Posts Tagged With: Mark Barron

Pick Six: Players of the Week

Jaire Alexander

Jaire Alexander

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville (NCAA): The sophomore cornerback and kick returner scored on a 69-yard punt return, had another punt return for 60 yards, and recovered a fumble in the Cardinals’ 63-20 rout of (then) 2nd-ranked Florida State on Saturday. QB Lamar Jackson received and will continue to receive almost all of the attention for (now) 3rd-ranked Louisville, but Alexander is one of the so-far unsung weapons who have this team looking like arguably the best in the country.

Casey Hayward, CB, Chargers (NFL): Hayward is my MVDB this week because my fantasy football opponent had Jaguars QB Blake Bortles and WR Allen Robinson, and Hayward picked Bortles off twice while helping limit Robinson to just three catches in San Diego’s 38-14 victory on Sunday. Hayward also had four tackles and two pass breakups. Continue reading

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Safety-linebacker hybrid part of the NFL’s new normal?

Mark Barron

Mark Barron

During the most recent NFL postseason, I jokingly suggested to my cousin that every linebacker and safety in the league needed to meet somewhere in secret to discuss what they were going to do about Rob Gronkowski.

It seems none of them can solve the puzzle of keeping the Patriots’ superstar tight end in check, and Gronk isn’t getting any easier to cover as defenses see more and more of him. Even the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos and their critically acclaimed defense got lit up by Gronk for 144 yards and a touchdown in the AFC Championship game.

But now?

If the NFL’s linebackers and safeties were to get together sometime between today and the start of the 2016 season, the first order of business wouldn’t be the Gronk crisis — it would be the identity crisis that is beginning to afflict their respective positions. Continue reading

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The Bucs’ D has problems; the secondary is one of them

Tampa-Bay-D

There are plenty of places to spread blame around for the struggles of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense during the team’s 1-4 start to the season.

You could blame the schedule, which has had the Bucs play three straight road games — including a short-week Thursday night disaster at Atlanta — and has had them face each of the elite QBs of the NFC South once already: Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees. You could blame the leadership, as first-year head coach Lovie Smith has implemented a Tampa 2 defensive scheme that, while once dominant in the NFL, has mostly become outdated and ineffective for the teams who try it. Or you could blame the talent, as some of the players relied upon to be difference-makers for the Bucs have yet to make a positive impact. Continue reading

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