Alabama once again led the SEC in both total and first-team preseason all-conference selections by the league’s coaches.
The Tide placed seven players on the first team and 15 total among the three teams, which were announced Tuesday.
John Metchie, Evan Neal, Phil Mathis, Christian Harris, Will Anderson, Josh Jobe, and Malachi Moore all broke in at the tops at their respective positions among the SEC. In particular, I’m really happy the coaches gave some love to Jobe, who had a phenomenal and extremely underrated season in 2020.
On top of that, Moore and Mathis may not even be able to claim to be the best at their position on their own team, as guys like Brian Branch, LaBryan Ray, and Justin Eboigbe all have legitimate chances at unseating those two as starters.
In NFL news, Charlie Potter put together a massive list of contributors from Tide alumni:
Four Alabama alums scored touchdowns in running backs Damien Harris (Patriots) and Mark Ingram (Texans), quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins) and receiver Robert Foster (Texans). On the defensive side of the football, a pair of former Crimson Tide safeties picked off passes for their respective teams in Shyheim Carter (Texans) and Jared Mayden (49ers).
It was not all good news, however, as teams continue to trim their rosters down to the 53-man limit. Bo Scarbrough (Raiders), Damion Square (Browns) and Andre Smith (Ravens) were all recently cut either prior to their Week 2 games or, in Smith’s case, shortly after. Scarbrough and Mark Barron recently worked out for the Texans and the Raiders, respectively.
In injury news, Shaun Dion Hamilton (Lions) and AJ McCarron (Falcons) were placed on injured reserve and will miss the 2021 season. McCarron suffered a torn ACL in Atlanta’s game against Miami. Hamilton, who joined Detroit in January, landed on IR for an undisclosed reason.
I’m super excited for Shyheim Carter to have gotten an interception, even if it were in a preseason game. That guy started and played tremendously for Alabama for years and never got a single mention from anyone anywhere in the media. That still blows my mind, and I consider him one of the most underrated and overlooked players in the Nick Saban era.
In any case, the article above has a huge list of all the Alabama participation. There’s a LOT of them.
In the Miami Dolphins’ 37-17 preseason victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday, wide receiver Robert Foster caught a touchdown pass. But on Tuesday, he lost his spot on the Dolphins’ roster as NFL teams released players to meet an NFL deadline.
Miami is hoping to slip Foster onto the IR, but there’s always a chance another team jumps to claim him. This is a really hard time to be an NFL player, as nearly 50% of every active player is going to get cut from a team this month as they trim their rosters from 90 to 53.
On Tuesday, reporters got a chance to ask Patriots coach Bill Belichick that question: Is this a big opportunity for Jones this week?
“It is,” Belichick answered succinctly.
Newton started 15 games for New England last season – missing one contest while on reserve/COVID-19 – and the former Auburn All-American re-signed with the Patriots in March. In the first round of the NFL Draft on April 29, New England added Jones with the 15th selection.
On Monday before the Patriots announced that Newton would be limited to virtual work until Thursday, Belichick said about the quarterback competition: “I think the fact Cam started last year and he’s here, somebody is going to have to play better than him.” But Belichick also said: “The guys that have been there, somebody has to show that they’re better than them or that player has to be unavailable.”
Through two games, Mac Jones has absolutely looked like the best rookie QB from the 2020 draft class. Of course, Newton has played well this offseason too, but Jones is still going to be gunning for the starting job. In either case, him landing in New England instead of places like New York or Jacksonville is a huge boon for his career.
Mac Jones this preseason:— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) August 24, 2021
Overall PFF passing grade: 93 (No. 1 among 45 qualified QBs)
When kept clean: 92.9 (No. 1)
When under pressure: 76.7 (No. 1)
When throwing 20-plus yards downfield: 94.9 (No. 2 -- shoutout Jameis)
When throwing past sticks: 97.4 (No. 1)
According to PFF, Jones has not only been the best rookie, but the best overall QB this entire offseason. His traditional stats are phenomenal, and would be over the moon if his receivers hadn’t dropped two different perfectly placed deep bombs that should have been TDs.
Throw in Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts, and the NFL is about to get a whole lot of Bama in the one position that they’ve managed to avoid being infiltrated during the Saban tenure until now.
Speaking of Jalen...