Drew Brees, QB (Saints)

NO 48 at ARI 41

It is the 3rd time this season that Brees has topped the passing yards weekly total (the others: weeks 1 & 6).  This week, he threw for 389 yards, completed 37 of 48 passes, 4 TDs, 0 Int, had a passer rating of 127.9 and was sacked 3 times.  Overall, he leads the league in passing yards (4,559), TDs (34), and first downs (233), through the first 14 games of the season.  Yet with all this success in his 16th NFL season, Brees was not invited to the Pro Bowl this year (the rosters were released Tues).  In fact, no Saints were named on the initial roster.  While Brees has been named 8 times during his career to the Pro Bowl, including twice as an alternate, it doesn’t make any sense that he was not selected this year.  The PB roster selection is determined by a vote of coaches, players and fans with each group getting 1/3 of the vote.  Brees chocks it up to not “[winning] enough games”.  It’s a shame, because he is on pace this season to surpass 5,000 passing yards for the fifth time in his career.  By the way, no other player has done this more than once…

Ty Montgomery, RB (Packers)

GB 30 at CHI 27

Welcome to the list, Montgomery.  Where have you been?  I guess we have the Packers coaching staff to blame, since they appear to have misused this 23-year-old Stanford grad from the start.  Originally, he was drafted last year in the 3rd round to be a WR and kickoff returner.  But, his real talents seem to lie as a rusher.  Last week, on 16 attempts he ran for 162 yards and had 2 TDs.  Now that Eddie Lacy & James Starks are both hurt, Montgomery’s natural physical attributes (6’1, 216 lbs.) and abilities to be patient, speedy and balanced as well as a lack of heavy work load will be a benefit to the Packers, especially as the team is picking up speed like a locomotive towards the playoffs.

Brandin Cooks, WR (Saints)

NO 48 at ARI 41

The best receiver statistically during Week 15 was Cooks who benefited from the Cardinals shoddy man coverage and inventive play calling from his New Orleans coaching staff.  He had the best game of his career with 7 receptions for 186 yards and 2 TDs and was especially good in the 2Q when he caught a pass for a 65-yard TD.  With this performance, he also put up his second straight 1,000-yard season.  Still, Cooks has been unhappy with his inconsistent play this year since he’s had some huge games at home and yet, has not been very productive on the road.   Unfortunately for him (and his fantasy owners), the Saints will finish the season at the Buccaneers and at the Cardinals.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS (Packers)

GB 30 at CHI 27

It was a good week for Clinton-Dix, as he was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career and was chosen as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.  The 24-year-old Orlando native and 3rd year safety made his mark during Week 15 by intercepting Chicago Bears QB Matt Barkley twice, both of which were converted to TDs by the Packers offense.  He also made 5 tackles for a total this year of 65, good for third best on GB.  There should be many fans and friends present for Clinton-Dix at the 2017 Pro Bowl which takes place in Orlando.  He played his high school junior and senior seasons at Dr. Phillips before gaining distinction as an All-American for the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2013.

Chris Boswell, K (Steelers)

PIT 24 at CIN 20

It was a wild game in Cincinnati last week for Pittsburgh.  The Steelers trailed by 2 TDs at one point during the game and came back to win while trying to defend themselves from what they call many “cheap shots” from Bengals defenders.  Luckily, the Bengals once again “imploded” with penalties on four consecutive plays in the 4Q.  But, they also had to contend with the constant brilliance of Pittsburgh kicker Chris Boswell who was 6-for-6 on field goals with 5 coming between 40 and 50 yards (45, 49, 49, 40, 49 and 30).  He became only the 3rd player in Steelers history to kick 6 field goals in a game.  Boswell also saved a TD when he made a tackle on the Bengals returner Alex Erickson after a kickoff he made late in the 2Q almost came back all the way.

Blake Bortles, QB (Jaguars)

JAX 20 at HOU 21

This past week, Pro Football Focus called Bortles’ 2016 season in the NFL a “disaster”.  I would say that adjective is fair, given the fact that the 3rd year QB’s regression was a large part of the reason the team had a disappointing season (2-12) and their head coach Gus Bradley was fired 2 games before the season ended.  Interestingly, Bortles’ performance (good or bad) is very tightly woven into the expectations for the next head coach.  Meaning, if the new head coach stays with Bortles as his QB and Bortles doesn’t improve next season and the Jags continue to stink, will he get the blame too?  If Bortles does very well in 2017 and then falters again in 2018, will the new coach then be on the hot seat in 2 years?  First things first: Jax has to figure out why Bortles’ numbers dropped from last year.  Was his 35-18 TD to Interception ratio and improved 88.2 passer rating in 2015 just an aberration?  Why did those numbers slip to 21-16 and 75.8 in 2016?  Also, why was he so inaccurate this year and why did he continue to make bad decisions on the field?  Should Bortles be solely to blame?  Or, did the coaching staff mishandle Bortles?  A promising sign is that the GM Dave Caldwell said no one is “untouchable” in the organization despite the fact that he still “believes” in Bortles “very much”.   That takes (a little) pressure off of the incoming head coach.  Although, if he decides to stay with Bortles, he should know who the heck he has at QB, for real.


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