Posts Tagged With: Eric Berry

4 sets of teammates among Pro Bowl defensive backs

Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith

Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith

After three seasons experimenting with a playground-style Pro Bowl where captains chose teams from a pool of the league’s top players, the NFL is returning to the traditional AFC-vs.-NFC format for its 2017 all-star game.

There are a couple of new wrinkles: The Pro Bowl will be held in Florida instead of Hawaii, and in the days leading up to the game there will be a “Pro Bowl Skills Showdown” that — hopefully — might be as cool as the old “NFL’s Fastest Man” and QB-challenge competitions I remember from when I was a kid.

Another Pro Bowl tradition is having a lot of players who are voted into the game being replaced by alternates. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Minkah Fitzpatrick

Minkah Fitzpatrick

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama (NCAA) — I have to wonder how many NCAA Division-1 teams the Crimson Tide could beat if their offenses didn’t score at all. Alabama’s defense and special teams are so potent, you could pair them with South Carolina’s offense (the worst in the SEC) and they’d probably still be playing for a national championship next month.

After surprisingly falling behind 7-0 to Florida in Saturday’s SEC title game, ‘Bama responded with a field goal, then took the lead on Fitzpatrick’s interception and 44-yard return for a touchdown. Soon after that, they extended the lead with a blocked punt return for another touchdown and cruised to a 54-16 victory. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Eric Berry

Eric Berry

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Eric Berry, SS, Chiefs (NFL) — After spending three quarters as supporting cast members on a Cam Newton highlight reel, Berry and the Chiefs defense stepped up in the fourth quarter on Sunday to pave the way for a stunning 20-17 comeback victory over the Panthers.

Kansas City was trailing 17-6 before Berry intercepted a Newton pass and took it back 42 yards for a touchdown. During the return, Berry broke three or four tackles and used two spin moves to get free.

That would turn out to be the Chiefs’ only touchdown of the game, sandwiched between four field goals. Berry finished with a team-high nine tackles, including one tackle for loss, and two pass breakups to go with the pick-six. Continue reading

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‘Legion of Boom’ duo part of NFL’s top defensive trio

Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman

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

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NFL’s Top 100: Chiefs FS Eric Berry (#55)

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Tim Tebow himself would’ve had to come back to the NFL last season after however-many years he’s been gone, he would’ve had to become the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, and he would’ve had to lead the Browns to the playoffs in order for anybody to beat out Eric Berry for the 2015 Associated Press NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.

That Berry made the Pro Bowl last season was no shock given his ability; it was the fourth Pro Bowl nod of his six-year career.

That Berry was an AP All-Pro first team selection was not out of his wheelhouse; that was his second All-Pro nod since entering the league. Continue reading

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Cardinals’ pair tops list of NFL’s most valuable DBs

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Ike Taylor should be well acquainted with the benefits and detriments of sharing a secondary with a teammate who is headed for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Taylor’s 12-year career as a cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers began and ended with him playing alongside strong safety Troy Polamalu, an eight-time Pro Bowler who will go down in history as one of the game’s greatest defensive backs. Taylor (fourth round) and Polamalu (first round) were both chosen by Pittsburgh in the 2003 NFL Draft, and both retired following the 2014 season.

Thanks in no small part to Polamalu, Taylor played in three Super Bowls and won two of them. And Taylor probably had a bit of an easier time guarding some receivers because not many relished the idea of going across the middle with Polamalu patrolling that part of the field. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

T.J. Ward, SS, Broncos (NFL): As much as the voters may have wanted to give Super Bowl 50 MVP to QB Peyton Manning, the Denver defense — most notably LB Von Miller — was too good to be denied. One also could’ve made a strong MVP case for Ward, the 6th-year pro out of Oregon who had seven tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in the Broncos’ 24-10 victory over the Panthers. Ward, who didn’t have a single interception or fumble recovery during the regular season or playoffs before Sunday, picked off Carolina QB Cam Newton in the third quarter when the Panthers were just outside the red zone and trailing 16-7. Ward’s fourth-quarter fumble recovery set up the TD that was essentially the dagger for Denver.

Darian Stewart, FS, Broncos (NFL): Before, during and after the game, the dominant Super Bowl stories revolved around opposing quarterbacks Manning and Newton. Overlooked and underappreciated as usual were the respective defenses, and one standout was Stewart, who is referred to as the quarterback of Denver’s defense. He had three tackles and one sack on Sunday and helped lead a phenomenal team defensive effort by the Broncos. Continue reading

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Richard Sherman first DB taken in Pro Bowl Draft

Richard Sherman

If you were to gather a group of NFL fans to talk about the Pro Bowl — difficult a task as that may be — you’ll find quite a few who believe the league should simply announce the rosters and scrap the idea of actually playing what has become the worst all-star game among the major American sports.

As football-mad as this country is, nobody seems to be going crazy over the Pro Bowl. And with good reason.

A salary bonus and recognition among peers are the biggest perks a player gets out of being voted to the Pro Bowl. As for the game itself, beyond the free trip to Hawaii, it means nothing. Continue reading

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Berry battles back from cancer to make NFL All-Pro Team

Eric Berry

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

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

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Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Eric Berry, FS, Chiefs (NFL): He had already beaten cancer, made it back to the NFL, and made it back into Kansas City’s starting lineup. In the Chiefs’ 23-13 win over the Steelers on Sunday, Berry reached another milestone when he grabbed his first interception since being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma last December. The three-time Pro Bowler also had a team-high six tackles.

Lance Austin, DB, Georgia Tech (NCAA): Last week, it was Michigan State freshman DB Jalen Watts-Jackson whose unbelievable special-teams play — a 38-yard touchdown return of a botched punt as time expired to beat Michigan — seemed like a lock for college football’s play of the year. This week, it was Georgia Tech sophomore Austin who made another miracle happen. The Yellow Jackets were tied with Florida State with six seconds left as the favored Seminoles lined up for a 56-yard field goal. The kick was blocked, and Austin picked it up. Seventy-eight yards later, with no time on the clock, he crossed the goal line to give Tech a wild 22-16 victory. Continue reading

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