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Lions highly-touted undrafted rookie could make debut after bye

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The Detroit Lions could see the debut of their undrafted prize following their bye week

Following every NFL draft, there is a mad scramble to sign to best of the undrafted rookie free agents (UDFA). This year, the Detroit Lions landed a highly-coveted UDFA in Washington hybrid tight end and H-back, Hunter Bryant.

Bryant posted 52 receptions for 825 yards and three scores while averaging 15.9 yards per catch during his junior season with the Huskies last year. And despite entering the draft considered one of the best players at his position, his injury history, lack of blocking ability, and height all combined to see him go undrafted in April.

The 6-foot-2, 239-pound Bryant suffered a knee injury as a freshman at Washington that limited him to just nine games. He’d play just five games his sophomore season due to a torn ACL.

Despite those concerns, Bryant was one of the most highly-sought after undrafted free agents immediately following the 2020 NFL Draft. And despite the presence of 2019 first-round tight end T.J. Hockenson, and veteran Jesse James, Bryant chose to come to the Motor City.

The question is why? It’s likely the Lions view the unusual Bryant as more of an offensive weapon than a traditional tight end.

Using Bryant more in a flex tight end role, Detroit could try to take advantage of the fact the rookie was the most dynamic deep threat of all the power-five tight ends last year. According to Pro Football Focus, he had a whopping seven receptions of 20 yards or more in 2019.

Currently sidelined due to a hamstring injury he suffered during training camp, here’s what Tim Twentyman wrote for DetroitLions.com recently about Bryant’s potential upcoming debut.

“[Bryant] appears to be getting close to returning … He was back at practice all week ahead of the Saints game and an extra week of rest from the bye week could put him in a position to make his NFL debut Week 6 vs. Jacksonville.”

As a rookie fresh off an injury and following an offseason training program that was stunted due to a worldwide pandemic, Bryant’s role with the Lions will undoubtedly be very limited early on. Especially considering the playmakers the team already possesses at both the tight end and wide receiver positions.

But the 22-year old Hunter Bryant could find a niche role as a unique mismatch for opposing defenses and as a surprising deep threat that could spark a big play or two for the Detroit Lions. And based on the way the Lions have played through the first four weeks of the season, one or two game-changing plays could be the difference between a win or a loss.

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Buffalo Bills: Trent Murphy, Harrison Phillips inactive for Week 6

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Dawson Knox but he was joined by Harrison Phillips and Trent Murphy, who are two healthy scratches this week.

It was certainly surprising to see Phillips and Murphy being inactive as they have been key parts of the rotation at defensive tackle and defensive end. However, the pass rush has been lacking and the Bills could be trying to free up more playing time for players like Vernon Butler and Darryl Johnson who provide more in that area.

However, the Buffalo Bills also elevated two players, defensive tackle Justin Zimmer and defensive end Bryan Cox Jr., from their practice squad for this game. This certainly makes sense and expect to see both players on the field for this game.

Zimmer saw some playing time in Week 1 against the New York Jets and played well. As for Bryan Cox Jr. he has spent time with the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns. While he didn’t play for McDermott during his time in Carolina, he did play for Eric Washington who was defensive coordinator for the Panthers and is now the defensive line coach for the Bills.

Another surprise inactive this week is linebacker Matt Milano, who will miss his second straight game due to a pec injury. There appeared to be a good chance he would play this week after practicing in full on Saturday. He will be replaced once again by Tyrel Dodson, who likely will face the tough challenge of slowing down tight end Travis Kelce.

The absence of Knox also creates another chance for Tyler Kroft to see extended snaps. The last time Kroft started was in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Rams and he finished the game with two touchdowns.

Next: 4 under the radar players on the Bills to watch in Week 6

The other inactives for the Buffalo Bills are quarterback Jake Fromm, running back Zack Moss, and offensive lineman Quinton Spain.

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3 takeaways from Packers’ Week 6 loss to Buccaneers

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Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur – Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers lost their first game of 2020. Here are three takeaways.

The Green Bay Packers‘ undefeated run comes to an end.

For three quarters, the Packers were outplayed on both sides of the ball, eventually losing 38-10.

It was a disappointing end to an impressive winning run the Packers had made to start the season. What did we learn from Sunday’s defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

1. Turnovers and penalties are costly

In his entire career leading into this game, Aaron Rodgers had only thrown two pick-sixes. He threw a third and almost had a fourth in this game. Leading 10-0, the momentum swung Tampa Bay’s way when Rodgers threw a pass to Davante Adams, only to be intercepted by Jamel Dean 32 yards for a touchdown.

Only moments later, another pass for Adams was tipped and picked by Mike Edwards, who returned it 37 yards. The Bucs were set up on the Packers’ two-yard line and Ronald Jones ran in a touchdown.

All of a sudden, the Packers were down 14-10 and it felt like they went into panic mode. The game was far from gone, but after an efficient start, they fell apart on both sides of the ball.

And it soon became an undisciplined performance for the Packers. They gave up six penalties in the game for a total of 76 yards, while the Bucs didn’t have one. You could argue the Bucs were fortunate not to be called for a couple early on, such as a roughing the passer on Rodgers that wasn’t called, or an offsides that was missed on one of the interceptions. But that’s no excuse for the Packers’ own six penalties.

Hopefully, this was just one of those games. Turnovers and penalties hadn’t been an issue in the opening four games. They need to get back on track in Week 7.

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Colts’ horrific start against Bengals proves this is all on the coaching

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It’s now 24-21, but still. This shouldn’t be happening.

It’s safe to say we can blame the coaching staff, starting with Frank Reich, for this one. How you can you be this unprepared for a Bengals team that has won three games since the start of 2018? Why are we still not getting TY Hilton involved? Why are we relying on Jack Doyle to do anything productive? He literally fumbled the ball without anybody touching him to start this game.

The Colts are admittedly missing key players. Darius Leonard is out again. Mo Alie-Cox was ruled out. Daurice Fountain didn’t suit up either, and he was supposed to provide support for the WR corps. But that’s no excuse. This Bengals team has a rookie quarterback who is barely protected! The Colts have the best front-four rush in the NFL.

What is defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus doing? Why isn’t offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni trying to establish the run against one of the worst defenses against the run in the NFL? The Bengals allow an average of 159 yards per game on the ground through five weeks.

Screen passes to Doyle? SEVEN rushes in the first half? A fumble? Jonathan Taylor was the leading receiver before Philip Rivers hit Marcus Johnson on a 20-yard pass right before the end of the half. Come on, guys. This is a travesty. It’s clear the players have to execute, but they need to be given a top-notch game plan in order to do so.

They didn’t have one for the first 22 minutes for the second consecutive Sunday. The coaching staff needs to stop this, or else the Colts will be playing from behind all season long.

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