Brock Purdy’s OROY case; Sean Payton’s future; another candidate: Cheat Sheet
For five days after the end of the NFL’s regular season and the start of the NFL’s knockouts, 50 members of the media fill out anonymous ballots for all post-season awards. I have no votes. As an employee of the NFL Network, I never want anything I say or do on the league network against me when the voting results are revealed or released. So I sit this out. Year after year, I have no say over who will win the real awards. But the absence of votes also allows me to say a lot without the agenda and without affecting the actual voting.
I can’t access Twitter this week because my timeline is so messy. A week after we saw the goodness, light, and power of positive vibes on social media, I received a reaction that was the complete opposite of my opinion that Brock Purdy is the Offensive Rookie of the Year 2022. Who knew this would be such a hot button? Who knew that Purdy OROY’s support would match the vitality and feedback that even our hottest people on FS1 get? Everyone in the NFL seems to have considered, including a cryptic tweet from last year’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, Micah Parsons.
But here’s what (I sound like Alec Baldwin) I support it, because I believe in it. What Brock Purdy has accomplished in the past six weeks has eclipsed the fine achievements of his fellow rookies. Purdy joined, after not training with the No. 1 unit for the first 13 weeks of the season, and not only played well, but also enhanced the team’s and his own offensive ability. Purdy is the first rookie quarterback to win his first five games since Ben Roethlisberger did so in 2004. Roethlisberger was the pick in the first round, who was always expected to be the man. Purdy was the final pick in the entire 2022 NFL Draft.
Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Kenneth Walker and Isiah “Pops” Pacheco all performed well in their rookie season. They all performed at a high level. I won’t blink if any of them win a prize. But I think being placed in QB1 gives a Super Bowl roster that includes veterans – and makes the offense better than the expected QB1 and the man who brought the team to the Super Bowl in 2019 – like an incredible feat as we’ve seen from any freshman this year.
He only played in 5 games. But he won all five of those games, 49ers beat multiple playoff teams in those games and his numbers are better than the two quarterbacks ahead of him. San Francisco is the No. 2 seed in NFC because of great defense, brilliant attack and excellent coaching staff. Will they get there if the number 3 midfielder doesn’t step in perfectly and lead the way? Awards are being voted on as we speak. This is not sensationalism. Not only do I think he should win it, but I think he can.
The unsung heroes of the Buffalo staff
I had a great chat with buffalo bill GM Brandon Beane on my podcast “The Season with Peter Schrager” this week and the focus is on the unsung heroes of the Bills organization.
So many individuals are responsible for the incredible response to Damar Hamlin moment, however, only so many names will be known. I’m glad Brandon took the time to shout out many of them. One person that needs to be mentioned here is Bills assistant athletic coach Tabani Richards. Tabani is a Bills employee who accompanied Hamlin in an ambulance to the hospital and hasn’t left him since. Beane says that no matter where Damar was, Tabani was there. He’s the guy who set up the Zoom session for Bills and Damar players last Friday. When Damar flew to Buffalo, Tabani was, of course, there, and when they landed, Tabani hadn’t come home, showered, and ate a delicious meal after five extremely exhausting days in Cincinnati. He immediately went to the hospital in Buffalo to be with Hamlin. That’s something special.
Beane knows about a dozen employees with similar stories who will never get the shine they deserve. But these stories are important, and as Buffalo continues to unfold beyond this season, I certainly hope they get shared more and more.
Sean Payton watches
I dined with FOX NFL Kickoff colleagues Sean Payton and Charissa Thompson last Saturday night. That put me in the surreal position of having dinner with someone while every TV screen around us showed him in a Saint costume, followed by B-Roll (industry term) of him. Russell Wilson.
The truth is, the Dancer broncos will not be alone in seeking the services of Payton as their head coach. I’m sure that in the coming days or weeks, many teams with coach positions are hiring – probably all of them – will be asking for the opportunity to interview Payton from Saint New Orleans. And Coaches may want to sign up now and come back. But you might not either. I sincerely believe that the situation must be right. And why is that? Because Payton’s situation is very good right now.
Sean Payton on what he needs before going back to coaching
On “FOX NFL Kickoff,” Sean Payton talked about recent inquiries from teams around the NFL interested in choosing him as their next head coach.
He lives with his wife in a lovely rental house in Los Angeles. He walks the dog. He plays golf. His daughter and her fiancée are not far apart. He works with us at FOX and gets excited talking about sports and spending Sundays with colleagues who also live and breathe football. He also gets weekdays off, works regular hours, and can go to Cabo, Fort Worth, Idaho, Hawaii, Japan, Italy or anywhere else during the season.
He misses the thrill of the competition and the spirit of the game, but I think he can be picky and I think he will. Do these jobs interest him? Correct. All they do. But with so few vacancies this year compared to last year, you have to imagine there could be more vacancies in 2024. Would he be worse off waiting a year? I think Payton means it when he says he’s happy here. I wouldn’t be shocked either.
Ben Johnson Sweepstakes
Although Sean Payton is a fan of the ball, Ben Johnson could be the more practical and affordable coaching team after this month. I think lion Offensive coordinators will interview most – if not all – NFL head coach positions in the coming days. Johnson is an interesting candidate because he is 36 years old and it feels like he came out of nowhere.
That doesn’t do justice to Johnson, who has many years of experience returning to Miami as both a broad record and intensive coach. I also think it’s remarkable that Johnson is considered a master communicator. midfielder Jared Goff, head coach Dan Campbell and countless other Lions players and coaches have raved about how he connects with the players. Johnson was a quarterback in North Carolina and majored in math. Smart guy, cool guy, creative guy and an attacking coach – something teams covet in this day and age. I’d be surprised if Johnson didn’t win one of the open gigs.
Tyler “Snoop” Huntley, Skylar ThompsonBrock Purdy, Geno Smith and Daniel Jones all start their knockout matches this weekend. Find me any pros anywhere who even have one of them playing in a post-season game before the season starts. The NFL is a beautiful mystery. That’s why I love it.
Peter Schrager is an NFL writer for FOX Sports and the host of “Good Morning Football” on the NFL Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @PSchrags.
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