Black Quarterback: Midseason Review
By Brandon Simmons
The MVP race does not really have a lot excitement sitting around it this year. A couple of names that have popped up each week has been Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson wentz and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Both guys are leading their teams at top of their respected conferences and playing at a high level themselves. In his 2nd year, Went has already exceeded his rookie total of wins and touchdowns, in which the latter has him tied for the lead with Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson. Analysts have argued that Smith is playing his best season so far throwing for 2181 yards and eclipsing his last season’s total of 15 touchdowns with 16 touchdowns. But there’s one thing that puts Smith over the edge: trunovers.
To go with those 16 touchdowns, Smith has thrown 0 interceptions this season. For a starting quarterback that has played in all 8 games this year, it is a rarity. Yet here we are, approaching playoff time, and the Kansas City offense looks pretty deadly; not just with their various weapons they have, but with the guy who’s distributing the ball. The knock on Alex Smith is that he’s always been a game manager, someone there to just protect the ball, hand it off, make the safe play and not the guy who will attack downfield for the win. The 3 former concepts are ideal for any football team, but it’s easy to become the latter when you have Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, rookie running back phenom Kareem Hunt and wide receiver Tyreke Hill. The Chiefs have faced a tougher schedule, as well as tougher defenses, and they still remain at the top. You can definitely point to Smith as the main reason.
Rookie of the Year
Before his unfortunate knee injury, Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson had the league’s attention. It’s not a lot of rookies to say they’ve challenged Nick Saban and Bill Belichick in the same year but that has been the type of rookie season that Watson has had pretty much and it’s been an impressive run. His 19 touchdowns are tied with Carson Lentz for most in the league and he has 3 different games in which he has threw for at least 4 touchdowns. Watson’s performance has propelled the Texans from last year’s 32nd rank on offense to number 10 and leading the league in scoring.
Offensive player of the Year
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce stands out a s a player of the year candidate so far. While Alex Snith should be applauded for his play this season, part of his success is owed to Kelce. He is 5th in receiving with 51 catches, 629 yards and 5 touchdowns. Kelce is also 5th in receptions that are 20 yards or more. This is the guy that Smith goes when he isn’t able to find Tyreke Hill or get anything going with Kareem Hunt; sometimes he just takes precedent as a primary option over those two. Kelce has definitely been an offensive force the first of this year.
Defensive Players of the Year
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell comes to mind when trying to find a defensive player of the half-year. Campbell was picked up in the offseason nd has been a major force on this revamped Jagauars defense. This season, he already has a career 10 sacks, which has contributed to a 1/3 of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ league-leading 33 sacks as a unit.
Stories So Far
The NFL continues to deal with the protests occurring. It is something that has damaged ratings and potentially pocketbooks. While the owners and players have been meeting to decide how to come to an agreement over ending these protests no middle has been reached, nor does it appear to be anytime soon. The problem is that these demonstrations have deviated from they were intended for which is protesting police brutality. Somewhere along the way, people have twisted into it something against the flag and as a statement for freedom of speech. Neither of those have anything to do with the original cause and so now the league is dealing with that mishandling.
The real highlight of the season have been the touchdown celebrations. The competition committee decided to allow group celebrations back this season, but they have made a grand comeback. Players have emulated everything from dice games to hide and go seek. Player celebrations have been
Injuries have been real big stories during the first half of this season. J.J. Watt, Odell Beckham, Jr. Aaron Rodgers and, recently, Deshaun Watson, have all caught season-ending injuries this year. Not only is that a lot of star power but plenty of playoff chances that are going down the drain at the moment. While the Giants might not be missing anything, even if they had Beckham, the Texans and Packers are definitely scrambling to make some adjustments to save their seasons. It’s too early for them to really just mail it in for the year.
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