Posts Tagged With: Harrison Smith

Pick Six: Players of the Week (Sept. 10, 2018)

Denzel Ward

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Denzel Ward, CB, Browns (NFL) — Despite being the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Ward is not even the most talked-about rookie on his team. That’s because the Browns also had the No. 1 pick in the draft, and they used it on Heisman-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield.

But in Cleveland’s season opener, Ward stepped into the spotlight while Mayfield never stepped onto the field. Ward started at cornerback and intercepted two passes to go with six tackles and three pass breakups in the Browns’ 21-21 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ward also spent some time covering Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, who happens to be probably the best receiver in the league.

A tie usually isn’t something worth celebrating, but considering the Browns went 0-16 last season, a tie almost felt like a win on Sunday. Continue reading

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NFL’s Top 100: Harrison Smith (#46)

Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith always seems to be around the football, which is impressive considering that he often lines up farther away from it than anyone else on the field.

The Minnesota Vikings’ free safety notched 78 tackles (seven tackles-for-loss), 1.5 sacks, five interceptions and 12 pass breakups in the 2017 regular season, and recorded another 13 tackles and a sack during the team’s playoff run to the NFC Championship game.

Arguably the best player on arguably the NFL’s best defense, Smith was voted first team All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl for the third time in his first six pro seasons. Continue reading

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NFL’s Top 100: Xavier Rhodes (#55)

Xavier Rhodes

The Minnesota Vikings have arguably the NFL’s best defense.

Last season, they led the league in fewest points allowed (15.8 ppg) and fewest yards allowed (275.9 ypg), and ranked second in fewest rushing yards allowed (83.6 ypg) and second in fewest passing yards allowed (192.4 ypg).

An argument within that argument that may be more even interesting is just who is the Vikings’ best defensive player.

On their way to a 13-3 record and an appearance in the NFC title game, Minnesota had five defenders named to the Pro Bowl and three were All-Pro. Continue reading

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NFC defensive backs to watch in the NFL playoffs

Ronald Darby

The NFL playoff field is set — an eclectic mix of high-powered offenses (the Rams score a league-best 29.9 points per game) and stingy defenses (the Vikings allow a league-low 15.8 points per game), hotshot rookies (league rushing leader Kareem Hunt) and Hall of Fame locks who have been playing forever (Tom Brady), postseason regulars (Steelers) and teams that haven’t been to the playoff party in a long time (Bills).

Since they say defense wins championships, that means there are some defensive backs whose play will mean a lot in determining how the road to the Super Bowl is paved. Continue reading

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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

Josh Norman

Josh Norman

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Josh Norman, CB, Washington (NFL): The marketing, advertising and overall hype leading up to Sunday’s head-to-head matchup between Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Washington CB Josh Norman reminded me of the now-infamous 1994 duel between Falcons WR Andre Rison and 49ers CB Deion Sanders.

That meeting was about Deion returning to Atlanta to face his former team and his just-as-flashy former teammate, Rison. That meeting started a sort of sibling rivalry of one-upmanship that turned into a (funny more than fierce) fight between the two stars.

This meeting between Beckham and Norman was about a blood rivalry that started last year, when arguably the two best players in the NFL at their respective positions faced each other and ended up trading cheap shots back and forth. And with Norman leaving Carolina for Washington in free agency, he and OBJ are now NFC East foes who will play each other twice a year. Continue reading

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NFL’s Top 100: Vikings FS Harrison Smith (#73)

Harrison_Smith

The NFL Network’s weekly 10-at-a-time reveal of this year’s list of the league’s top 100 players had gone almost three whole episodes before a defensive back appeared on the ranking. That’s either an ominous indicator that there won’t be many more DBs to come, or a promising sign that the league’s top DBs are being recognized with even higher spots on the list than in previous years.

The first DB to appear on the 2016 countdown was Vikings free safety Harrison Smith, who was voted the 73rd best player in the league by fellow NFL players. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

probowlweb1s-ug3-web

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Team Irvin (NFL): In the summer before my freshman year of high school, I went to a football camp run by Eric Metcalf, a Seattle native and NFL running back who just happened to be my favorite football player ever. On the final day of camp, each age group played a scrimmage game that was either flag or two-hand touch — I can’t remember. I do vividly remember that I got two interceptions in that game and was awarded a trophy at the end for basically being the defensive MVP. Doesn’t sound like much now, but it was that camp and that scrimmage that erased any doubt I had going into high school about my ability to play defensive back at a level higher than Little League. So I’m not going to downplay Rodgers-Cromartie’s efforts as the most impactful defensive player in Sunday’s Pro Bowl, which was essentially a two-hand touch affair in the fourth quarter. DRC, who plays for the New York Giants in his day job, had two interceptions for Team Irvin in their 49-27 victory over Team Rice. 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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Pick Six: Players of the Week

bridgestone-122815-thumb

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Harrison Smith, FS, Vikings (NFL): Back on the field after missing the better part of three games with a knee injury, Smith — along with fellow returning starters LB Anthony Barr and DT Linval Joseph — sparked Minnesota’s defense in Sunday’s 49-17 rout of the Giants. Smith had five tackles and 35-yard interception return for a touchdown as the Vikings clinched a playoff berth and will next play the Packers for the NFC North title.

Jimmy Smith, CB, Ravens (NFL): Smith had a 101-yard pick-six that not only would’ve been the signature moment of Sunday’s 20-17 upset victory over the Steelers, it would’ve probably been the highlight of the Ravens’ season if it hadn’t been called back to to a teammate lining up offsides. Even without that play in the books, Smith still shined with one interception (that counted), two pass breakups, and limiting Pittsburgh star WR Antonio Brown to seven catches for 61 yards and no TDs. Continue reading

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