Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
Josh Shaw, DB, Bengals (NFL): The last time you probably heard Shaw’s name, it was in connection to the drama he created for himself at USC when he made up a story about jumping from a second-story balcony to save his drowning nephew, injuring both ankles in the process. (You could almost hear the “Baywatch” music in the background.)
Turns out, Shaw really hurt his ankle jumping from a balcony to avoid the cops. The injuries and accompanying suspension cost him all but three games of his senior season, but the Bengals still took Shaw with a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and have since utilized his talents as a versatile DB who can play corner and safety.
On Sunday, Shaw had his biggest game as a pro. Continue reading
Tags: Cam Newton, Chris Harris Jr., Colin Kaepernick, Eddie Jackson, Josh Shaw, Marcus Peters, Marshon Lattimore, national anthem protest, NCAA, NFL, Tyler Horton
Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr.
Apparently the offseason is ranking season in the NFL.
With free agency and the draft in the rearview mirror, and training camps still a few weeks away, it seems every football media outlet is coming out with a variety of rankings and lists to pass the downtime.
NFL.com recently gave retired cornerback Ike Taylor, a 12-year vet who won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the task of putting together a list of the league’s top five cornerback tandems.
Even a casual football fan would not be surprised to find the Denver Broncos on top of Taylor’s list. Continue reading
Tags: Adam Jones, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Dre Kirkpatrick, Janoris Jenkins, Kyle Fuller, NFL, Patrick Peterson, Tracy Porter, Tyrann Mathieu
In a sense, there is no such thing as an “accurate” ranking of the NFL’s best players — either overall or at any particular position.
Despite the best efforts of the people who create advanced statistics, there is no official formula. Ranking football players is rooted too deeply in the personal preferences and style choices of the person doing the ranking. And when you get into positions like offensive line and defensive back — where the numbers truly do not tell the whole story — you’re even less likely to come up with a universal order on which most people can agree. Continue reading
Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman
In the NBA, it’s called a “Big Three.” In the NFL, they’re called “triplets.”
When three star athletes end up on the same team, visions of championships start dancing in the heads of fans and media (and of course owners and general managers) as expectations and ticket prices climb higher and higher.
An NBA Big Three typically consists of three standout offensive playmakers. But due to the two-way nature of the game, it can still include a player whose bread-and-butter is his defense. Think Dennis Rodman with the 1990s Chicago Bulls, or DeAndre Jordan with the current-day L.A. Clippers.
In the NFL, a set of triplets is — at least according to the media and fans who come up with these labels — almost always made up of three offensive players. Continue reading
Usually, when you don’t hear Chris Harris Jr.‘s name much during a game, it’s a good indication that he’s doing exactly what the Denver Broncos pay him to do.
As one of the premier “shutdown” cornerbacks in the NFL, Harris is supposed to blanket opposing wide receivers to the point where opposing quarterbacks don’t want to throw to them. That means Harris shouldn’t give up a lot of catches, which means he shouldn’t get making a lot of tackles and ideally shouldn’t even be getting a lot of interceptions.
But Harris was unusually active around the football during Super Bowl 50. His five tackles against the Carolina Panthers that day tied for his second-highest output of the season, and he added a sack. Which was apparently good enough for the Broncos, who won the game 24-10 and secured the championship with an overall defensive performance for the ages. Continue reading
Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib
Two story lines have dominated the buildup to Super Bowl 50: Peyton Manning‘s unforgiving oldness and Cam Newton‘s unforgivable Blackness.
It’s no surprise, since quarterbacks are almost always the stars of the pre-Super Bowl show. But in most years there are at least some other intriguing angles for the media and for the public to latch onto: a reclusive running back’s maddening silence, a legendary linebacker’s impending retirement, a curmudgeonly coach’s mysterious methods.
This year, however, it seems to be all about the QBs. Which of course means that the difference-maker who will decide the outcome of Sunday’s game will probably be a player who received little to no attention during these two hype-filled weeks. And that man will suddenly become the subject of a thousand “Who is this guy?” pieces about the “unknown” who was completely available for get-to-know-you interviews while everyone was busy chasing Cam and Peyton. Continue reading
Tags: Aqib Talib, Bradley Roby, Charles Tillman, Chris Harris Jr., Cortland Finnegan, Darian Stewart, Josh Bush, Josh Norman, Kayvon Webster, Kurt Coleman, Robert McClain, Roman Harper, Shiloh Keo, Super Bowl 50, T.J. Ward, Tre Boston
In a surprising break from the norm, a defensive player was the headliner when the Associated Press revealed its All-Pro Team for the 2015 NFL season.
Rather than the competition for first-team quarterback between Cam Newton and Tom Brady (Cam won), or Adrian Peterson regaining his spot as the game’s top running back after missing almost an entire season, the top story when the rosters were released Friday was Khalil Mack, the Oakland Raiders star who made history by being the first player in NFL history to make first-team All-Pro at two positions in the same year.
Mack, a second-year pro who had 15 sacks and 77 tackles, was named to the first team at defensive end and linebacker. Continue reading
Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
Robert Alford, CB, Falcons (NFL): In the second quarter against Washington on Sunday, Alford made his first interception of the season. In the fourth quarter, he committed a pass interference penalty that set up a Washington touchdown. Going into overtime, Alford needed something to tip the scales and determine whether he could feel good or bad about his game. It didn’t take long. On the first possession of the extra frame, Alford jumped an out route by WR Ryan Grant and picked off his second pass of the day, returning it 59 yards for the winning touchdown and keeping Atlanta undefeated this season.
Sidney Jones, CB, Washington (NCAA): Almost forgotten amidst the drama and tragedy of USC head coach Steve Sarkisian’s sudden fall due to alcoholism was the fact that the Trojans suffered a crushing 17-12 loss on Thursday to young pack of Huskies that have become surprise Pac-12 North contenders. Jones, a sophomore, stood out in the upset with four tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception against famously accurate USC QB Cody Kessler. Continue reading