Last week we started the roses and thorns feature that will run every Thursday after the PFF scores come out for the week. Unfortunately, PFF does not break them down by week, so we really aren’t looking for the best performers per se, but we are looking the biggest risers and fallers from the previous week. Of course, we are also looking at Davis Mills more specifically because quarterback is the most important position on the field.
Biggest Offensive Riser— Nico Collins
Collins had more targets and did more with those targets than he did in week one. Of course, a lot of this comes down to how you look at it. Were the Houston Texans purposefully targeting him more on Sunday. Maybe. It’s also possible that he was getting open more often. Either way, he caught four balls for more than 50 yards. If we were to extrapolate that over the course of a full season he would have more than 60 catches and 800 yards. That would be good progress in year two. Collins came into the game ranked 68th amongst wide receivers and came out ranked 50th.
Biggest Offensive Faller— Chris Moore
When one receiver gets more targets then another one usually gets less. That is particularly true when the passing game was so weak overall. Moore went from 34th to 76th over the course of one week. Moore is officially the third wide receiver, but that will probably only be for the season.
Biggest Defensive Riser— Kurt Hinish
The undrafted free agent struggled mightily in week one. When you look at the overall numbers you still can’t say you are entirely impressed. His 67.8 run grade and 64.2 pass rush grades are still below average when compared with the rest of the position, but he was 103rd coming into the week and now is a respectable 75th. You normally don’t expect undrafted guys to be anything more than rotational players, but he definitely looks like he’s getting to that point.
Biggest Defensive Faller— Derek Stingley
All numbers have to have a context. Stingley went from 44th to 97th in one week. However, he was left out on an island with the Denver Broncos best (and by game’s end only good) wide receiver for much of the game. They went his way several times and he had a couple of very borderline penalties called on him. Take away a defensive interference call here and defensive holding there and that grade ends up looking much better.
The Mills Report
Last week, Mills went from being 11th out of 32 quarterbacks to being 21st out of 34 quarterbacks. With Trey Lance being out for the season, there are only a handful of quarterbacks you think will wind up below Mills at this current rate. Joe Burrow, Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, and Dak Prescott are currently ranked below Mills. Others like Baker Mayfield and Matt Ryan will probably outrank him at some point as well.
It was only one game and we can be certain that Mills will find his level eventually. At a certain point, it can feel like we are piling on. I can already count a handful of articles on this site alone directly criticizing his play and it’s only Thursday. So, we will leave those numbers there and let them speak for themselves. Until next Thursday, let’s try to at least find some positives we can look at.