Hope Thanksgiving was fulfilling and filling. Loosen the belt a notch and two and let’s talk about a few players of interest.
Greg Olsen – Still on track to play. Practiced fully and could be active for the game against the Jets who rank No. 25 against tight ends. If he does suit up, there is no guarantee that he will play a full set of snaps. But he sounds encouraged.
Chester Rogers – Ever on the lookout for any player moving up, I was a little surprised that Chester Rogers had no press after the loss to the Steelers. The second-year player led the Colts with 104 yards and one score on six catches before their bye. There was a good article about him in the Indy Star. Donte Moncrief is a free agent in 2018 so there could be a change in the depth chart then. And a reason for the Colts to see what they have on their roster.
Vernon Davis – It was going so well. Davis gained at least 60 yards in almost every game this year and faced the No. 32 defense against tight ends. The Giants gave up at least one touchdown to a tight end in every road game this year. Even Garrett Celek (4-67, TD), Jeff Heuerman (2-24, TD) and the Buccaneers who totaled 143 yards and two scores from their tight ends. So naturally, Davis was thrown only one pass. In the second quarter, he missed his only pass of the game. Niles Paul had five targets and caught three passes for 16 yards. Jordan Reed did not play. In the best situation for Davis this year, he whiffed. And yet played all the normal snaps. Goes to show, you never know.
Hunter Henry – He’s been an enigma this year. Big rookie year, great chemistry with Philip Rivers, Antonio taking a back seat after his record-setting touchdown catch in Week 2. But Henry only turned in about four significant performances this year and hadn’t topped 25 yards since back in Week 7. Once all confidence was lost, he turned up in Dallas with five catches for 76 yards and one touchdown. He was everything that Vernon Davis was supposed to be.
Dez Bryant – I did a study of all the top ten wideouts for the last 20 years and in it, Bryant stood out because no wideout ever had multiple top-ten appearances, skipped three years and then had another. This was Bryant’s third year since his last top ten (2014). He is currently ranked No. 34 in the yards per game so it is pretty unlikely he’ll be top ten this year. Or even according to history. Bryant suffered knee, back, foot and ankle injuries in his career. He is 29 years old and is not the same player he once was. With or without Ezekiel Elliott in the line-up, Bryant isn’t a difference maker anymore and there is no reason to expect him to ever be.
Jared Cook – Worth watching this weekend. Cook landed with the Raiders this year and was held below 50 yards in every game through Week 6. But then he caught six passes for 107 yards versus the Chiefs. Two weeks later, he ended with eight receptions for 126 yards in Miami. This week he plays the visiting Broncos that rank No. 30 versus tight ends and next week it is the Giants coming to town with their No. 32 ranking. The Raiders are no longer trying to do more with the wideouts and have turned to Cook.