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1. On Sunday, it didn’t look good for Robert Griffin III. Immediately after he took the big hit that knocked him out of the Washington Redskins, he reportedly couldn’t remember what the score was or what quarter it was. But his recovery has gone well, he practiced fully yesterday and, while he still needs to be cleared by independent doctors, it appears that he’ll be cleared to play on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
One interesting thing he said yesterday was promising: “There are times to break the pocket and make plays… And then there’s times to just take the checkdown, take what they’re giving you and just know that the guy you’re throwing to is going to try as hard as he can to get the first [down].”
He also talked about how important it is to the fans and his family to do what he can to stay out of harm’s way and avoid getting hurt the way he did last week. It’s certainly great that he learned that lesson, it’s just a shame he had to take a vicious hit to his head to learn this. The coaches also said that Griffin is expected to run when the defense calls for it, but we’ve already seen that they don’t call designed runs anymore for him even before he got injured.
Ever since Griffin’s spectacular debut against the New Orleans Saints, he’s struggled to match that performance. The reason is simple: the Saints have an awful defense so any other team by comparison is going to be much tougher. He was able to pull off a surprising win over the Bucs, but it’s a shame he got hurt against the Falcons because he might have been able to get the upset in that game as well. Minnesota has the #6 rushing defense in terms of yards per game this season and they’ve only allowed one rushing touchdown all season, so it looks like this game is going to fall on RG3′s shoulders.
Photo courtesy Chris Gray/Getty Images
2. Speaking of the Saints, Drew Brees broke the all-time record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass, breezing by Johnny Unitas for that record this past weekend at home against the San Diego Chargers. It wasn’t one of those records where you’re at the edge of your seat all game, keeping track of the stats, wondering when it’s going to happen. This is the Saints and this is Drew Brees. Everyone knew it would happen in the 1st quarter, probably on the first possession.
It wasn’t the first possession, but he did set it in the 1st quarter on the way to a 31-24 victory, the first of the season for New Orleans. Appropriately, NFL Films mic’d up Brees for this game and it was featured on last night’s episode of Sound FX. Check out that segment here.
I love the way that Chase Daniel shadows him on the sidelines and especially the way he points out how Brees is bleeding under his chin, almost like he’s trying to find a way into the game. “Hey, you’re bleeding! You may have to sit out. How is it doc? You think he may have to sit out a series?” We’ll see if New Orleans can put up some more wins and get on a roll to get back into contention for a playoff spot. It’s going to be tough though as they hit the road to play Tampa Bay and Denver.
Photo courtesy Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images
3. JJ Watt is playing incredibly well this season and it has almost nothing to do with the sacks that he’s racking up. It’s more about his batted balls at the line. What on Earth is the Houston Texans defensive end doing differently than every other defensive lineman in the NFL that is making him so good. Well, Tom Ley over at Deadspin has a great breakdown of what Watt has done on defense.
Ley points out what other people aren’t seeing. Watt isn’t always rushing the passer for the purpose of getting a sack. On certain plays, he’ll try to collapse the pocket while filling in a passing lane, allowing the linebackers to rush the edges and keeping himself in prime position to knock a ball down if the quarterback tries to throw a pass over his head. As a result, the tipped passes are ending drives, preventing scores, and are being intercepted by his teammates.
But we saw this before the season started. This isn’t anything new. Look at Watt’s interception against the Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs last year that turned the game around and sent the Texans to the next round.
He stays in the passing lane and gets the perfect tip so that the ball falls right into his hands and he jets for the endzone. So the next time you’re watching a Houston Texans game and don’t see Watt spinning and doing all he can to get to the quarterback, just hope that the quarterback tries to throw his way because “JJ Swat” is probably going to knock it down.
4. The Oklahoma Sooners are getting a shot in the arm prior to Saturday’s Red River Rivalry game against the Texas Longhorns. Fresno State transfer Jalen Saunders has been cleared to play by the NCAA after he appealed to skip the requirement of sitting out a year after transferring. Saunders led the Bulldogs in receiving last year with over 1000 yards and 12 touchdowns on 50 receptions. He was also 2nd on the team in rushing as FSU often used his speed out of the backfield.
OU can certainly use the extra help. Check out where the Sooners rank among Big 12 teams in offense so far this season (with the Longhorns rankings in parenthesis):
Scoring offense: 7th (4th)
Passing yards per game: 5th (6th)
Passing percentage: 9th (2nd)
Passing yards: 7th (5th)
Passing touchdowns: T8th (T5th)
Kenny Stills is tearing it up with nearly 30 catches this season already, but adding Saunders is going to add a dimension of big play ability that Texas has been susceptible to so far this year. Now they need to worry about making Texas a one-dimensional team with their passing game. Good luck with that.
5. Speaking of the Longhorns, you certainly can’t point to Texas as a program that has a creampuff preconference schedule every year.The next two seasons, they’ll play a home-and-home with BYU and UCLA in 2014 at Cowboys Stadium. In 2015 they’ll start series with Notre Dame and Cal. In 2017, it’ll be Maryland and USC. In 2019, Notre Dame again.
Yesterday, UT announced that in 2022 and 2023, they’ll play another epic series against the Ohio State Buckeyes. It should be exciting. Both times the two teams played, each team was ranked in the top 4. And it produced some pretty memorable moments in 2005 as Texas went on to win a national championship.
6. Finally, there’s some incredible news in TV, especially if you’re a Parks and Recreation fan. The NBC sitcom has cast Jerry’s wife. If you don’t watch the show, Jerry is basically the guy that everyone makes fun of in the office. See for yourself.
But here’s the thing, sometimes Jerry doesn’t deserve mocking. He’s a great piano player, has a beautiful daughter and is an incredible painter. And now, we’re going to meet his wife this season played by… Christie Brinkley! Sure he’s not the handsomest guy, and he’s got a bad fashion sense, but he’s surprisingly cultured and… there’s another reason why the ladies love Jerry.