The weekly rookie report continues with October football now underway. [Note: the ranking from my final 2018 Big Board is listed in parenthesis]
Josh Allen, Bills QB (2)
Last week (@ GB)
16/33 (48.5%), 151 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT // 5 carries, 19 yards
53.4%, 666 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT // 27 attempts, 116 yards, 2 TD
Buffalo’s offensive woes were on full display in Week 4, as Josh Allen was sacked seven times and turned it over three times in a shutout loss at Lambeau Field. Through three-and-a-half games, the rookie has been sacked 18 times for what is easily a league-high 148 yards lost, and fans can only hope that these struggles don’t derail Allen’s career like it has David Carr and other young quarterbacks. At least Allen has the size to hold up to punishment, and it hasn’t broken his spirit due to the fact that he was apparently talking trash and gave an elbow to Jaire Alexander on Sunday. Plus, I think the Bills have the coaching staff in place to get through some tough times, and teammates like LeSean McCoy and Lorenzo Alexander previously raving about Allen shows the locker room is behind him. The offensive line needs to hold up this weekend against an emerging Tennessee pass rush.
Jaire Alexander, Packers CB (8)
Last week (v BUF)
1 tackle, 1 interception, 1 pass defended
19 tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass defended, 0.5 sack, 1.5 tackles for loss
A big reason that Green Bay was able to get their first shutout since 2011 was Jaire Alexander picking off Josh Allen at the end of the first half in Packers’ territory; and while Allen made an ill-advised throw across his body, Alexander showed his ball skills, aggressiveness, and speed on the 27-yard return. Green Bay’s first-round pick didn’t have a standout receiver to cover on Buffalo’s roster, but you could see him frustrate guys by staying on their hip. In Week 6, Alexander will be tested against Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, and Kenny Golladay, and I have a feeling he could be tasked with shadowing Tate coming off an 8/132/2 day.
Christian Kirk, Cardinals WR (11)
Last week (v SEA)
4 receptions, 28 yards // 1 rush, 7 yards // 1 punt return, 0 yards
16 receptions, 149 yards // 1 rush, 7 yards // 4 punt returns, 44 yards
I said last week that if the switch to Josh Rosen at quarterback benefitted anyone, it would probably be Christian Kirk due to their reps together over the summer. That didn’t come to fruition in Rosen’s first start, though, as he threw for just 180 yards against a beatable Seattle secondary, and Kirk took a step back from his 7/90 line in Week 3. The Texas A&M product will again be in a good spot to produce against the 49ers—especially after the offensive line gave Rosen plenty of time last week—so we’ll see if the rookies can connect to help the team pickup their first win of the season.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins TE (13)
Last week (@ NE)
1 reception, 9 yards
5 receptions, 51 yards
Last week felt like a breakout opportunity for Mike Gesicki against the soft intermediate coverage of New England (just look what Indy’s tight ends did on Thursday night), but Miami failed to do anything well in a 38-7 defeat. However, the second-round pick has clearly taken over as a full-time player after being on the field for 84% of the snaps in the blowout loss, and I would think that the Dolphins are going to get Gesicki more targets in the very near future. This weekend against Cincinnati in a matchup between 3-1 teams could go a long way in determining what kind of season Miami will have.
Kerryon Johnson, Lions RB (14)
Last week (@ DAL)
9 carries, 55 yards, 1 TD // 1 reception, 1 yard
38 carries, 216 yards, 1 TD // 11 receptions, 53 yards
The Lions would probably be 2-2 if they would have given Kerryon Johnson more than ten touches in their last-second loss to the Cowboys, but the rookie continues to make the most of his opportunities. On the first play of the game last Sunday, Johnson weaved for a 32-yard run, and on his touchdown, he trucked safety Jeff Heath before powering into the end zone. Detroit would be wise to feature him in a crucial game against the Packers, but I don’t think he will be.
Josh Jackson, Packers CB (18)
Last week (v BUF)
5 tackles, 2 passes defended
15 tackles, 2 passes defended, 1 TD
I said last week that Josh Jackson could be going for his first interception against fellow rookie Josh Allen, but Jaire Alexander ended up getting the pick, while Green Bay’s second-rounder broke up two passes and had a career-best five tackles. It will be interesting to see how recent free-agent signing Bashaud Breeland fits into the secondary for the Packers—especially considering he is just 26-years-old—but Alexander and Jackson are the future. If nothing else, Green Bay finally has the bodies to maybe slow down Detroit’s talented trio of wideouts.
Nick Chubb, Browns RB (19)
Last week (@ OAK)
3 carries, 105 yards, 2 TD
10 carries, 146 yards, 2 TD
Well, getting just a handful of touches per game isn’t going to stop Nick Chubb from making an impact. The former Georgia star had a 63-yard touchdown run and a 41-yard touchdown run in a 45-42 overtime loss to Oakland, and the 63-yarder (21.15 MPH) was the fastest successful carry by a running back through four weeks (Derrick Henry hit 21.46 MPH on a 62-yard touchdown run that was called back on a penalty). Chubb’s top-level vision and power combined with his underrated breakaway speed could make him a bona fide superstar, but I’m not confident in Hue Jackson or the Browns giving him enough touches to reach his potential until 2019.
Lorenzo Carter, Giants OLB (21)
Last week (v NO)
12 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 deflection
Lorenzo Carter racked up five tackles against New Orleans in Week 4, and the Giants should hope that seeing some zone read by Taysom Hill will have the rookie edge defender ready for Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey this Sunday. The defense will probably need him to come up big, too, as Carolina has put up 38 points in each of the past two matchups and is coming off a bye week. Fortunately for New York, the Panthers aren’t particularly strong at offensive tackle, so Carter has a real chance to make an impact.
Anthony Miller, Bears WR (28)
Last week (v TB)
DNP – shoulder
8 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD // 1 kick return, 14 yards
Chicago heads into the bye with a 3-1 record, but Miller remains week-to-week with a dislocated shoulder.