Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - June 4 2020

The Weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

Lane Taylor - Love what the Packers did here, saving almost 3M in salary cap money. They had all the leverage, as they could have cut Taylor now and saved 4.5M on the cap. If cut, Taylor would have had a tough time latching on with another team during this unusual offseason. From Taylor's perspective, restructuring his deal got him guaranteed money when there are few guarantees in life right now. The deal gives the Packers some more money they'll need to sign some of their own free agents to extensions, or maybe bring back Tramon Williams. That's the money side of it, but what I really like about the deal is they keep what I consider an important depth piece that, if healthy, could even give Billy Turner a good battle for the starting RG job. A win on all counts for the Packers.

Packers receivers coach -  With so many young wide receivers on this roster, wouldn't you have preferred a more experienced receivers coach get the job? No offense to Jason Vrable, whose work ethic LaFleur raved about, but an offensive assistant with no real experience coaching receivers? Can't say I feel confident about this.

Simon Stepaniak - The Packers are getting around to signing their draft picks, and this week, 6th-round OL Simon Stepaniak was brought into the fold. The deal is estimated to be worth 3.45 M over four years. I recently spoke to an NFL scout about the Packers OL draft picks and in his opinion, Stepaniak is the best of the three. He thinks Stepaniak could be the starting right guard for the Packers in 2021, after he gets himself healthy (torn ACL) and has a year to learn the ropes. If it happens, that would be a major win for Gutey.

Canadian Football League UDFAs - I guess if you come from the CFL, it's required that you have an amazing back story. If you haven't done so yet, do a little reading on Reggie Begelton and Marc-Antoine Dequoy. These are underdog stories you're going to love. I'll be rooting hard for them both.

Hornung and Taylor - Were both New Orleans Saints at the same time - this is not something I remembered. Probably because Hornung never actually played for the Saints due to a pinched nerve in his neck that ended his career. 

 

 

 

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"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  

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Comments (52)

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packerbackerjim's picture

June 04, 2020 at 07:14 am

I hadn’t seen that photo before either. I remembered how it broke Lombardi’s heart to cut Hornung. The business end of sports can be difficult to experience.

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Since'61's picture

June 04, 2020 at 09:52 am

Lombardi didn’t cut Hornung. He put him on the expansion list never thinking the Saints or the Falcons would take him due to his injury. The Saints took him with the hope that his name or the roster would help ticket sales. Hornung retired before he ever played a down with the Saints. Thanks, Since ‘61

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ricky's picture

June 04, 2020 at 11:12 am

The business being tough? Sure is; just ask Lane Taylor.

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packerbackerjim's picture

June 04, 2020 at 11:36 am

I can remember most things: some other, not so much. Good pick up, Since ‘61.

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Since'61's picture

June 04, 2020 at 11:50 am

You and me both, packerbackerjim. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Guam's picture

June 04, 2020 at 07:26 am

Taylor is now a good deal for the Packers. You don't want a backup consuming $4.5 million in cap space. If he beats out Turner for RG, even better as they could let Turner go and recover cap space for 2021 and beyond. Between their three 6th round draft choices they should have depth covered for the interior line positions. Maybe Runyun is a RT, but I will believe it when I see it.

I would really rather see the Pack use the money for an IDL free agent. With M. Adams in legal trouble, their already questionable DL depth got worse. Excluding Clarke, they have modest starting talent and Keke for depth. Ouch.

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dobber's picture

June 04, 2020 at 10:32 am

If you pivot the narrative and say instead "the Packers signed an experienced starting G for these terms" most of us would give it a thumbs up. I still question his fit in the offense. I was pro-cut on Taylor, and he's still a cheap cut if he's outplayed in camp, but it's hard to be unhappy with this move...now let's see what they do with that $$.

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splitpea1's picture

June 04, 2020 at 11:20 am

Totally agree. Plenty of OL prospects and depth. Need DL help badly, as Adams is on thin ice. Someone will be available, and I will be very disappointed if Gute doesn't do his best to upgrade this unit.

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CheesyTex's picture

June 04, 2020 at 11:25 am

Like Timmy Jernigan, maybe? I noticed he is back on the market.

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splitpea1's picture

June 04, 2020 at 11:41 am

I would add that the Packers shouldn't dawdle, as other teams will be interested in versatile players like this.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 04, 2020 at 12:21 pm

I think that there’s no point in compromising on the OL just to shave a few dollars off the cap. Right now, we have six NFL starting linemen, so if somebody gets hurt we don’t have to rely on some UDFA rookie to protect our QB.

If either guard gets hurt, Taylor is there. If Wagner gets hurt, you can move Turner and play Taylor at guard. You could move Jenkins to center if you had to. We can keep 5 experienced and capable guys on the field. That’s no small thing.

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dobber's picture

June 04, 2020 at 03:53 pm

" If Wagner gets hurt, you can move Turner and play Taylor at guard."

I would argue that they could've done this last year on those instances when Bulaga missed time (in this case going with Patrick--who they have a similar investment in--rather than Taylor who was hurt) but they opted to play Light and then sign Veldheer. Pretty good sign they don't see Turner as a RT.

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DrMixerGED's picture

June 04, 2020 at 07:29 am

Good stuff as usual, Al. I'd love to hear a Polluted Mindset on everything going on in the world.

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Tundraboy's picture

June 04, 2020 at 10:04 am

True, but it is nice to get a reprieve at times.

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dobber's picture

June 04, 2020 at 10:33 am

Amen, TB.

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DrMixerGED's picture

June 05, 2020 at 05:04 am

I concur. Best to leave it alone. Just thought hearing Al's perspective on it would be interesting.

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splitpea1's picture

June 04, 2020 at 11:08 am

Ooh, that would be fun. It would just turn into another melee like the last "Thought Provoking..." article, which I think is still getting responses. I'm kind of surprised we haven't seen a piece on the Drew Brees controversy yet--that would really generate some fireworks.

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Bearmeat's picture

June 04, 2020 at 07:43 am

I don't care what anyone says: If our offense gets better this year, it will due to improvements at TE and RB and the 2nd year in the system. Not WR and OL.

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 04, 2020 at 10:51 am

Agreed and disagree.

RB and TE's I think can make the biggest improvements this year. With the combination of Jones, Ervin and Dillon our RB room could really be one of the best in the league. And I really do think that Sternberger is going to take a huge leap in year 2. Also, Deguara is a perfect fit for this offense and we can't forget about Big Dog.

OL, I think as a whole can be better, but it will definitely be a downgrade at RT. No question about that. I do think the rest of the backups will be better this year. The one question is still the OT position though.

As for WR, I do think it will be better this year. Adams is Adams. I still have faith in MVS. Something happened halfway in the year and he wasn't the same player. But the first half of the year he was really good! And in the second half Lazard really stepped up. Lazard having that year of experience will be looking to take a big step. We have EQ coming back. And they did add Funchess (even though i'm not expecting much).
This will be the 2nd year in the system. The players should have a lot better feel for what they will be doing. Will we have 4-1000 yard receivers this year. No. But will the be improved. I believe so!

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CheesyTex's picture

June 04, 2020 at 11:22 am

Pretty much agree with you, RC.

As to Bulaga, WHEN HEALTHY, there is no doubt the OL was better with him. But looking forward, while I wish him well (personally) and the best in Southern California, a 31 year old injury-prone guy from illinois is no slam dunk to last the season, let alone a two year contract for $18 million.

So I guess my point is that, considering the risk of injury to Bulaga, the downgrade at RT may not be that big at all. And, the Pack could not handle a cap hit this year of around $9 million anyway.

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 04, 2020 at 02:49 pm

Yeah I agree with you on Bulaga. When he was healthy he was one of the best OT's in the league. That being said, he has missed time in his career, and he is older. Similar to Lang and Sitton, its better to let a guy go a year to early then to late.
I thought they made the right financial decision to not resign him for the future. With his age and injury history it was the smart decision.

That being said, from the way he played last year (when healthy) they will be taking a step back on the field. Now there are ways to help that. A better run game slows down pass rushers. They can chip and block with the RB's and TE's. And getting the ball out quicker and play action slows down the rushers.

Hopefully Wagner can fill the gap though.

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dobber's picture

June 05, 2020 at 06:08 am

There's a pattern starting to form for MVS, though: he's started out well in his first two seasons and disappeared in the second halves of those seasons. Maybe it was the wall in 2018, maybe in 2019 it was injuries, but you to be able to play effectively in the NFL if you're not 100%. Players need to be getting better--not fading--as the season goes on if you're going to be making noise in the playoffs.

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marpag1's picture

June 05, 2020 at 03:23 am

You may be right, we'll see. But I don't understand why anyone would rule out the possibility of significant improvement for WRs in comparison to last year.

Lazard played a grand total of ONE snap in 2018. In 2019, which was in effect a rookie season for him, he upped his snap count to 484 just on offense alone. He certainly seems to be a candidate to take a step forward. Lazard didn't take significant snaps last year until week 7, so he had about 10 games worth of opportunity. If you extrapolate his production out over a full 16 game season, he would have had about 750 yards in what is essentially a rookie campaign. That doesn't suck. Is there not even the chance that he might improve over last year?

In the two months of November and December, Valdes-Scantling caught 4 passes for 32 yards. My dog could probably do that. In the first two months of Sept and Oct, he caught 22 passes for 420 yards. What happened in the last half of the season? Is there no possibility that he might improve if he can produce for the whole year?

Geronimo Allison was rated by several "experts" as one of the worst receivers in the league last year. By DVOA, he was 80 out of 81. According to PFF, he scored 111 out of 122. Is there no possibility at all that Funchess might perform better than Allison? ESB can't possibly beat 80 out of 81?

I'm not saying the WRs are suddenly going to become great. But I do think it's almost impossible for them to be as bad as last year, barring a catastrophic injury to Adams.

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Coldworld's picture

June 04, 2020 at 07:50 am

I thought the same on the wide receivers coach. Perhaps the new guy is really talented, in which case fair enough. However, after the failings last year, he had better be an immediate upgrade.

I like Stepaniak too. I am pleased to see you remind folks that it’s not likely to be this year. Hard as a big man to come off an ACL and play to potential immediately. Add that to rookie challenge in a truncated off season and possibly camp and it seems to me unwise to rush him this year.

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Oppy's picture

June 04, 2020 at 12:53 pm

For what it's worth, Edgar Bennet did a respectable job as a WR coach.. so you never know. There does seem to be some truth to adage that a good coach is a good coach. Have to wait and see and hope they know what they're doing.

Or, who knows, maybe they're taking the angle that Rodgers is going to tell the WRs to ignore the coaching and do what he says instead (which was documented), so maybe it doesn't matter who is training the WRs.

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dobber's picture

June 04, 2020 at 03:57 pm

"I like Stepaniak too. "

Milt Hendrickson was an OL specialist--supposedly--in his scouting roles with the Ravens (and also has a background as a college OL coach). My guess is that these are guys he endorsed. I think there's a lot to like about Runyan and Stepaniak, especially if they don't have to play right away (I assume Stepaniak might be a PUP candidate).

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marpag1's picture

June 05, 2020 at 03:37 am

I got no problem if people like or don't like certain coaching hires. But personally I just have to be honest and admit that I haven't the slightest clue. Aside from well-tenured head coaches whose record speaks for itself, and MAYBE for some coordinators, how can I really know anything about what they're doing on the practice field or in the meeting room?

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 04, 2020 at 08:09 am

Lane Taylor -
I also love what the Packers did. Even if he is a backup he is the best option they have as a backup OG. I like covering their behinds with proven players. After drafting 3 interior OL, I honestly thought Taylor would be gone. But resigning him gives them some great options on the inside now.

Packers receivers coach -
I'm honestly ok going the way they did with the Receivers coach. To me all coaches have to start somewhere. Maybe Vrable won't become a great one, but maybe he will. I think giving him a shot first is the best thing to do.

Simon Stepaniak -
Hopefully he becomes good enough to be a starter by 2021. I'm hoping all 3 of the OL they drafted could become starters down the road. But that very least if 1 of them can become a starter and the other 2 become a key backup that would be a major win!

Canadian Football League UDFAs -
I'm really looking forward to seeing if Begelton can make the 53. They didn't draft a WR and the only new WR that was brought in was Funchess. He has a shot at making the 53.

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nostradanus's picture

June 04, 2020 at 09:00 am

Al

*Lane Taylor, agree 100%, Taylor is a proven commodity and had even played tackle in a pinch. Great locker room guy and a proven vet. All this at a bargain price!
A VERY good deal for both parties.

*WR coach, I had the same thoughts on Vrabel. Why not bring in a veteran WR coach and let Vrabel assist. Then again the Packers made Edgar Bennett WR coach and he thrived. The Packers are big on promoting from within so I get it. Let’s hope he’s a rising star and we just don’t realize it.

*Stepaniak, he’s got that kind of “nasty” that Packers fans will “Love” and he will probably be protecting “Love” someday. He’s a tough guy that should be a good fit in MLF “run to set up the pass” offense moving forward, probably on the PUP list or IR this year though.

CFL, there are three guys from the CFL on the roster this year! Very interesting. Gutey wasn’t kidding when he said he was going to turn over every stone searching for talent. I am personally looking forward to see what Begelton can give the Packers , he’s thickly built and if you watch the tape, tacklers bounce off him ala James Jones. His hands are excellent and he has good “build up speed”. I believe they are very excited about Reggie. Begelton along with Funchess who I believe is an underrated signing, maybe this is one reason they didn’t prioritize WR in the draft.

That...is...all...

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freddisch's picture

June 04, 2020 at 09:46 am

Great points as usual. Always look forward to your posts

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Since'61's picture

June 04, 2020 at 09:46 am

Al - IIRC, Hornung was the first player taken in the 1967 expansion draft. Lombardi put him on the list never thinking that the Saints would take him due to his injury. Hornung retired before ever playing a down with the Saints.

Taylor was traded and played out the 1967 in New Orleans. I think rushed for about 450 yards behind a horrible Saints OL plus the pounding from his previous 9 seasons with Packers took their toll. He retired at the end of the season.

Stepniak and Runyon could both end up contributing on the OL.

I’m hoping with the money saved from restructuring Lane Taylor the Packers can still sign a decent #2 WR. We’ll see.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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Packers0808's picture

June 04, 2020 at 09:52 am

I think Runyan and Begelton are going to be big surprises to this team and especially fans! there has to be good reason for not drafting WR's!

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cheesehead1's picture

June 04, 2020 at 11:19 am

Hope you’re correct. Looking forward to see how Begelton performs against NFL players. I have a feeling he may surprise us.

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Lphill's picture

June 04, 2020 at 12:56 pm

So Rodgers is ripping Drew Brees for his stance for not kneeling for the National Anthem, he should just shut up and stay out of politcs, what happened to George Floyd was disgraceful, but I will never take a knee or apologize for being white. Too bad

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Oppy's picture

June 04, 2020 at 01:11 pm

That's what you got out of Rodgers' statement?
That you should apologize for being white?

Have you ever thought about shutting up and staying out of politics? Or do you have a greater right to constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech than football players do? I find that most people who want to tell sports figures to shut up and play and stay out of politics are the same people who often like to do all sorts of silly things and when politely asked not to they defiantly beat their chest and say they'll do it anyways because it's their right, regardless of who it affects or offends.

I don't understand some people.

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Lphill's picture

June 04, 2020 at 03:27 pm

I was a cop in NYC I’m sure I have many more reasons to feel this way than you keyboard warrior.

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Oppy's picture

June 06, 2020 at 03:44 am

Keyboard warrior? lol. Relax cpt. Furillo. Thanks for your time spent as public servant as a police officer, but it doesn't make you a special judge of who gets to express their political opinion and who doesn't. It also doesn't make it normal for you to listen to what Rodgers said and take that as some sort of demand you should apologize for being white.

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flackcatcher's picture

June 05, 2020 at 05:20 pm

Aaron Rodgers can really hold a grudge. Ten years and that man still is sticking it to Drew Brees over the 2010 season open. Never forgives, never forgets...

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DraftHobbyist's picture

June 05, 2020 at 10:13 pm

The problem is that people like you call anything you disagree with offensive and then say people who offend others shouldn't be able to voice their opinion. This is built off the idea of safetyism, which Jonathan Haidt talks about a lot. You want to be protected from opinions you don't like. Well, there's obviously a big difference between a football player speaking on an issue while representing the Packers and a fan speaking about it on his own time. Many fans would be fired if they went into work talking politics.

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Oppy's picture

June 06, 2020 at 03:51 am

Are you talking to me?

Where do I say anything that others shouldn't be able to voice their opinion? That's exactly the opposite of what I'm saying.

As far as many fans getting fired if they walked into their work talking politics... what does that have to do with Aaron Rodgers? Most fans would get fired if they spit on the floor at work, or if they applied icy-hot to the new guy in accounting's underwear. Comparing the job of an NFL player to regular joe's job is ridiculous. Moreover, it doesn't matter what my company would do- my company isn't the NFL. It's really that easy.

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Adorabelle's picture

June 04, 2020 at 06:20 pm

As Rodgers showed in the photo on his Insta the Packers linked arms in solidarity. But I am sure there's a reason that is bad also.

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Lphill's picture

June 04, 2020 at 06:24 pm

Lock arm’s fine but taking a knee during the national anthem with the flag flying , no way in hell . I love America more than a sports team , let them kneel , I will only see it once.

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Adorabelle's picture

June 04, 2020 at 06:40 pm

After what has happened lately you will see a LOT of knees. Unless they come up with as a group some new statement they are all going to make together you better not watch any games because there is going to be a lot of some sort of statement.

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PeteK's picture

June 05, 2020 at 11:19 am

What is happening now is much worse than the peaceful and respectful kneeling. A caller to a radio show explained it perfectly, "I went to parochial school and church all my life and never thought kneeling was disrespectful". As far as Brees explaining that his grandfather fought in WWII, so did many blacks who couldn't sleep or eat together with the white soldiers and we know how segregated they were when they came back.

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Oppy's picture

June 04, 2020 at 01:06 pm

Re: CFL WRs

Had this discussion a few months ago with a friend..

With the Canadian football leauge fields being significantly wider than NFL regulation (65 yards wide), do WRs coming from the CFL into the NFL have a disadvantage- or at least, a learning curve- to overcome in terms of how to operate effectively vs. coverages?

That's a significant extra amount of room to maneuver with the same number of players on the field.

Also, does this mean we need to somewhat evaluate YAC statistics for CFL receivers through a different lens than NFL receivers for the same reasons?

Yeah, I've been bored and thinking about some random stuff lately.. but any thoughts?

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Slim11's picture

June 04, 2020 at 01:40 pm

I agree.

I think Begelton needs to readjust to the smaller field, especially in the end zone. I think he makes the team, but doesn't produce much early on. He should be able to make the transition.

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Slim11's picture

June 04, 2020 at 01:38 pm

Slight correction here...Begelton is a CFL player... Marc-Antoine Dequoy is not. He played his college ball in Canada. Given his numbers, I look forward to seeing what Dequoy can do.

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JerseyAl's picture

June 04, 2020 at 01:47 pm

Ah yes, that is correct. Thanks for the reminder!

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Packers0808's picture

June 04, 2020 at 01:56 pm

Begelton played in the US college ball at Lamar U in Texas, so he has experience on the US smaller field as well. Adjustment should not be that great to make back to US field size!

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wildbill's picture

June 04, 2020 at 03:01 pm

I think the biggest adjustment is that receivers in the CFL can be running full speed towards the Los when the ball is snapped. I’m anxious to see how he fairs against press coverage by NFL caliber cbs

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dobber's picture

June 04, 2020 at 04:01 pm

...and he was Lamar's all-time leader in WR yards. Part of that is system, but the player still needs to produce.

I don't expect Begelton to be a revelation, but I want to see what he can do. I think he's got at least an even chance with anyone not named Adams, Funchess, or even Lazard.

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PeteK's picture

June 05, 2020 at 09:01 am

I hope one of the rookie OL can take over for Linsley in 2021 as he will probably be an expensive resign.

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