- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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• FORGET THE dunderheaded mistake against Dallas; Jackson, with his 22 catches, has been the big-play weapon Donovan McNabb clamored for in the off-season. A versatile threat at Cal, Jackson already has two plays (a punt return and a reception) of 60 yards or more as a pro, and he has seven other plays of at least 19 yards. The 5'10" 175-pounder is one reason the Eagles are averaging 292.8 passing yards, nearly 30 better than their '04 Super Bowl team.
• REMARKABLY, Jay Cutler's passer rating is 10.3 points higher than over his first two years, even with a rookie protecting his blind side. The 6'6", 317-pound Clady has been superb at helping keep the QB on his feet, allowing Cutler (who's been sacked just twice) to hook up with Brandon Marshall and another rookie, Eddie Royal, seemingly at will. When Denver runs, Clady has proved equally adept at seal blocks. The Broncos are averaging 6.16 yards per attempt when running to his side.
• HIS PEDESTRIAN 4.64 time in the 40 was on display when the Chargers' Antonio Gates burned him for a Week 3 TD, but the fourth-round pick has otherwise been stalwart in a maturing New York secondary. In Week 1, the calculating, patient Lowery snuffed out a potential game-tying drive by breaking up two passes from the Jets' two-yard line; against San Diego he had two nice pass deflections; and in Sunday's win over Arizona, Lowery had nine tackles and forced a fumble.
• CREDIT MIAMI'S staff for Long's turnaround after a rough Week 1 outing against the Jets. The Dolphins reconfigured the offense in Week 3 to suit Long's strengths as a run blocker, interspersing a gimmick formation that had him used as sort of a second right tackle. From it, he sprang Ronnie Brown on a 62-yard scoring run with a textbook seal on Patriots end Ty Warren. In the same game, Long keyed a 15-yard Brown score by neutralizing five-time Pro Bowl end Richard Seymour.