Carson Palmer, QB (Cardinals)

SF 15 at ARI 18

Palmer may have been Week 4’s passing leader with 357 yards and 1 TD, but he is also one of the most sacked QBs in the league (17) and has the most hits (43).  During week 4’s win alone in overtime against the 49ers, the 37-year-old was sacked 6 times and was hit 16 times.  Without his dynamic RB (David Johnson) in the backfield who went on IR in the season opener due to a dislocated wrist and the continued anemic performance by the Cards O-Line, it’s forced Palmer to throw more, as evidenced by his stats.  Perhaps the new acquisition of veteran running back Adrian Peterson from the Saints will give Palmer the chance to stay upright and get the ball moving on the ground more for the Cardinals.  Having Peterson in the backfield may also inspire more play-action passing attacks for even more protection for Palmer.  Personally, I like the procurement of the dynamic running back for the Cardinals.  It won’t solve all of their problems, but could help save their season.

Bilal Powell, RB (Jets)

NYJ 23 at JAX 20

This 28-year-old back has spent his entire 7-year career with the NY Jets.  But, during Week 4, he may have had one of the best games of his life when he carried the ball 21 times, rushed for a career-high 163 yards, and scored a 75-yard TD run in Q1 (the 2nd longest scoring run in Jets history).   He had been asked to fill in for the Jets leading RB (the 31-year old Matt Forte) out with an injury (turf toe).  But, others like former center Nick Mangold think Powell has been “overlooked over the years” and should be the guy “[the Jets] roll with” even if Forte is healthy enough to return in the future.  No doubt Jets GM Mike Maccagnan continues to see the potential in Powell when he kept him on the roster while making drastic cuts in the offseason.  It says a lot about Powell since the Jets have only kept a handful of their own players in recent years.

Keenan Allen, WR (Chargers)

PHI 26 at LAC 24

Chargers QB Philip Rivers relied heavily on the talents of this 5-year career Charger during Week 4 and it paid off.  The 6’2, 211 Lb. receiver caught 5 of 11 targets for 138 yards, making it the 2nd week of the season he topped 100+ yards.  Hopefully Allen can remain healthy this year and continue to work towards obtaining the promise he showed in 2015 when his record-breaking season was cut short due to a lacerated kidney he suffered during a game in Baltimore.  He went on to make a full recovery, but tore his ACL in the 2016 season opener versus the Chiefs.  Now fully mended, Allen has the 4th most receiving yards in the league through Week 4 and one of the highest 1st down percentages.  Rivers remains optimistic about Allen’s health and his ability to help the offense.  He said in July on The Rich Eisen Show about Allen, “He looks like himself… I really think he looks just as good as before he got hurt.” Indeed, Rivers will need Allen to be himself if they hope to win any more games this season.

Cameron Heyward, DE (Steelers)

PIT 26 at BAL 9

Heyward recorded 2 of the teams 4 sacks against Ravens QB Joe Flacco, had an additional 2 more QB hits, 3 tackles, 1 assist, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery to become Week 4’s AFC Defensive Player of the Week.  It is the first time in his 7-year career with Pittsburgh that the 28-year-old out of Ohio State was bestowed the honor.  Head Coach Mike Tomlin said of Heyward after the win, “He’s just everything you want a guy to be. The guy is here every day. He loves the lifestyle, but he also loves the life. The drudgery that’s associated with professional football, the commitment, you see it in him over the course of a 12-month calendar. It’s every day for him whether it’s October or whether it’s May, and that’s probably the chief thing that makes him the special guy that he is.”

Julius Peppers, DE (Panthers)

CAR 33 at NE 30

This 37-year-old 16-year veteran was named Week 4’s NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance which included 2 sacks, 4 tackles, and 3 QB hurries in Carolina’s win over New England in Foxboro.  The award was his 7th such honor, the most among active players.  It’s no wonder, as looking at Peppers’ career stats, he has been incredibly consistent.  Only twice in his 16 years has he played less than 16 games.  In 9 of those years, he’s had a 10+ sack season.  In all of his career years except for 2017 so far, he’s forced at least 1 fumble, averaging almost 3 per season.  And, only 4 other players in the history of the league 36 years or older have put up double digit sacks after turning 35 (Bruce Smith, Reggie White, Kevin Greene, Chris Doleman). Each of those former players are Hall of Famers.  Without a doubt, Peppers will be one too.

Jay Cutler, QB (Dolphins)

MIA 0 at NO 20

Did anyone actually think the Cutler gamble would work in Miami?  Well, the naysayers are having their day, cuz it’s not.  Beyond his poor performance during Week 4 when he was 20-28, 164 yards passing, 0 TD, 1 Interception, 1 forced fumble, at this point in the season the 34-year old has only 2 TDs and as many interceptions (2).  That’s not pretty.  What else isn’t pretty is his coach (Adam Gase) calling him out on his throwing technique after the QB has worked 12 years in the league.  Gase said recently, “When he does have a clean pocket, we have to make sure that he sets his feet and throws the ball the way that I know he can throw it,” he said. “He’s older now. He’s not 25 anymore (he’s 34), so those off-balanced throws are tougher. They’re not gonna happen like they used to. He knows that, and we’ve talked about being able to find that soft spot in the pocket and set your feet and make the throw.” Do you think Bellichick is still coaching Brady on how to stand in the pocket?  The options are slim for Miami and benching Cutler doesn’t make sense at this point, but he has to make my dubious list for helping to bring the Dolphins to the bottom of the stats as worst offense currently ranked in the league (#32).


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