Dallas Cowboys

Why early expectations for Mitch Trubisky should be high

Why early expectations for Mitch Trubisky should be high

All of the Mitch Truisky expectation qualifiers have been installed — no magic wand for the offense, only 13 college starts, not out of a pro-style system at North Carolina, and so on and so on. But irrespective of any pressure on the job statuses of GM Ryan Pace or coach John Fox, the expectations of the rookie quarterback over the next season-and-a-half or so should be more, far more, not less.

The reason lies in one of those things that run counter to most conventional-wisdom assumptions about quarterbacking in the NFL. The Bears hope, in the deepest corners of the franchise, that it continues.

That “it” is the strong — as in “near”- or actual “playoff-grade” — play of quarterbacks within their first three and often fewer seasons, a time frame which was once the norm and still is arguably preferred. Aaron Rodgers sat several years behind Brett Favre after arriving as the Green Bay Packers’ No. 1 draft choice in 2005 (20 picks after the Bears had grabbed Cedric Benson), and “I was very thankful for the opportunity, now as I look back, to grow,” Rodgers said before the Bears game this year.

But in an era when defenses have become increasingly sophisticated, and numbers of top college quarterbacks are coming out of spread offenses and systems far from “pro style,” quarterbacks have had positive impacts with increasing suddenness.

Consider some case studies from the last several years:

Player | Team | Drafted | Result

Teddy Bridgewater | Vikings | 2014 | 2015 NFC North champions

Jared Goff | Rams | 2016 | 3-1, leading NFC West, current No. 3-ranked passer in 2017

Robert Griffin III | Redskins | 2012 | NFC East champions, rookie season

Andrew Luck | Colts | 2012 | Playoffs first 3 seasons

Dak Prescott | Cowboys | 2016 | NFC East champions in 2016

Carson Wentz | Eagles | 2016 | 3-1, leading NFC East

Jameis Winston | Bucs | 2015 | 2-14 Bucs in 2014 were 6-10 in 2015 and 9-7 last season

Success is far from automatic, and to some extent lies in the eye of the beholder and has a time element. “Everybody was calling Goff a bust sometimes last season,” said Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, now with his hand on the Trubisky steering wheel and throttle. “And the teams around the guys are obviously enormous factors.”

To wit: Goff went No. 1 overall, usually a spot belonging to the most woeful team from the previous year. But he went to a Rams team coming off a 7-9 season that dumped its draft to move up from 15th for him. Likewise, Wentz went to a 7-9 team (Philadelphia) that traded up. These weren’t Peyton Manning going to 3-13 Indianapolis and Ryan Leaf to 4-12 San Diego (1998).

But Luck was the No. 1-overall pick by an Indianapolis team that went 3-13 in 2011, then 11-5 in Luck’s first year. Washington was 5-11 in 2011, then 10-6 and NFC East champions in RGIII’s rookie season.

Trubisky has gone to a 3-13 team, one with among the least productive groups of wide receivers in the NFL. On the other hand, after Troy Brown, name two other New England Patriots wide receivers from their early Super Bowls.

Note to the rookie: It’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools (see: Jay Cutler).

And Tom Brady had started zero games and thrown all of 3 passes, 2 incomplete, as a rookie backup on a 5-11 Patriots team in 2000 before starting in relief of Drew Bledsoe in 2001.

But the game and the players, particularly the quarterbacks have changed.

“In 2005, I don’t think the quarterbacks were as ready to play as maybe some of the guys are now,” Rodgers said. “There’s better coaching, better awareness, there’s better coaching at a younger level. If you’re not in a ‘raise-you-foot-up, look-the-sideline, let-the-coach-call-the-play offense,’ you’re doing some more stuff now at the college level.”

All the Bears ask is for Trubisky to do more stuff now at the NFL level.

Fantasy Football Fix Podcast: Sleepers, busts and what to do with Ezekiel Elliott

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AP

Fantasy Football Fix Podcast: Sleepers, busts and what to do with Ezekiel Elliott

Slavko Bekovic, Scott Krinch, Glynn Morgan and Tony Andracki break down decisions on suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott and where he should be going in drafts, whether this affects his keeper status and more.

Plus, the CSN Fantasy crew gives their sleepers and busts, including Rob Gronkowski. Leonard Fournette, Kenny Golladay and why LeGarrette Blount is actually on both lists.

Check out the entire podcast here:

The Rotoworld 2017 Fantasy Football Draft Guide provides tiers, projections, ADP reports, mock drafts for many different types of leagues, Sleepers and Busts and much more. Get the NFL Draft Guide now.

How will Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension affect his fantasy football value?

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USA TODAY

How will Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension affect his fantasy football value?

The Fantasy Football community was on pins and needles Friday morning, awaiting the NFL to announce the discipline for Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for violating the league's Personal Conduct Policy.

Fantasy owners and Cowboys fans will have to wait a few months to see reigning Rookie of the Year back on the field as the NFL dolled out a six-game suspension for Elliott.

Elliott's suspension stems from a domestic violence incident with his ex-girlfriend which occurred over a year ago in Columbus, Ohio.

Elliott has three days to appeal the suspension, but the chance of him successfully winning an appeal would appear to be a longshot as the NFL has already threatened him with "potential banishment" for additional violations, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Before news of the suspension, the CSN Fantasy crew were all in agreement that Elliott should be the No. 3 overall pick behind Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.

Now, Elliott's draft stock is free falling.

Fantasy owners have to take something into consideration: Elliott will now miss more than half of the regular fantasy football season.

If you own or still plan on drafting the Cowboys running back, your bench is going to have be extremely strong if you want to stay afloat with Elliott sidelined.

While Elliott will likely post his usual monster numbers once he returns, I can't advocate drafting him anywhere within the first two rounds. If you do, you'd be valuing him ahead of running backs like like DeMarco Murray, Jay Ajayi, Jordan Howard and Melvin Gordon.

The area to take a chance on Elliott would be somewhere in the late third/early fourth round as the running backs currently being drafted in this range include Marshawn Lynch, Isaiah Crowell, Carlos Hyde and Ty Montgomery — all players Elliott should outperform if he stays on the field for the final 10 games of 2017.

However, you have to be aware that one more false step off the field could really put Elliott's career in jeopardy.

If you're drafting Elliott, proceed with caution.