By: Peter Vandeventer
As Thanksgiving arrives, we all will enjoy our time with those around us and show appreciation during an atypical year. But to be honest, what makes (or breaks) Thanksgiving is the food. You have to have someone in the kitchen who really knows how to cook it and if you don’t, then it might be a flop. It’s safe to say if you don’t know how to cook then you might just have to give someone else a shot. Here are a few players whose teams should let them cook the rest of the season, as well as a couple that need to get out of the kitchen.
Let ‘em Cook
The Lions have played spoils a bit this season taking down the Cardinals, and took both the Bears and Saints to the end. But they still have yet to really hit their mark as a squad but that can change with the emergence of D’Andre Swift.
Entering the week, D’Andre Swift has steadily had an increased workload but that isn’t set in stone. Though Adrian Peterson has flashed, he isn’t getting younger and isn’t in the team's plans down the road after this year. Swift has dealt with his share of injuries so far and that’s really hurt his reliability in this offense. But combined with Stafford (partially torn ligament in thumb) and Golladay (Hip), the Lions are in dire need of some change on the offense and that has to be found with Swift. The offense has spent the past decade relying on Stafford but with the lack of success and his injury that will linger, maybe turn over the apron to the youngster.
If Swift can turn it on down the stretch, with a few things rolling their way, the Lions could make the NFC playoff picture cloudier.
Alright, hear me out.
No, Lamar isn’t a budding star trying to break out because he HAS already done that. The issue he faces now is the Ravens offense has pigeonholed him as a running QB that’s unable to throw it when needed.
When you turn on the tape, you see that Jackson is very capable of hitting his receivers but he is suffering from a lack of talent and a stale offense that has been figured after his breakout 2019 season. The Ravens have no need to reinvent the wheel when they have one of the league's youngest and brightest stars in the backfield. Just give him more of a shot to take the game into his hands that doesn’t mean he has to take off and run. His receivers need to step up and he’s doing his best with a lackluster receiving corps so it’s up to the coaches to really get creative and make it less one-dimensional.
The addition of Dez Bryant might help a little but that’s just a piece of scotch tape on top of an otherwise large crack on the side of the boat that is this Ravens offense. There are a few other options on the market right now but it will continue to circle back around to Greg Roman. If they can recapture a little of the lighting that was the 2019 Ravens then this team can make the rest of this season a lot more intense (and interesting) for the NFL.
I think it’s clear by now that none of the QBs on the Jags roster are their long-term answer at QB but the only one that has brought hope has been Gardner Minshew. What do you have to lose by going with Gardner Minshew? Once he is fully healthy, Minshew can seriously make this Jaguar team a trap game waiting to happen as they face the Titans, Ravens, Bears, and Colts to end the season.
I’m using Minshew here because I think that if Jacksonville can find a way to unleash Minshew Mania once more, then he might be able to convince the Jags that they can wait at least one more year before taking a long-term answer at QB. So, in that sense, Minshew with nothing to lose is scary and is deserving of having the full kitchen at his disposal through the end of the year. Until then, Mike Glennon/Jake Luton will have to tide fans over.
(Respectfully) Get Out of the Kitchen
Wentz has shown some clear regression since his sophomore season. He shows clear issues with his decision making and general clumsiness. Already with 14 interceptions and 10 fumbles, Wentz is shooting this offense in the foot.
The Eagles are still favored to win the division but that is shrinking as all 3 teams below them have shown some positive aspects. I’m not at the point of saying “Bench Wentz, start Hurts, and don’t look back.” I am however concerned that this hasn’t been thoroughly discussed (at least not known to the public). If Wentz stays as the QB for the remainder of the season, the Eagles have to be serious about limiting his role to simply a game manager and highlight Sanders, Fulgham, and their TEs.
Call it a crazy year or something, but whenever you think Wentz is going to turn the corner on the season, you see him making boneheaded mistakes. So please, for the people of Philly, can Wentz get out of the kitchen or at the very least stand in the corner and watch.
Up to this point, I’ve talked mostly about teams trying to recreate their offense so they can try to make a push through the last leg of the season. The Jets on the other hand, umm… well whatever the Jets plan on doing with Darnold, it’s best to just shut him down. Already being eliminated from the playoffs, they have nothing to take a chance on and that’s what Darnold does with this offense.
With Joe Flacco at QB, the Jets have put up some real close games, while Darnold has proven to be more careless with the ball. Flacco has a 6:3 TD to INT ratio while Darnold is reciprocating that at 3:6. It should be clear right now that the Darnold experience in New York is over so it’s really best for him to take a step back and recollect himself. He’ll get another shot somewhere and he needs to be both healthy and in a better state of mind. This is a breakup we all see happening, just a matter of time. Darnold’s contract has him in New York through 2021 but he won’t enter next year with the same sentiment as years prior. Let someone else take over because the only redeemable quality for the Jets season is that they’re getting closer to Trevor Lawrence.
Russell Wilson and Dalvin Cook have both been given the reins to the kitchen and have spent this year cooking. Might be time for some other teams to be more susceptible to change. Not saying that Swift will do what Cook is doing, nor that Gardner will turn into Wilson, but that they can really open up their respective offenses if given the hat and apron. However, it goes, just know to (safely) enjoy the time with those around you and make sure to fill up on all the amazing food you can!