Lewis will have the backfield to himself in New York, as Gallman (another waiver-wire add) will certainly be busy for the G-Men too. I’d urge you to consider either Giants running back, with the nod to Lewis, given his passing game acumen (he’s a nifty pass-catcher) and the fact that it was he who took over for Barkley post-injury in Week 2 (Gallman was a healthy scratch). Both players should be added for now.

Mike Davis, RB, Carolina Panthers (8.0%): Davis won the back-up job to Christian McCaffrey with a strong training camp and was thrust into action after McCaffrey left Week 2 due to an ankle injury. Davis hauled in eight catches while the Panthers tried to play catch-up, a strength of his overall game. If McCaffrey does in fact miss time — he’s never before miss a game in his NFL career — Davis will be called up to be a workhorse. Another add in all leagues.

Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, Los Angeles Rams (45.7%): Following injuries to Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown (finger, which came late in the game), Henderson’s role within the Rams’ backfield ballooned in Week 2. For now, the status of Akers (ribs) and Brown is unknown, which could lead to a sustained role for Henderson — a talented third-round pick in 2019 — going forward. He rushed 12 times for 81 yards and a touchdown, while adding two catches and 40 yards in Week 2. A talented player to add in all leagues.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Free Agent (7.5%): For the first time in my handful of years writing this column, I’m advocating for a player who doesn’t even have a team. Why? Well, Freeman just feels bound to find work soon, given the rash of running back injuries around the NFL — he’s already working out for the Eagles early this week, with a visit planned for the Giants as well. In the right spot, he could become an immediate fantasy contributor. There may be no better place now than the G-Men.

Marquez Valdez-Scantling/Allen Lazard, WR, Green Bay Packers (16.8%/33.7%): After Davante Adams left the Packers’ game due to a hamstring injury, these two young wideouts were counted on even more to step up. MVS and Lazard both had nice Week 1 efforts and posted three catches apiece on Sunday. I’ll give the edge to MVS as my preferred add due to slightly more vertical-play upside, but the reality is that if Adams has to miss time, both of these players will be involved quite a bit.

Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans (27.2%): Davis had three catches in Week 2, one of which found the end zone. He has strung together back-to-back double-digit fantasy points performances, and there’s still no denying how much natural talent he possesses. With A.J. Brown dealing with a knee injury, Davis figures to stay busy in a Tennessee offense with a red-hot quarterback dealing.

Jerick McKinnon RB, San Francisco 49ers (18.9%): Start by checking to see if teammate Tevin Coleman is available (at last check he was around in about 47% of leagues), as Coleman took over as the primary ball-carrier after an injury to Raheem Mostert in Week 2. While Coleman was inefficient, he would figure to be a better bet to lead the team in carries over McKinnon because the team must remain smart while managing his workload. But McKinnon showed great burst in Week 2 and is such a useful pass-catcher, that he’s worth the speculative add.

Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons (20.0%): Rare is the offense that can support three wide receivers weekly in fantasy football, but the Falcons might fit the bill. Gage followed nine catches in Week 1 with another six in Week 2, good enough for 46 yards and a touchdown. Get this: Gage also nearly added another six points as a thrower, as he dropped a dime on a designed pass that Julio Jones should have caught for a nearly 50-yard touchdown. A deeper-league add who will keep finding a way.

Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins (12.4%): I’m going to throw the flag on myself for not having Gaskin on the column last week – colleague Mike Clay was smart to urge me to consider this – as I wondered whether he would truly be the lead back in the Dolphins’ backfield. It sure appears that is the case, as Gaskin handled seven carries but more importantly six catches in Week 2. I’m not sure he’ll be a consistent top 25 play for me, but running back depth is so, so thin in fantasy football that Gaskin should be rostered in all leagues.

Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (26.4%): The Chargers have two talented backs and Kelley’s workload is impossible to miss: he handled 23 carries in Week 2 and rushed for 64 yards. While Austin Ekeler is the clear-cut top back in this backfield for fantasy purposes, there’s so much to like about Kelley’s game and role already. An add in all leagues as well.

Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (43.0%): Sammy Watkins left the game in Week 2 after taking a massive hit and sustaining a head injury. Hardman figures to be much more involved in Watkins is unable to play in Week 3 and many already know this: Hardman is another big play waiting to happen. He’ll likely be at best third in line for targets most weeks, but that’s certainly still good enough when you catch passes from Patrick Mahomes.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins (48.1%): I’m not sure if a Mike Gesicki fan club exists in a formal capacity, but I’ll soon be a card-carrying member if it does. Gesicki has just an absurd catch radius and is tremendous in the red zone, as was evidenced again in Week 2 with his 130-yard performance. It’s very difficult to find a reliable player at tight end, but Gesicki is a player to strongly consider if you’re struggling to find it early. Gesicki has some sincere weekly upside.

Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans (38.4%): Another quality tight end on the waiver wire, as Smith is such a tremendous athlete and very good after the catch. He scored two more touchdowns in Week 2, giving him three for the season. Tennessee offense is once again looking sharp, so don’t be surprised if Smith’s surge continues.

Jordan Reed, TE, San Francisco 49ers (5.6%);Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys (.9%);Mo Alie-Cox, TE, Indianapolis Colts (.5%): Yes, I’m listing three players at once for this blurb, as each had an awesome Week 2, but with two tight end adds above whom I feel better about above, I don’t want to overdo it here. George Kittle could return soon for San Francisco — same goes for Jack Doyle in Indianapolis — and Schultz is an athletic and rising player, but Dallas does have three excellent wideouts who will get theirs too.

Monitor the quarterbacks: It’s hard for me to suggest making a move at quarterback, given how well the expected stars have been so far. No consensus top-10 quarterback is causing me major strife so far, so the names below are worth monitoring in case you’re looking ahead to bye weeks or for depth.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans (34.4%): If there are naysayers leftover, the pool is dwindling. Tannehill is averaging close to 22.5 points per game early on this season.

Gardner Minshew II, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (19.3%): This might be my favorite player in the NFL, which is reason enough to consider adding him. Oh, by the way, he has back-to-back games with 20-plus points.

Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (45.2%): It wasn’t a very efficient night in Week 2, but we saw some of the glimpses that give him a chance to be so special in this league.

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49ers’ YAC Bros the latest addition to Bay Area’s fraternal scene – San Francisco 49ers Blog



SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Bay Area has a history of unrelated brothers leaving a lasting imprint on its sports scene.

The Oakland Athletics once captivated baseball with the power of the Bash Brothers, headed up by Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. The Golden State Warriors built a dynasty on the backs of the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Now the San Francisco 49ers would like you to meet the YAC Bros, a group of skill position players making their mark by running past, around and — most importantly — over any defender standing in their way.

While it’s undoubtedly a catchy name, the Niners’ edition has a long way to go before it can be mentioned in the same breath as the A’s and Warriors’ fraternity.

How far? When Niners receiver Deebo Samuel first mentioned the nickname publicly, welcoming rookie Brandon Aiyuk to the club along with himself and tight end George Kittle, that message apparently wasn’t communicated to Kittle.

“Am I a part of the YAC Bros?” asked Kittle. “I didn’t get a formal invitation or a T-shirt or anything. I don’t even have the Deebo shirt, so a little salty about that.”

Official membership registration issues aside, YAC is more than just an acronym used to create catchy nicknames and merchandise. For the 49ers, it’s the foundation on which their offense has been built.

To clear up any confusion, the Niners want YAC by the boatload from both of its definitions — yards after catch and yards after contact. Seven games into the 2020 season, the Niners rank first in the NFL in both categories with 682 yards after contact and 1,086 yards after the catch. Since the start of 2019, San Francisco also tops the league in those statistics.

With coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch calling the shots, that’s not a coincidence. It is, however, something that’s become more of a priority each year since they took over in 2017.

“That was something we kind of valued was the ability to run after the catch and then we probably took it a step further,” Lynch said. “It’s something we talked a lot about early but we probably started talking a little bit more as some of our system evolved and then we started seeing some people who did it really well.”

At the outset of every offensive meeting, Shanahan brings up the No. 1 fundamental of YAC: the drop step. If that sounds like a basketball term left to the sweet feet of guys like Hakeem Olajuwon or Tim Duncan, it’s because it is.

Shanahan and his staff used to tell players to “turn in your shadow,” a way of conveying the importance of getting upfield. They soon realized that sometimes the sun would be in different places during practice which made it more confusing. So, they borrowed from their basketball brethren.

Put simply, when a pass-catcher gets the ball, he plants one foot in the ground and immediately pivots the opposite direction, forcing his body to turn up the field as fast as possible.

For a good example of what it means, the Niners always point to wideout Kendrick Bourne‘s third-and-16 catch and drop step for a key first down late in a fourth quarter win against the Rams last year.

“[It’s] just the fastest way to go North and South,” Shanahan said. “It’s something we preach to everybody, regardless of what your skill set is and I think our guys really have taken ownership of it. They watch each other do it, and I think they kind of all feed off each other. We’ve got some talented, physical guys who don’t mess around.”

Therein lies the other pillar to the Tao of YAC, especially the contact version: A great drop step doesn’t mean much if it’s not paired with the mentality required to fearlessly take on any approaching defender with the intention to deliver rather than receive a hit.

When the 49ers drafted Kittle in 2017, they believed in his potential as a pass-catcher but knew they would have to develop it. Tight ends coach Jon Embree immediately began hammering home the importance of running with reckless abandon, noting that opposing defenders will start taking “creative angles” once you’ve established that you’re not only unafraid of contact but actually enjoy it.

“YAC is a mindset,” Kittle said. “It’s something that coach Shanahan and our coaching staff has been preaching ever since I was a rookie.”

The emphasis on YAC allows Shanahan to dial up plays that protect the quarterback and make the offensive line’s job a bit easier with the ball coming out quick while also still allowing for big plays. It’s why the 49ers can rank 30th in air yards per target (6.55) but ninth in yards per catch (11.83) and explains how Samuel’s average depth of target on 11 catches the past two weeks was negative-4 yards but still averaged 11.9 yards per reception.

“You’ve got to be able to run pretty fearless,” Shanahan said. “If you’re running around looking at who’s going to hit you, it’s really hard to attack and get up the field. … The best guys after the catch are the guys who don’t mess around, they just get right up the field and get whatever yards they can. I feel like we’ve got a bunch of those guys.”

Kittle’s emergence, particularly in 2018 when he racked up a then-record 855 yards after the catch, further opened Shanahan and Lynch’s eyes to the benefits of players who can create extra yards. It helped lead to the choice of Samuel in the second-round of the 2019 NFL draft and to moving up in the first-round to choose Aiyuk this year.

“When one guy does it well you say, ‘Wow, that’s pretty effective,'” Lynch said. “Let’s go try to find a guy like Deebo and then you see Aiyuk, you know, our eyes kind of gravitate. We have kind of arrived at something.”

At Arizona State last season, Aiyuk averaged 10.9 yards after the catch, highest among all rookie wideouts to enter the league this year. For Aiyuk, it came natural but he learned soon upon arrival in San Francisco that YAC isn’t just a statistic, it’s one of the 49ers’ family values.

“Whether it be catching an in-breaking route, sticking that foot in the ground and getting vertical or catching the ball where your back is to the defense and you’re drop stepping and getting vertical right away — those are kind of things you don’t normally hear a lot,” Aiyuk said. “I didn’t hear that a lot in college, it was just kind of something that you did but here it’s just something that is emphasized and it’s coached.”

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Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger are about to become the most-sacked quarterbacks ever



As great NFL quarterbacks aim for the record books, sometimes they get knocked into them.

The distinction of the most-sacked quarterback ever will soon belong to the Tampa Bay BuccaneersTom Brady or the Pittsburgh SteelersBen Roethlisberger, who’ve gone down behind the line of scrimmage a combined 1,017 times over 38 regular seasons.

The record belongs to Brett Favre, who surpassed John Elway (516) in his final NFL season in 2010 and finished with 525. A decade later, Favre can pass on the badge of honor.

But with Roethlisberger and Brady sitting at 511 and 508, respectively, the next-closest active quarterback is Aaron Rodgers with 455. Whoever survives this two-man battle of durability could hold the record for a while.

“It’s unbelievable durability to take those (hundreds of) sacks and keep producing like these guys have,” said Sebastian Vollmer, Brady’s right tackle with the New England Patriots from 2009 to 2016. “They get hit extra hard sometimes. It’s a beating. They fight through injuries. Some people think quarterbacks are soft, but man they are tough.”

Clearly this is a longevity stat. Elite quarterbacks who play more than 15 years and thrive in the pocket will take their shots.

And these future Hall of Famers aren’t exactly sack magnets. Based on pure dropbacks (not scrambles), Roethlisberger gets sacked 6.4% of the time compared to 4.7% for Brady; those figures are not even close to cracking the top 10 for quarterbacks with 200-plus sacks since Elias Sports Bureau started tracking in 1963.

Greg Landry tops that list at 12.1%, and not far behind are David Carr (10.5%), Randall Cunningham (10.1%) and Roger Staubach (9.6%).

Brady and Roethlisberger got here with vastly different styles. Brady has never been sacked more than 41 times in a season, making quick decisions at the line and navigating the pocket with a few shuffles of his feet.

Roethlisberger took at least 46 annually from 2006 to 2009 due to his willingness to improvise and hang around the pocket for six, seven, eight seconds to find the open man. Over time, he has developed into a potent quick-strike passer to protect his body.

This season, Brady is getting the ball out of his hands in 2.60 seconds per dropback compared to 2.27 for Roethlisberger. Since 2016, the averages are 2.66 and 2.54, respectively. Their evasive ways in 2020 are impressive, with Brady recording zero sacks in four of his seven games and Roethlisberger taking no more than two sacks in a game.

Even so, they’ve dominated for the better part of two decades, winning a combined eight Super Bowls and counting.

With the help of several pass-rushers who have sacked both quarterbacks and offensive linemen who have blocked for them, here’s how these quarterbacks ended up here.

Tom Brady: The ‘trophy sack’

Carlos Dunlap couldn’t help himself.

He waited 10 seasons to sack Brady, and after the Cincinnati Bengals defensive end finally made it happen — beating the left tackle off the edge to wrap Brady up from behind in Week 15 last year — he approached the quarterback a second time.

“I told him [after the game] I finally got him on my résumé, so I need something to remember it by,” Dunlap said. “It was super rewarding. I’m sure a lot of people ask him. That’s why I don’t want to. But he seemed to respect the play I made.”

Days later, Dunlap got the package in the mail: Brady’s game jersey with a note encouraging him to “keep it going.”

Sacking Brady is like receiving a trophy for pass-rushers, who often get flustered by his decision-making and a Patriots scheme designed to protect him.

In just six games with Brady in Tampa Bay, guard Ali Marpet has noticed defensive linemen feeling “defeated” going up against Brady because “he’s got a really good sense of where pressure is coming from and has an answer to that pressure,” thanks in part to a level of commitment with his wide receivers.

Why it’s surprising Brady has 500-plus sacks: He averages 1.75 sacks per game for his career, which is lower than every current starting NFL quarterback above 30 years old except for Drew Brees (1.48), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Brady has simply outlasted everyone. He’s set to hit 301 career regular-season games by year’s end, one short of Favre’s 302.

Former Indianapolis Colts star Dwight Freeney is 18th on the all-time sacks list with 125.5, three of those on Brady, but the quarterback was one of his greatest challenges, even if Brady dreaded playing him.

Freeney sacked Brady the first time he played him, on Nov. 30, 2003, and faced Brady’s Patriots 11 times in his career. But the Patriots constantly switched up protections on Freeney, prompting him to watch years-old film to pick up tendencies.

Freeney still cringes at the time Brady — while Freeney was a Charger late in his career — made a pre-snap adjustment that put him in man coverage on Rob Gronkowski for an easy score.

“Once you get there you can blow on him and he falls,” Freeney said. “But it’s harder to get there because of his intelligence, the way [his teams] play the game. I loved playing him. [Brady] wants to win so badly, he doesn’t care if he gets hit.”

Sure, Brady’s 225-pound frame isn’t exactly imposing. The 2000 NFL combine taught us that. But not everyone shares Freeney’s feather-like experiences.

Colts defensive end Justin Houston — who sacked Brady three times in three games while with the Chiefs — said Brady has sneaky strength when he wants to use it.

“He’s stronger than you think. It’s not expected,” he said. “I thought he would go down easier when I hit him. … I got a hold of him pretty good and it took an extra effort to pull him down.”

Brady’s general indifference to contact helps him keep an edge on pass-rushers who think they’ve rattled him.

Cleveland Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon said he once “nailed [Brady] pretty good” when he played for the Miami Dolphins. He thought Brady would leave the game, and this is coming from a guy who sacked Brady 4.5 times in nine career games against him, the first in 2013.

“All he did was get up and pat me on the back and said, ‘good hit,'” Vernon recalled. “I was like, what? I literally put all 260 pounds of weight on you. Before I could say anything back, he was already going with the no-huddle.”

Ben Roethlisberger: ‘The Gladiator’

Ramon Foster saw Roethlisberger take hundreds of hits when blocking for him for 10 seasons. Never once did he hear Roethlisberger complain about a protection or a sack allowed.

“He would just say (before a game), ‘Hey guys, try to get me a couple more seconds on it’ — because we knew he was going to make a play,” Foster said. “We were made to feel like rock stars because we were blocking for Ben.”

Roethlisberger’s game is symbolic with artistry; while Brady is a rhythm passer, Roethlisberger is a creator. He’ll turn the pocket into a personal maze while keeping his eyes downfield for the sake of positive yardage, even if it leads to more sacks.

Roethlisberger’s 223 career games fall well short of Brady and Favre, and he’s third on the all-time sacks list despite missing 14 games last season with an elbow injury that required surgery.

“He’s a gladiator — his mentality is, ‘I’m gonna make a play for my team,'” said Freeney of Roethlisberger. “That’s why I loved playing Pittsburgh, because Ben didn’t care if you got to the backfield, he was going to shrug you off. (Back then) you could hit a quarterback.”

Despite the possibility of a few vintage Big Ben moments each Sunday, Roethlisberger has altered his game to preserve his health. Likely realizing Roethlisberger was pacing for the all-time sack record far too early, the Steelers prioritized keeping him clean. Bruce Arians, who now coaches Brady in Tampa Bay, had Super Bowl success as Roethlisberger’s offensive coordinator, but it was known at the time that his offenses asked quarterbacks to stand tall in the pocket for as long as it took to manufacture big plays.

The Steelers eventually moved on from Arians and hired Todd Haley in 2013.

Since 2015, Roethlisberger has taken 92 sacks in 64 games, equating to a 1.43 per-game average (better than Lamar Jackson‘s 1.46), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Roethlisberger’s passing attempts are down to 33 per game this year, nine short of his 2018 pace.

Roethlisberger still can use his 6-foot-5, 241-pound frame to wiggle out of jams, so pass-rushers must strategize.

One plan: Attack the limbs of the tree.

“You’re better off grabbing his arms,” said Dunlap, who has played Roethlisberger’s Steelers 18 times and has 3.5 sacks on Roethlisberger, his first half-sack coming Dec. 12, 2010. “He’ll let you hang on his legs while he can throw it. I’ve seen him try to throw with his left hand, too. Try to get him with both arms. If you go low, he’s just too big.”

Roethlisberger’s bio has listed him at 241 pounds for years, but he’s been known to play bigger than that at times in his career. Vollmer says Roethlisberger is “as big and strong as most defensive ends.”

Every defensive line meeting starts Pittsburgh week the same way, Houston says, with coaches stressing “how strong Roethlisberger is. They make it known off the top.”

Roethlisberger mostly operates in traditional dropbacks, minimal bootlegs, lots of no-huddle. He never changed the formula, even as Terrell Suggs — who sacked Big Ben 17 times while a Baltimore Raven, more than anyone — was ready to pounce. Foster recalled Suggs’ favorite line pre-snap — “Big boy, coming for you” — which would sometimes cause Roethlisberger to joke, ‘Who’s that guy again?” from the huddle. Suggs even broke Roethlisberger’s nose from a hit in 2010. But the two hold a mutual respect, and exchanged jerseys after a game in 2018.

Foster has seen pass-rushers sack Big Ben early and then shut it down the rest of the game, because they got what they wanted.

“You don’t think about it too much until after (the game), like ‘Damn, I got Big Ben down,'” said Vernon, who has three sacks in three games against Roethlisberger, the first coming with the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 8, 2013.

Houston was so pumped to sack Roethlisberger back in 2012 that he got fined for a tandem celebration with Tamba Hali in the backfield. “It felt great — until I looked at my paycheck,” said Houston, who has sacked Big Ben twice in five games.

Who is next in line?

That Roethlisberger and Brady surpassed 500 sacks and still produce is a nod to their rare consistency. Most quarterbacks don’t last this long, with Roethlisberger leading the Steelers to a 6-0 start in his 17th season and Brady improving to 5-2 with a new team at age 43.

Just look at Roethlisberger’s 2004 draft class: No. 1 pick Eli Manning retired in January, just after his 39th birthday, and Philip Rivers, 38, is on a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts after the Los Angeles Chargers moved on. Brady’s entire quarterback class from the 2000 draft retired by 2010.

Peyton Manning retired at 39, John Elway at 38, Steve Young at 37 and Troy Aikman at 34. Despite 40-something anomalies Brees and Brady, playing forever is mostly a dream.

Some of the game’s brightest playmakers from inside and outside the pocket will take enough hits to challenge that dream in a big way. There’s a common thread between quarterbacks who create their own shot, and pain.

Deshaun Watson, 25, averages 3.27 sacks per game for his career, tops among active starters, and he’s on pace for 51 sacks this season. (His offensive line is a big culprit here.) Russell Wilson, 31, a master of avoiding the big hit because of his sliding ability, took 99 sacks from 2018 to ’19, pumping his career average to 2.72 sacks per game. At this pace, Wilson will hit the 525-sack milestone in approximately 60 games.

Rodgers can get there in less time, roughly 29 games, because of his 2.45 sack average over 16 years. He turns 37 in December. (Roethlisberger and Brady could keep playing and extend the sack records — especially if Roethlisberger goes another three years.)

All three quarterbacks are elite at throwing on the run. For contrast, the man atop the quarterback pantheon, Patrick Mahomes, has the rare ability to evade sacks, averaging 1.45 per game through three-plus seasons.

“Creators [at quarterback] are going to live and die by it, and it leads to big plays but sacks, too,” Foster said. “It’s all situational.”

Pass-rushers, in theory, get more sack chances due to inflated passing numbers. Twenty-seven NFL teams are averaging at least 33 passing attempts per game, compared to 17 in 2010.

But as Marpet pointed out, many offenses treat passes like short runs with screen passes and bootlegs, minimizing the threat of a sack.

Pass-rushers believe it’s harder than ever to get sacks because of the league’s protection of quarterbacks. Pass-rushers struggled adjusting to narrowing strike zones and the body-weight rule implemented in 2018 to help defenseless quarterbacks.

The NFL recorded an average of 56 roughing-the-passer penalties through the first six weeks of 2018 and 2019, a stark jump from the past 20 years, though the number dipped to 44 through six weeks this year.

Freeney believes there should be “more of a focus on intent (to harm)” with officials than policing a strike zone that quarterbacks can manipulate by sliding their body to get calls, similar to a charge in basketball.

“The rules have changed so much that it’s more about disruption, how they feel their presence,” Houston said. “Back then you could get them to the ground, and now you have to just grab them pretty much and hopefully the ref blows the whistle dead. You have to try to make adjustments on the way to the ground.”

Linebackers will still get shots on Brady and Roethlisberger, because they stand tall in the pocket and deliver.

And they keep getting up.

“Maybe it’s the age, the combination of having the awareness, but players like (Brady) have a feel for taking those big hits, how to avoid them, and how to counterattack before they get there,” Marpet said.

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Sources — Cincinnati Bengals tell Carlos Dunlap to stay home amid trade talks



The Cincinnati Bengals have told defensive end Carlos Dunlap to stay home rather than come to work Wednesday as the team sorts out his future, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.

They have had trade talks centered around their disgruntled pass-rusher, and those are continuing, according to the sources.

NFL Network first reported the news.

Tensions involving Dunlap escalated Sunday in the Bengals’ 37-34 loss to the visiting Cleveland Browns. After the Browns scored the winning touchdown with 11 seconds left, Dunlap got into an argument with defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo regarding playcalling, a source familiar with the situation told ESPN’s Ben Baby.

Television cameras captured Dunlap being restrained by Cincinnati assistant Nick Eason, the team’s defensive line coach, before the ensuing kickoff. Dunlap also posted a property listing on his social media accounts after the game.

Dunlap, a former Pro Bowler, has spent all 11 seasons of his career with Cincinnati.

“We just handle that internally,” coach Zac Taylor said Sunday, when asked about the situation. “We got a group of guys in the locker room who want so badly to do things the right way and get this to where we want to be.”

Dunlap was not available to speak after Sunday’s game.

The turmoil involving Dunlap went to a new level Oct. 8 when Dunlap told reporters he had been demoted from his starting role during a news conference. On Oct. 19, Dunlap went on Instagram Live to further voice his frustration. Then on Saturday, Dunlap posted a photo of the defensive end rotation that had him third and said “Zac/Lou they got an experiment, but I don’t got time for this”.

Dunlap and veteran defensive tackle Geno Atkins played only 12 defensive snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Browns, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

Dunlap, a second-round pick in the 2010 draft, is in the midst of a four-year deal worth $54 million that expires at the end of the 2021 season, according to ESPN’s Roster Management System.

ESPN’s Ben Baby contributed to this report.

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