All thanks as usual to danzig for the video!
Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills
He's back. Or, at least the Browns' awful run defense made Lynch look like he's back. He had 125 total yards on 23 touches, he blocked well (while I saw Fred Jackson whiff on at least two blitz pickups), and he made a beautiful play on a wheel route down the middle for the longest gain on the day, a 35-yard pass reception. No, it didn't matter, and yes, playing Cleveland - one of the worst defenses in the league (not that Buffalo could exploit it) - certainly helped. But for this game, he was clearly the better back between he and Jackson - and that's why he starts.
See more about BeastMode's ability after the jump, plus a litany of other Golden Bear pro performances!
Jackson, who had a phenomenal start to the season, looked bad. He picked up 47 yards on 15 touches, but couldn't find holes in the run game the way Lynch did. As I mentioned, he had a couple of poor efforts in blitz pickup - an area where he's usually top-notch. This was just a bad game for a guy who had been Buffalo's most consistent performer to date.
One last note - Lynch came out of this game really early. Again. He's become known for getting super hyped before a game, getting worked up after one or two carries, and having to leave the field to either throw up or finish hyperventilating. He has not yet outgrown that. I have nothing against a guy being amped for an NFL football game - quite the opposite, actually - but as good as Jackson is, flip-flopping runners that early gets the offense out of rhythm, too. Maybe Jackson should start games and let Lynch take more and more carries as the game wears on.
Marshawn takes his cart on the road to New York for a do-or-die game for the Bills against the Jets.
Desean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles scored 33 points despite receiving next to nothing from DeSean Jackson, their top receiving threat. Of the three passes thrown his way, Jackson caught one of them – for one yard. Jackson also attempted one rush – and gained nada.
"That shows you how dangerous this team is when myself only has one catch and Westbrook has [eight touches for 35 yards]," Jackson said Monday evening on his weekly radio show on 950AM. "We have a lot of weapons.
You might be asking, "radio show"? Actually, it's pretty good, with lots of nice insights about how things are going for Desean and what he thinks of his fellow Eagles teammates. Oh, and he briefly gets his game on with the ladies halfway through. Smooth Desean...
#10 returns to the Bay Area to play the Raiders on Sunday.
Scott Fujita, New Orleans Saints
We strive to remain apolitical on this site, but we give kudos to Fujita for lending his voice and support to one of the bigger political issues of the day.
DZ: Do you have any concerns that teammates, fans, people will say Scott Fujita may be married and have kids, but maybe on the down low he might really be gay? Do you have concern that teammates, bloggers, the press will talk that kind of smack about you either behind your back or to your face?
SF: No, I have no concern about that whatsoever. I know who I am. My wife knows who I am. I don't care one way or the other Dave. I imagine that when some of this gets out guys in the locker room might give me a hard time, and they always give me a hard time. They call me the Pinko Communist Fag from Berkeley. I'm used to it. I can take it all.
Also, the thread on Canal Street Chronicles dealing with this subject was nice to look at. Lots of different opinions expressed without much rancour.
Fujita's Saints have a big showdown of undefeated teams with the Giants.
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
Tony Gonzalez helped explain why Matt Ryan has succeeded as a young quarterback while players like JaMarcus Russell have struggled.
"On a scale of 1-to-10 in terms of work ethic, I hear [Russell]’s like a 3," Gonzalez said. "You hear rumors [from other players] about some of these young guys who don’t get it at all, and I’ve been around quarterbacks like that. Matt’s a 10, which is what you’ve got to be to be a franchise quarterback. At Pro Bowls over the years, I’ve talked to Peyton a lot about this, and that’s the key to being great – a willingness to be prepared at the highest level."
Justin Forsett, Seattle Seahawks
All of a sudden, Forsett has a wide open cutback lane (the triangle beginning between 89 and 74 and extending towards the end zone), a cornerback to beat and Owens to block in front.
Forsett times his cut poorly and runs up on Carlson's legs. Carlson could have blocked Harvey better, but not much better. He eventually pancakes Harvey. Forsett's initial hole is not gaping, it's a cutback lane after all, but it's clear and large enough for any rusher to explode through with a head of steam. Instead he stumbles and the defense swarms around him. He gains two, but if he gets through that hole cleanly, he should have no problem taking it to the house. One only needs to see how empty the right side of the field is to see the brilliance of this play call and how close it was to a touchdown.
Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns
"Over the last few weeks, I think Alex has really made a lot of stride. There are multiple plays on tape where he’s getting good drive at the point of attack, whether it’s him alone or whether it’s him as part of a double team. He does a nice job down the field. Sometimes it’s pulling on some of those outside runs and sometimes he’s on the backside of that and he’s not going to be a puller, the way that he’s able to cut off linebackers. He plays with a high motor. He’s pretty good at lining the target up and finishing the block. It’s nice to see his progress each week. I think it is a function of, as he’s played more, not just things have slowed down, but he’s slowed down a little bit. There were times early where, right idea, right place, just a little too quick getting there, a little too quick if you want to execute the assignment. I think he has a better sense now not just where he has to fit, but how he has to fit and at what tempo the fit needs to be at."
Brandon Mebane, Seattle Seahawks
The good was Brandon Mebane. After going Zapruder Film on the replay, I am pretty sure Mebane stripped Garrard a split second before Lawrence Jackson. Jackson and Reed were single blocked on the outside and Cory Redding dropped into cover. Mebane navigated a triple team before twisting close enough to Garrard to drop a meat hook on the ball. Before he could slap it away, his indomitable bull rush freed Reed by briefly forcing a quadruple team. Reed disengaged from Tra Thomas and ran across the line. He shed the idle right guard, Uche Nwaneri, before breaking to scoop the ball and run 79 yards for the touchdown.
Zack Follett, Detroit Lions
"Just from watching, I didn't see the passion," Follett said Wednesday. "I didn't see guys running down there full speed and, like, really wanting it. I feel kind of like a pit bull that's been caged-up that's been watching every week and just been waiting for my chance. So I think I finally get it this week, so I'm going to run down there and try to change the mentality of special teams."
The Lions struggled badly on coverage units in Sunday's 48-24 loss at Chicago. They released linebacker Darnell Bing make room on the 53-man roster for Follett, a seventh-round pick this year.
"I'm strictly special teams," Follett said. "Learn every position. Coach said I shouldn't be leaving here until 8 o'clock tonight. If that's what it takes, I'm going to make sure I know my job."
Thankfully, he's only on special teams, so he won't get any chances to sack...
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Build around QB Aaron Rodgers: After four weeks, he's listed as only the No. 13 QB overall by Football Outsiders, but consider that they count sacks against the QB. He's currently sitting with a QB rating of 101.1. And that's with a disappointing season from WR Greg Jennings and awful pass protection. And as I described in an earlier post, the pass protection can be fixed.
Other Golden Bear NFL pro tidbits:
- Kyle Boller had a nice run at starter, but suffered a mild concussion in defeat. Marc Bulger replaced him in relief and has also reclaimed the starting role.
- Thomas Decoud had four tackles, two solo, and a pass deflection in the 45-10 beatdown of the Niners.
- Nnamdi Asomugha is a superhero. He also happens to be the best player on an awful, awful team. His quote after the 44-7 Giants loss? "We're underachieving as a football team." Although the Raiders are shopping around players, Nnamdi is not on the list.
- Will Ta'ufo'ou was involved with many other Bears rookies in unveiling a state-of-the-art fitness center for a North Chicago high school. He is still on the practice squad.
Craig Stevens suffered a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet collision with his teammate, eerily simliar to the one he suffered at Rocky Top.
- Lavelle Hawkins was inactive for Sunday Night's game against the Colts. He still remains the fifth/sixth receiver in the rotation behind Washington/Scaife/another-guy-who-I-can't-remember.
- Ryan Longwell had a 47 yard field goal and five extra points in the Vikings 38-10 victory.
- Tully Banta-Cain had 3 tackles and a sack in a loss to the Broncos in overtime.
Arrowhead Pride ponders whether Ryan O'Callaghan will stay at right tackle or will be moved over to the Chief's more vulnerable left side.
Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic
His preseason stats so far have been impressive. He's had three games with double digit scoring. 22 points, 6-9 from downtown starting against the Hornets in Wichita, including sixteen points in 3 and a half minute stretch...had a rough 2-10 shooting night against the Grizz...12 points and six boards against the Rockets...also led the Magic with 16 points scoring against the Heat.
If you don't start, do you believe you can help the team pack a punch off the bench?
Oh yeah, I mean, I think this team compliments my style of play. Dwight on the inside, four shooters on the outside. It's tough to guard, it's really tough to guard and because so many guys are going to be sagging down on Dwight, it's going to create open shots for everybody along the perimeter so I mean, I think that for myself, I think I'll definitely be competing in the rotation. Whether or not ... Brandon is a heck of a player, too, whether or not he's a three-point shooter, it doesn't really matter. The guy busts his butt and he does what he needs to do. He's a strong player, like I said before, so I mean, we have so many weapons, so many options so yeah, I'm obviously going to compete for my minutes, I'm not going to be handed anything so I'm going to fight and when I get in the game, just do what I do, just shoot the ball and rebound.
How have you've liked Ryan Anderson's play so far?
Ryan has been terrific. I mean, I remember people, Brian Schmitz especially asking me in pre-season and I mentioned that Ryan would have a chance to start at the four early with Rashard out, he was like, incredulous, now after two games I don't think people would disbelieve as much. Obviously he stretches the floor when we play offensively but you saw other things, I mean, in both games. He can put the ball on the floor, he's rebounded the ball pretty well, he's had more rebounds than Brandon in each of the last two games so he's playing extremely well and I'm really happy with the way he's playing. I thought again, like everybody else, his pick & roll defense tonight was not good but other than that, like I said, other than two guys, I wasn't really happy defensively. Now on the offensive end and on the boards, I thought we did a pretty good job.
Yellow fever will now weep silently into his White Castle burger.
Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks
Kidd suffered a minor ankle injury at practice, but didn't miss a beat with 5 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds and 5 steals against the Grizz. In his other two preseason appearances he went 17 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, +11 against the Wizards, and 7 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals, and a +7 against the Magic.
Leon Powe, Cleveland Cavaliers
Powe's surgery is ahead of schedule, and he could be back for the Cavs after the All-Star Break.
Sean Marks, New Orleans Hornets
I'm sure Marks is a nice guy, but...
Armstrong, Marks and Barron combined for 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 11 fouls. Project that production out over 48 minutes and you've got a big, steaming pile of crap