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NFL News and Notes: Running Backs, Other Key Players To Watch

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There are several really good running backs to keep your eyes on this NFL season. Although the quarterbacks and wide receivers get most of the credit for wins, their jobs become extremely difficult when the running backs do little on the field. Production from running backs can be critical when providing the necessary balance on offense to keep defenses guessing on each play.

 

Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – Henry suffered a season-ending injury last season. This monster of a running back usually rushes for over 1,000 yards and more than 10 rushing touchdowns. Will Henry get back to those numbers this season? Will he be the same Henry we’re all used to seeing? Will the fire burn stronger after the injury?

 

Javonta Williams – Denver Broncos – Williams needs to have a great “Sophomore Season” for the Broncos. One year after showing us what he’s capable of, he’ll look to do better after finishing his rookie season with 904 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Russell Wilson succeeds when the running game puts up big numbers.

 

Breece Hall – New York Jets – Rookie running backs don’t quite get the same hype as in years past but don’t let that fool you. This agile running back did big things for the Iowa State Cyclones. However, he’s not going against the Big 12 and the other college defenses. He’s going to need to bring that same level of energy and confidence to the NFL level.

 

Najee Harris- Pittsburgh Steelers – No one really knew what to expect from a rookie without a solid offensive line. However, that didn’t stop Harris from doing big things in his rookie season. However, he needs to bring up his average yards per carry to make a significant contribution to the Steelers offense.

 

DeAndre Swift – Detroit Lions – The Lions need to get things back on track. It’s been many years since this team was a legitimate playoff contender. However, if the elusive Swift gets off to a hot start in 2022, things may not be so ice-cold in the Motor City.

 

Leonard Fournette – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Fournette showed up to training camp overweight then immediately lost 14 pounds. There were concerns about his health early on but all of that was forgotten once he shed the weight. Fournette looks to have another big year and will probably have more opportunities since Ronald Jones isn’t on the team anymore.

 

Quarterbacks to watch-

 

Russell Wilson – Denver Broncos – Wilson was traded in the off-season and looks to finish his career in Denver. Wilson tends to succeed when he has a strong running game backing him up. Denver is the perfect offense for Wilson since the Broncos tend to emphasize having a top-tier running game.

 

Mitchell Trubisky – Pittsburgh Steelers – Now that Trubisky is the starter in Pittsburgh, we’ll see if he has a “Ryan Tannehill” type of comeback. Trubisky hasn’t had the NFL career he envisioned but a change of scenery might be a good thing.

 

Marcus Mariota – Atlanta Falcons – Mariota hasn’t had a glamorous NFL career either and the Falcons are going through some changes and challenges on offense. With Calvin Ridley out for the season due to suspension, Mariota won’t have the Falcons number one receiver out there. However, with rookie Drake London and second-year Tight End Kyle Pitts out there, perhaps Mariota will put up big numbers. If he doesn’t, rookie Desmond Ridder will surely work on his accuracy in an effort to gain the starting job.

 

Wide Receivers to watch

 

Gabriel Davis – Buffalo Bills – Davis is an up-and-coming receiver who has a lot of promise. Will he post big numbers since he’s the Bills number two receiver? He had a great start on Thursday night against the Rams so he’s worth keeping your eyes on.

 

Donovan Peoples-Jones – Cleveland Browns- The Browns no longer have O’Dell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. Peoples-Jones now has to prove that the Browns made the right move by making him the number two receiver. That could be a challenge if the current starter Jacoby Brissett struggles right out of the gate.

 

Tyreek Hill – Miami Dolphins – Normally Hill is an easy mention as a top-five receiver. However, there could be some challenges since he’s on the Miami Dolphins. Will Hill have over 1,000 receiving yards with Tua Tagovailoa throwing him the ball?

 

Tight Ends to watch

 

David Njoku-Cleveland Browns – Fans may rudely call him “Stone hands” but that perception could quickly disappear this year. Njoku showed a lot of promise before the Browns selected him in the draft so this is a price-it year. Without Austin Hooper on the team, he’s the number one tight end and be the Browns best pass-catching option should he show improvement.

 

Trey McBride – Arizona Cardinals – McBride showed flashes of serious potential on the Colorado State Rams. It’s time for him to take things to the next level in the NFL. With DeAndre Hopkins out 6 weeks due to suspension, McBride could have opportunities to prove he can do big things right away.

 

Dallas Goedert – Philadelphia Eagles – Zach Ertz isn’t in Philadelphia anymore so it’s time for Goedert to shine. He had over 800 receiving yards last season and that was while Ertz was still on the team. Now that he’s the number one Tight End in Philadelphia, he could record over 1,000 yards.

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