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Coach Dan Quinn said Thursday that he wanted to see Jones “explode pain-free” before green-lighting him for Sunday. That obviously didn’t happen, leaving Mohamed Sanu jersey and cheap jerseys and Taylor Gabriel jersey to operate as the team’s top two receivers against the Niners.
If there’s a week to sit Jones, this would be it. The 49ers are allowing more points per game than any team in the league while the versatile Falcons are scoring more per tilt than anyone else. With Jones out of the lineup last week, the Falcons still dropped 42 points on the Rams.
Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl (Houston vs. San Diego State, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) is one of the best opening-day bowl games in recent memory. The Aztecs finished 10-3 and won the Mountain West Conference, while the Cougars beat Oklahoma and Louisville but inexplicably lost to SMU and Memphis, costing themselves a shot at an American Athletic Conference crown.
When evaluating the top prospects for the first day of bowl season, scouts will want to keep an eye on the action in Vegas. Unlike most other bowls held before Christmas, there are at least 12 players on the two squads that have NFL futures. Here’s a look at the top 15 prospects who’ll be competing in bowls on Saturday. All times listed are Eastern.
Despite a glowing resume that features countless individual honors, including the 2015 ACC Player of the Year award and back-to-back Heisman Trophy-finalist bids, he remains a work in progress at the position. Watson’s extensive experience directing a spread offense with simple pass concepts could lead to a lengthy transition period as a pro. He still needs to work out some of the kinks as a pocket passer. Sure, he’s a dynamic playmaker with a knack for stepping up his game in big moments, but franchise quarterbacks must have the ability to win in a variety of different ways to survive and thrive in the league. Until Watson delivers an efficient performance in a “win-or-go-home” game, the narrative about his streaky pocket skills will torpedo his chances of being valued as a slam-dunk franchise QB.
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Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky have emerged as potential QB1 options. Kizer, who announced earlier this week that he intends to enter the 2017 draft, has shown promise as a two-year starter for the Irish. He brings prototypical size, athleticism and arm talent. He’s a heady playmaker with a strong grasp of how to decipher coverage at the line. However, skeptics will question his confidence and resiliency after he suffered through an extended slump that resulted in a brief benching against Stanford. Considering Kizer’s disappointing completion rate (58.7 percent in 2016) and turnover woes, the conversation around him will be the classic potential-vs.-production debate.
The funny part of this whole thing is I benched Michael Crabtree on Thursday night. And I thought I was a genius. But had I started Crabtree on Thursday, I would have advanced to the playoffs. Because I started Donte Moncrief ahead of him. Which is really a stupid decision on my part. I even mentioned in this space last week Moncrief was a risk because of his touchdown-dependency and yet I did it anyway.
So let’s get to it … what? You think I went into this a little quickly? Well, I don’t want to belabor the point. And really, “Rogue One” is coming out tonight and the hard-working staff here wants to get out and see it tonight (Thursday). I thought about watching it over the weekend, but realized that was foolish. I mean, it’s not like I would wait two days to watch the Super Bowl, so I’m headed out to see it immediately. I mean, after the Seahawks and Rams game, of course. I would not skip that game to go see a movie.
Packers running back James Starks was placed into the concussion protocol after he was involved in a car accident Monday, coach Mike McCarthy said, also noting that Starks was otherwise OK. If Starks can’t play Sunday, Ty Montgomery and Christine Michael would pick up the slack in the running game.