A couple of early season behemoths in the NFL rolled the dice with house money Friday as the San Francisco 49ers’ defense got scarier with the addition of edge rusher Randy Gregory, and the Miami Dolphins’ offense folded Chase Claypool into a ridiculously talented group of skill players. The two trades cost next to nothing, and both franchises got off like billionaires after the pandemic.
While the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears each rid themselves of unnecessary headaches after tumultuous starts, Kyle Shanahan and Mike McDaniel are stockpiling for a playoff run, and here’s hoping both squads stay healthy. The Dolphins’ second-year coach was plucked from Shanahan’s coaching tree, and it’s not a coincidence that some of the prettiest football to come out of the league this year has originated with those two coaches.
Dolphins upgrade to late-stage Fast & Furious horsepower
Claypool comes over from the Bears with a 2025 seventh-round pick for the Dolphins’ 2025 sixth-round selection, and he won’t have to worry about his role in this offense because everyone gets a turn. Mixing Claypool with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle is akin to swirling nitroglycerine with plutonium, and C-4. McDaniel also seems like the kind of director who knows exactly how to utilize a moody character actor.
Despite getting pasted in Buffalo by four scores Sunday, Miami still leads all teams in scoring at 37.5 points per contest, and has a +31 point differential. At 6-foot-4, 238 pounds, Chicago’s short-term rental gives Tua Tagovailoa a “possession” receiver who has the ability to stretch a defense as if that was an issue at all.
If the coaching staff can free Claypool from his seemingly self-created issues, the Fins will have the best receiving corps in the NFL, and it won’t really be an argument. San Francisco also has three All-Pro level skill players, but not at the same position, or with a couple of track stars leisurely, threatening standing in the backfield.
We’ll see how long it takes for the novelty to wear off of McDaniel’s scheme (or if that happens at all), but the optimist says this team has yet to peak with corner Jalen Ramsey aiming for a December return. It doesn’t take a sports writer to figure out how Miami’s season goes awry, so I’m going to take the route of a superstitious baseball player and not even mention hit — I mean it.
The real impetus for this gamble? Miami doesn’t want to play anywhere with inclement weather during the playoffs. Keep that offense loose and as far away from Western New York or Kansas City in January, and welcome all comers.
If the 49ers defense had a weakness, it doesn’t anymore
Certain moves have disaster written on them from the jump, and usually, it has more to do with the team than the player. At this point in his career, Gregory is almost a situational player. Seeing as the 49ers’ defense is often in an advantageous situation for an edge rusher, the veteran who’s been tasked with bailing out Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott will now get to run free opposite Nick Bosa.
All it took to acquire the veteran was a 2024 sixth-round pick, and mirroring the Miami-Chicago swap, John Lynch got a seventh-rounder in return, as well. With Denver reportedly responsible for the bulk of Gregory’s 2023 salary, it’s a no-brainer for a Niner’s team that could use another guy to harass the quarterback, and not a bad deal for Denver who got a better return than the alternative of just releasing him.
The undefeated Niners play with a lead as much as any team this season, yet reside in the lower third in sack totals. Obviously, that total doesn’t tell the whole story, but San Francisco has already seen Daniel Jones, and the Giants are half the reason Seattle is tied for the league lead in QB takedowns.
Gregory is as expendable as Sly Stallone’s latest IP dump, yet the 30-year-old theoretically could contribute a lot more than 65-year-old Dolph Lundgren. It doesn’t sound like the Niners’ acquisition will suit up against Dallas on Sunday, but I’m sure there will be a return match in the playoffs, and Gregory will break Dak over his knee, Bane style.
A Miami-San Francisco Super Bowl would be like that Rams-Chiefs Monday night shootout, but with Michael Bay — or whoever’s the current version of Michael Bay that’s not canceled — orchestrating the pyrotechnics.
And now, two Big Ten West teams try to hump a doorknob
For those of you who didn’t sit through the nearly four-hour Nebraska-Illinois game, I’m just going to list off the second-half drive outcomes of both teams in chronological order.
Nebraska: Field goal
Nebraska: Missed field goal
Nebraska: End of game
Matt Rhule’s team inexplicably won this game, 20-7, regardless of its repeated attempts to yack the new Big Ten coach’s first conference W.
Original source here
#Miami #Dolphins #San #Francisco #49ers #afford #gamble