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Rookie Review - Week 5

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Well, Week 4 did not offer as much of a showcase for rookies as Week 3 did, but there were a few who played better and deserve to be noticed. Onto the review!

Quarterback

Geno Smith – The New York Jets really struggled against the Tennessee Titans, and they got beat up, also. Smith actually played OK, going 23-of-34 for 289 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. What really hurts his outlook is that both of his starting wide receivers went down with injury. Barring a miracle, Smith is probably looking at a few bad weeks in front of him.

E.J. Manuel – In one of the more surprising notes from the past weekend, the Buffalo Bills upset the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. What may be even more surprising is that they did it with their top-two running backs getting hurt. Manuel did not have a great game numbers-wise. He went 10-of-22 for 167 yards with a touchdown, two interceptions and a fumble. But what doesn’t show up in the stats is that he produced when he had the chance and was able to lead his team to victory. He is learning more day-by-day and is slowly climbing up the ranks.

Mike Glennon – On my “watch list” for two straight weeks, Tampa Bay announced a change at quarterback and benched Josh Freeman and inserted Mike Glennon. Glennon did not produce better than Freeman in this game going 24-of-43 for 193 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. But we all need to remember that his top two wide receivers were both questionable going into the game and were very likely less than 100 percent. With the rapid departure of Freeman coming very soon, Glennon is the starter for now. Can he produce better numbers once his receivers get healthy?

Running Back

Giovani Bernard – I guess the Cleveland defense is for real! Bernard had his worst outing of the year by rushing 10 times for 37 yards and catching six passes for 38 yards. His numbers are still better than what BenJarvus Green-Ellis produced. What is becoming more evident every day is that Bernard is taking over the lead running back duties. He was on the field for more than 60 percent of the plays. That should only increase as the season goes on.

Montee Ball – In another subpar performance in a blowout win, Ball ran the ball eight times for 24 yards. Please don’t waste your time on him for now. Let him learn and improve his game first.

Andre Ellington – What can you talk about in a bad offense? Larry Fitzgerald has been hurt, Rashard Mendenhall is slow and plodding, and the offensive line is a wreck. The one positive thing I see is Ellington. While he only carried the ball four times for 29 yards and caught three balls for 22 yards, he is seeing the field more. Is there a change coming on the depth chart?

Khiry Robinson – Everybody has been waiting for Mark Ingram to take control of the running back position in New Orleans, but he just hasn’t been able to do it. Now that he is hurt, it has opened the door for Robinson. This week, Robinson was called upon to ice the game. He had 12 carries for 37 yards. What is a popular theory going around is Ingram will depart the Saints shortly and you should look for Robinson to continue to see work.

Benny Cunningham – In another surprise from this week’s games, Isaiah Pead was a healthy scratch for the game. Cunningham was the guy backing up Daryl Richardson , and Richardson was not 100 percent healthy. Cunningham had four carries for six yards and one catch for 17 yards against the very tough San Francisco defense. Who is the future at running back in St. Louis?

Le’Veon Bell – Now this is how you get some attention! In what has been a dreadful running attack in Pittsburgh, Bell was finally healthy enough to play. He had 16 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns and also had four catches for 27 yards. He is the unquestioned No. 1 guy for the Steelers and may help out the offense in more than one way. If he is available, get him!



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