Week Nine of the NFL season has concluded, so the Blue Zone checks in on how former Duke football players are doing in the big leagues:
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones saw a dip in his performance since Week Eight, completing 15 of 20 pass attempts for 110 yards and one touchdown, as well as one lost fumble. This dip in his stats can be largely attributed to a shift in the Giants’ offensive approach, as they relied heavily on the run game to move the chains. In the absence of star running back Saquon Barkley, who could not practice due to his ankle injury, veteran Devontae Booker took the majority of their 31 rushing attempts, carrying the ball 21 times for 99 yards.
Unfortunately, Jones did not contribute as much to the run game as he normally does as a dual-threat quarterback, logging a lowly four rushes for 17 yards. This is demonstrative of the gradual decline of his rushing upside throughout the season; in four of the last five games, Jones has rushed 20 yards or fewer as opposed to his 47-yard average through the first four games of the season. As they enter their bye week, the Giants look to improve and continue their momentum into Week 11.
Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets
With backup Mike White’s run as the Jets’ quarterback abruptly interrupted with a first-quarter forearm injury, veteran receiver Jamison Crowder found himself catching balls from third-string quarterback Josh Johnson. Nonetheless, Crowder put up a solid performance of five receptions on seven targets for 38 yards and zero touchdowns.
For the first time this season, though, Crowder followed his slot counterpart Elijah Moore, who had a career-high seven receptions of eight targets for 84 yards and two touchdowns. This was a milestone for the rookie, as these were the first touchdowns of a young, yet promising career. With Moore slowly gaining momentum and breaking out as a receiver, Crowder will need to rely on his experience and dependability to keep up his consistent stream of targets.
Michael Carter II, CB, New York Jets
The Jets’ defense has been struggling as of late, allowing at least 30 points in each of their last three matchups after holding their opponents to less than 30 for the first six weeks of the season. These defensive struggles were on full display Thursday against the Colts, as the defense allowed a whopping 21 points in only the second quarter and 45 points total.
Sadly, Michael Carter II was not an exception to the dip in the Jets' defensive performance. This week, the rookie cornerback put together the worst performance of his short NFL career, finishing with a lowly Pro Football Focus grade of 28.6. Up until that point, his lowest grade had been 57.6 in the Jets' Week Five loss to the Falcons.
His performance in a single game does not dictate the trajectory of his career though, and Carter does show promise. This season, he is just one of nine cornerbacks in the league to not allow a touchdown (having played at least 50% of snaps), and just one of two to not have been flagged a single time this season, the latter speaking a lot of his concentration and discipline as a young, emerging player.
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