Redskins

Atlanta seeks to keep Detroit's Suh away from Ryan

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Atlanta seeks to keep Detroit's Suh away from Ryan

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) As the Atlanta Falcons' offensive line sees it, there's no need to antagonize Ndamukong Suh.

Last year's discord in Detroit left the Falcons and Lions bickering at each other and accusing the other side of bad sportsmanship.

Atlanta has a simple goal heading into Saturday's rematch at Detroit.

The Falcons want to keep Suh, the Lions' high-strung defensive tackle, from touching quarterback Matt Ryan.

``It's not going to easy, and we know that,'' left guard Justin Blalock said on Wednesday. ``He's a handful for anyone they face, but I think we're smart enough to know that nothing good will come from stirring the Lions up before the game.''

Each team complained about the other following Atlanta's seven-point victory last year.

Falcons center Todd McClure and receiver Roddy White said that Suh and left end Cliff Avril were taunting Ryan when the quarterback was briefly injured.

Ryan returned to lead another scoring drive, but after the game Suh and linebacker Stephen Tulloch complained that Atlanta's offensive line used dirty techniques that could injure opponents.

Now both sides seem unwilling to rehash the bitterness lingering from last season.

Suh said this week that ``it's a different year,'' but the third-year tackle did not elaborate.

McClure added that he doubts there will be residual anger from either side, particularly with the stakes high for both teams.

The NFC South champion Falcons (12-2) can clinch a first-round playoff bye with a victory or a tie. Detroit (4-10) is desperate to snap a six-game losing streak one year after advancing to the postseason for the first time in a dozen years.

``I don't think so,'' McClure said. ``It's a different game. I expect they're going to be ready to play. Suh's a good player, and he's a tough guy to block, so we'll be ready.''

Atlanta recovered from an upset loss at Carolina two weeks ago by routing the New York Giants 34-0 last week at the Georgia Dome.

Ryan, who was sacked just once by New York, threw three touchdown passes, no interceptions and finished with a 142.6 passer rating.

In last year's victory at Detroit, Ryan finished with a 63.1 passer rating, was sacked three times, hit six times and picked off twice. The Lions also had two interceptions and defended six passes.

Though there have been some proverbial hiccups this season for the offensive line, tight end Tony Gonzalez said that the five starters - McClure, Blalock, left tackle Sam Baker, right tackle Tyson Clabo and rookie right guard Peter Konz - have improved their protection of Ryan.

``With some things that have gone around here the last three years, it seems like they get blamed for a lot, but this year they've played outstanding football for us and stepped up big,'' Gonzalez said. ``That's the key. You keep Matt clean, you keep him up on his feet, he's going to be able to make some plays. They've done a good job of that.''

This time, Suh, Avril and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch will face the Falcons without defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Fairley's replacement is Sammie Hill, a fourth-year veteran who hasn't been a regular starter since 2009.

``He's a big, strong, good-looking football player,'' Clabo said. ``Everybody's got some backups. He's got some film. He's a good player.''

Hill might not compare favorably to a talent like Fairley, the 15th overall draft pick last year, or Suh, the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, but McClure says he's part of a deep line rotation and understands his role.

``They can create havoc in the running game with their penetration,'' McClure said. ``We're going to have to be good on our double-teams and our single blocks when we get manned up on them and not get pushed back in the backfield.''

They also plan to be mindful if Suh struggles to keep his temper in check, a problem that last year resulted in his getting suspended two games by the NFL for stomping the arm of Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith.

Just last month, Suh was fined $30,000 last month for kicking Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin area.

Clabo sees no reason to taunt Suh and start a war of words.

``It's hard enough facing this guy just based on his football talent alone,'' Clabo said. ``He gets paid as an interior pass rusher to push the pocket while their ends try to keep it from widening. We've had some issues with pressure up the middle this year, but we're confident we can get the job done against Detroit.''

Notes: White (right knee), SS William Moore (hamstring) and reserve DE Cliff Matthews (hamstring) did not participate in practice. ... Clabo (thigh), DT Jonathan Babineaux (ribs), reserve WR Harry Douglas (ribs) and reserve CB Christopher Owens (hamstring) practiced but were limited.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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AP Sports Writer Larry Lage in Detroit contributed to this report.

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Follow George Henry on Twitter:http://twitter.com/georgehenryAP

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2020 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Jerry Jeudy, Jeff Okudah highlight both sides of loaded passing game class

2020 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Jerry Jeudy, Jeff Okudah highlight both sides of loaded passing game class

The NFL season is still very young, but it has become very clear which teams will be drafting near the top of the order when the 2020 NFL Draft takes place on April 23 in Paradise, Nev.

The Dolphins, Bengals, Giants, Jets, and Redskins should all be preparing to have a top 10 draft pick come the 2020 NFL Draft, and with the way the early 2019 NFL regular season is playing out, these teams will need a lot of help. 

That's why the Dolphins have decided to punt on the 2019 season focus on the NFL Draft, trading away a litany of their top players to acquire 2020 draft picks, and lots of them.

CLICK HERE FOR 2020 NFL MOCK DRAFT 2.0

The Dolphins will get three first-round draft picks in 2020 thanks to trades with the Texans and Steelers.  Miami will want to invest in a franchise quarterback, but in the modern NFL, you need targets for that franchise QB and you need stars to stop the other team's targets.

While the Dolphins, Bengals, Giants, Jets, and Redskins won't all draft wide receivers or defensive backs, the early NFL season has made it obvious that these teams desperately need help in the pass game, and defending the pass.

Who are the top WR prospects and DB prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft? Glad you asked.

CLICK HERE FOR 2020 NFL MOCK DRAFT 2.0

Top WR Prospects in 2020 NFL Draft:

1. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama. Simply put, one of the most talented, explosive WR prospects of the last decade.

2. Tee Higgins, Clemson. Elite ball-catcher with 6-4 frame, but still needs to add muscle and explosiveness.

3. CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma.  Great route-runner and gifted competitor. One of the most fun WRs to watch play every Saturday.

4. Laviska Shenault, Colorado. An exceptional athlete who always makes big plays. Needs work on technical route-running.

5. Henry Ruggs III, Alabama. The fastest WR in the class is a deep threat every time he lines up.

CLICK HERE FOR 2020 NFL MOCK DRAFT 2.0

Top CB prospects in 2020 NFL Draft:

1. Jeffery Okudah, Ohio State. Understands leverage and uses his size to his advantage to be a complete all-around corner.

2. Trevon Diggs, Alabama. Great ability in man coverage and shows great ball skills, as evident in his Week 1 INT VS Duke.

3. Kristian Fulton, LSU. Big physical, explosive CB who is next among great LSU DBs.

4. Bryce Hall, Virginia. Hall is always around the ball evident in his nation-leading 22 pass breakups in 2018.

5. C.J. Henderson, Florida. 6-1 instinctual CB with fluid hips that can turn and run with anyone.

CLICK HERE FOR 2020 NFL MOCK DRAFT 2.0

 

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Fantasy Football 2019: Previewing Lamar Jackson vs. Patrick Mahomes in Week 3

Fantasy Football 2019: Previewing Lamar Jackson vs. Patrick Mahomes in Week 3

Lamar Jackson faces his first real challenge of the season on Sunday when the Ravens travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs and their star signal-caller, Patrick Mahomes.

Both teams have been very similar through the first two weeks of the season. The Ravens and the Chiefs are the only two teams in the NFL that currently feature a top-five fantasy quarterback, wide receiver, and tight end (BAL: Jackson QB1, Brown WR4, Mark Andrews TE1) (KC: Mahomes QB3, Watkins WR1, Travis Kelce TE3).

While most pegged Mahomes as the de-facto option at quarterback ahead of the season, very few saw the start that Jackson has served up.

Jackson has entered MVP-consideration several months removed from being pegged as an afterthought. After the Heisman Trophy winner took the helm of the offense midway through last season, the NFL questioned his arm strength, his accuracy, and whether he could be the key to leading the Ravens back to the Super Bowl. A disappointing playoff appearance brought along more doubters, but John Harbaugh knew he had something special in Jackson.

The Ravens selected Marquise "Hollywood" Brown in the first round of April's draft and signed veteran running back Mark Ingram to add to Jackson's arsenal. Both moves have been instrumental through the first two weeks of the season. Brown is currently WR4 (12 Receptions, 233 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD,) heading into Week 3, and Ingram is flourishing as RB12 (154 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2 Receptions, 30 Receiving YDS).

The Chiefs dominance throughout the first two weeks of the season hasn't got as much acclaim. Mahomes and Co. dusted the Jaguars in the season opener and unfortunately lost star receiver Tyreek Hill for a few weeks with a shoulder injury. Sammy Watkins then took advantage of the increased workload and put in the best performance of his career (198 Receiving YDS, 3 Receiving TD). In Week two against the Raiders, Mahomes shredded the Raiders for four touchdowns. 

When these two teams matched up in 2018, Mahomes threw for 377 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, while Jackson threw for 147 yards, two touchdowns, and rushed for 67 yards.

I expect a similar outing for the Mahomes in Week 3, and presume Jackson's rushing total will be significantly less than in their last clash. Both quarterbacks will finish this week in the top-five of fantasy scoring, and we will witness the best game thus far of 2019.

Quarterback Rankings: Week 3
Running Back Rankings: Week 3
Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 3
Tight End Rankings: Week 3