NFL Insider & Sideline Reporter
Within the 5 days after the end result of the NFL’s common season and the beginning of the NFL playoffs, 50 members of the media fill out nameless ballots for all of the postseason awards. I do not need a vote. As an NFL Community worker, I by no means wished something I mentioned or did on the league community held towards me when voting outcomes have been revealed or introduced up. So I sit this factor out. 12 months after yr, I’ve no say in who wins the precise awards. However not having a vote additionally permits me to be very vocal with no agenda and no impression on the precise voting.
I am unable to go on Twitter this week as a result of my timeline is a multitude. Per week after we noticed the nice and the sunshine and the ability of constructive vibes on social media, I’ve gotten fairly the alternative response for my stance that Brock Purdy is the 2022 Offensive Rookie of the 12 months. Who knew this is able to be such a hot-button take? Who knew that Purdy OROY advocacy would match the vitriol and blowback that even our hottest takes on FS1 obtain? Everybody within the NFL has seemingly weighed in, together with a befuddled tweet from final yr’s Defensive Rookie of the 12 months, Micah Parsons.
However this is the factor (as I sound like Alec Baldwin) I stand behind it, as a result of I consider it. What Brock Purdy has completed over the past six weeks has eclipsed the wonderful accomplishments of his fellow rookies. Purdy has stepped in, after spending no follow reps with the No. 1 unit within the first 13 weeks of the season, and has not solely performed properly, however elevated his group and his offense. Purdy is the primary rookie quarterback to win his first 5 begins since Ben Roethlisberger did it in 2004. Roethlisberger was a first-round decide who was all the time anticipated to be the person. Purdy was the final choice in the whole 2022 NFL Draft.
Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Kenneth Walker and Isiah “Pops” Pacheco have all been implausible of their rookie seasons. They’ve all carried out at excessive ranges. I will not blink if any of them win the award. However I feel being dropped into the QB1 spot for for a Tremendous Bowl-contending roster made up of veterans — and making the offense higher than it was with the anticipated QB1 and the man who took the group to a Tremendous Bowl in 2019 — is as unbelievable a feat as we have seen from any first-year participant this yr.
He solely performed in 5 video games. However he gained all 5 of these video games, the 49ers beat a number of playoff groups in these video games and his numbers have been higher than the 2 quarterbacks who preceded him. San Francisco is the No. 2 seed within the NFC due to an important protection, a proficient offense and an elite teaching employees. Do they get there if the No. 3 quarterback would not step in flawlessly and information the ship? The award is being voted on as we converse. This is not sensationalist speak. I not solely suppose he ought to win it, however suppose he would possibly.
The unsung heroes of the Buffalo employees
I had an superior chat with Buffalo Payments GM Brandon Beane on my podcast “The Season with Peter Schrager” this week, and the main focus was on the unsung heroes of the Payments group.
So many people are liable for the unbelievable response to the Damar Hamlin second, and but, there are solely so many whose names will ever be recognized. I used to be so comfortable that Brandon took the time to shout lots of them out. One who wants a point out right here is Payments assistant athletic coach Tabani Richards. Tabani was the Payments staffer who rode within the ambulance to the hospital with Hamlin and hasn’t left his facet since. Beane says that irrespective of the place Damar has been, Tabani has been there, as properly. He is the one who arrange the Zoom session for the Payments gamers and Damar final Friday. When Damar flew to Buffalo, Tabani was, after all, there, and once they landed, Tabani did not go residence, bathe and get a superb meal after an excruciating 5 days in Cincinnati. He went proper to the hospital in Buffalo to be with Hamlin. That is particular stuff.
Beane is aware of a couple of dozen staffers with related tales who won’t ever get the glow they most likely deserve. However these tales are necessary, and as Buffalo continues on this postseason, I positive hope they’re shared increasingly more.
Sean Payton watch
I had dinner with my FOX NFL Kickoff colleagues Sean Payton and Charissa Thompson final Saturday night time. That put me within the surreal place of getting dinner with somebody whereas each TV display round us confirmed footage of him in Saints gear , adopted by B-Roll (business time period) of Russell Wilson.
The reality is, the Denver Broncos will not be alone in in search of Payton’s providers as their head coach. I’m sure within the coming days or even weeks, a number of groups with teaching vacancies — maybe all of them — will request the chance to interview Payton from the New Orleans Saints. And Coach could need to signal proper up and are available again. However he additionally could not. I sincerely consider the scenario needs to be proper. And why is that? As a result of Payton’s scenario is actually good proper now.
Sean Payton on what he’d want earlier than leaping again into teaching
On “FOX NFL Kickoff”, Sean Payton spoke concerning the current inquiries of groups across the NFL considering making him their subsequent head coach.
He lives together with his spouse in a stunning rental in Los Angeles. He walks his canine. He performs golf. His daughter and her fiancee are a stone’s throw away. He works with us at FOX and will get the joys of speaking sports activities and spending Sundays round colleagues who stay and breathe soccer, as properly. He additionally has weekdays off, works regular hours and might go to Cabo, Fort Value, Idaho, Hawaii, Japan, Italy or wherever else in the course of the offseason.
He misses the joys of the competitors and the spirit of the sport, however I feel he may be choosy and I feel he’ll. Do these jobs curiosity him? Sure. All of them do. However with so few vacancies this yr in comparison with final, you’d must think about there could also be much more in 2024. Would he be any worse for the wear and tear if he waited a yr? I feel Payton means it when he says he is comfortable right here. I would not be shocked both means.
The Ben Johnson sweepstakes
Although Sean Payton is the belle of the ball, Ben Johnson often is the extra real looking and inexpensive coach groups are after this month. I feel the Lions offensive coordinator goes to interview for many — if not all — of the NFL head teaching vacancies within the coming days. Johnson is an attention-grabbing candidate as a result of he is 36 years outdated and looks like he got here out of nowhere.
That is not honest to Johnson, who has years of expertise going again to Miami as a large receivers coach and tight ends coach. I additionally suppose it is value noting that Johnson is seen as a grasp communicator. Quarterback Jared Goff, head coach Dan Campbell and numerous different Lions gamers and coaches have raved about the way in which he connects with gamers. Johnson was a quarterback at North Carolina and majored in arithmetic. Good dude, cool dude, progressive dude and an offensive coach — one thing groups covet on this period. I might be shocked if Johnson would not land one of many open gigs.
Tyler “Snoop” Huntley, Skylar Thompson, Brock Purdy, Geno Smith and Daniel Jones are all beginning playoff video games this weekend. Discover me any pundit anyplace who had even one in all them enjoying in a postseason sport earlier than the season began. The NFL is a stupendous thriller. It is why I adore it.
Peter Schrager is an NFL author for FOX Sports activities and a number of “Good Morning Football” on NFL Community. You possibly can comply with him on Twitter at @PSchrags.
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