We scour the news around the NFL to bring you what matters most to you and your dynasty team: the most current news on players, both superstars and the relative unknowns, and analysis to decipher the respective situations. These are many of the major stories and not meant to be an exhaustive look at all the recent happenings around the league.
Ben Roethlisberger had secretly been dealing with an elbow injury for quite some time. During the loss to the Seahawks on Sunday, the injury became evident. He was replaced at the beginning of the second half by Mason Rudolph. Ian Rapoport tweeted on Monday, “The #Steelers announce that QB Ben Roethlisberger had an MRI on his right elbow and will need surgery this week. He is out for the season.” Mike Garafolo tweeted, “On phone with a team personnel guy as he Roethlisberger news broke: ‘Obviously it’s a huge loss because of his experience and what he’s done but with the way Mason Rudolph played in the preseason and yesterday, they’ll be in better shape than a lot of other teams would be.’” The venerable Chris Mortensen found an interesting comp for the situation. He tweeted, “When I called Jake Delhomme very early this morning, he didn't even say hello. It was, ‘You're calling about Ben Roethlisberger, aren't you? As soon as I saw it, looked just like my injury.’ - The UCL tear in right elbow, which led to Tommy John surgery in October 2007.” He followed that up with, “Jake Delhomme had the Tommy John surgery and said his arm was ‘better than ever’ six months later. Panthers finished 12-4 that next season (2008) and Delhomme started all 16 games.” Maybe there is an underlying hope for Roethlisberger. Rudolph should not impact the fantasy expectations of the skill-position players and could even be a step up, especially for former college teammate James Washington.
Something is wrong with Cam Newton. It was obvious in the loss to Tampa Bay last Thursday. Jordan Reid saw the same. He tweeted, “Cam Newton has never been the most accurate passer in the world. Now that his arm doesn’t have as much pop behind it to overcompensate for it, the flaw has become more glaring. Last night was tough to watch.” Yes, he was harassed for much of the game, but the “old” Newton would have found a way to be effective. To illustrate the pressure Newton endured, Jenna Laine tweeted, “Cam Newton was 0-10 under duress. That's the most attempts without a completion under duress in his career, per @ESPNStatsInfo. It doesn’t always come in the form of sacks and hits though. He was sacked three times and hit six, but was hurried, forced off his spot quite a bit.” The offensive line struggled in the contest, as evidenced by the poor outing from Christian McCaffrey, but Newton has rarely enjoyed playing behind a solid offensive line. Footballguys own, Chase Stuart, tweeted some context regarding how poorly Newton has played of late, “Cam Newton didn’t have a game with 0 TDs for two years, from Oct 29, 2014 through Oct. 29, 2016. He’s now failed to throw or score a TD in four straight games.” As the Panthers play the Cardinals this week, the pressure is mounting not to start the season 0-3. Jay Pauley tweeted out an interesting perspective about Newton’s playing style. His tweet had a graph depicting Carolina’s win percentage broken down by how many times the quarterback ran the ball. When Newton runs 10+ times in a game, the Panthers have won 76.6% of the time. When the rushing attempts decline to 5-9 per game, the team’s winning percentage drops to 52.1%. When he rushes less than 5 times, Carolina only wins 35% of the contests. Scott Barrett also ran some of the numbers around Newton’s effectiveness of late, “Cam Newton has failed to score a touchdown in four consecutive games. He averages just 6.0 yards per attempt over this span (worst). He's thrown seven interceptions in his last five games. Through two games this season, he totals just five carries for -2 rushing yards.” Putting the puzzle pieces together, the picture is an ugly one. Newton has lost arm strength and does not utilize his athleticism as a runner. This is a BAD combination. Veteran NFL reporter Ed Werder had another interesting note, “Cam Newton’s unwillingness or inability to run is the biggest issue for the #Panthers. They had a fourth-down play to decide game and Panthers go Wildcat and snap to McCaffrey, basically eliminating Cam as run threat.” Werder is 100% correct. Without the threat of Newton running the ball, the offense becomes sterile and predictable. After the Thursday night loss, Werder captured a great quote from Newton, “Cam Newton: ‘I’m extremely, brutally honest with people and I’m extremely, brutally honest with myself. It’s time for me to look in the mirror and do some soul-searching.’” We do not know where this is heading, but an early retirement has to be in consideration. Something must change.