Black Quarterback: Quiet Legends Episode
By Brandon Simmons
How Far can Deshaun Watson go?
Thursday, Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson made his debut as a starter and it was pretty decent. One of the highlights of the Texans’ 13-9 was a 49- yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter. While it was a defensive struggle. Watson showed some promising flashes for his first win as a starter and it makes you wonder…how far can he really run?
Drafted in the first round, after the Texans traded up for him, Watson comes in at a standard 6’4 with a winning pedigree. His last 2 seasons of his college career, saw him lead his team to a national championship. One of his main strengths is his mobility which allows him to move around the pocket, something needed as the Texans push through their offensive line troubles. Watson also has sound decision making attached to him. Instead of trying for the deep pass or running on every other play, he chooses when to do a check down pass to his running back. This is also useful for when opposing secondary has wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins double-covered.
Deshaun Watson can be the answer to the Texans’ long line of quarterback troubles for the forseeable future. His starting debut marked the 4th straight year that head coach Bill O’ Brien has benched his original starting QB of the season, when Watson replaced quarterback Tom Savage. Watson has the athletic mix skillset that fits the modern-day QB. He does need some work, but his talent can make him just as great as his other young QB peers Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. The team needs to also put better pieces around him, Hopkins is the best wide receiver on this team, by a long shot, but there’s nothing wrong with going out and getting a solid number 2 or 3 option to help him elevate his aerial skillset.
Anotnio Gates…quietest Legend Ever
Sadly, the biggest news to come out Sunday’s game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins was the missed game winning field goal by Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo; and not the 112th touchdown catch by Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. Gates became the all-time leader for touchdown catches by a tight end, surpassing the poster boy for tight ends, Tony Gonzalez. It’s an honor that’s both remarkable and sad at the same time.
Gates is nothing short of a legend. He signed with the Chargers in 2003 as an undrafted free agent and has shared face-of-the-franchise responsibilities with Philip Rivers ever since. Gates is the franchise’s all time leader in receptions, touchdowns and yards. Without him, Rivers might not have a lot of the yards that has projected him as a legend himself. Yet throughout the years, Gates has never really had that much of a spotlight on him.
But if you compare him to his other major contemporaries such as Tony Gonzalez, Shannon Sharpe, Jason Witten, Rob Gronkowski, he has been just as good and sometimes even the best at his position. The Chargers have had plenty of playoff runs but nowhere close to reaching the Super Bowl. With Rivers’ career winding down, Gates might not have a chance to get a ring unless he’s willing to head to another team, of course a contender. He still has a lot left in the tank, it seems, so there should be no question of whether or not he can start or play the 2nd string in a two tight end system. Wherever he goes, it will definitely be something worth hearing about from the quiet phenom.
What Does Kaep going to the Bengals Say about the Bengals?
One of the big stories coming out of the weekend was a report that Cincinatti Bengals players were wanting the team to sign quarterback Colin Kaepernick. However, it wasn’t so much in regards to his stance on the national anthem from last season, but rather the frustration that the team is having with their own quarterback, Andy Dalton. Thursday, Dalton and the Bengals lost to the Houston Texans at home, despite having a full lineup of weapons at their disposal. But a 9 point outing by the offense led to the offensive coordinator to be fired and questions surround the future of the quarterback and head coach.
There are two parallels that seem to be going on here. First, there is the story about Kaepernick. Here is a quarterback who has been blackballed by the league, including those teams who seem “interested” in him. Suddenly, the guy who certain critics did not think was qualified enough to be in the league, has now reached the short list of replacing a guy who was once a franchise quarterback. Speaking of such, Dalton has not been the QB that displayed flashes of brilliance early in his career. Cincinatti thought they had an answer to replace former number one pick Carson Palmer early on, but lately Dalton hasn’t played better than Carson Daly.
Considering these 2 stories colliding with each other, it shows the common theme of being fed up with something. This apparent blackballing has been going on for so long and there may be a sentiment of players being fed up of another player going through that. More importantly, the Bengals players are probably tired of Dalton and his play for the last few years. It’s not exactly the high level of performance they are needing right now. People forget that the Bengals were trash for the longest time until they got Palmer, then they became contenders. They get rid of him and Dalton brought them back to some of their “winning” ways, but not to that net level. First round playoff exits continued to plague the team who seemed hungry for championship success but only feasted on mediocrity and beginning to feel those hunger pains. It might be time for Cincinatti to scrape their whole plate and get back in the kitchen.
Green Bay Lackers at Running Back
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is not that great; but the team seems to think so with their lack of supply at key areas. In particular, those deficient areas are running back and secondary. In 2017, the Green Bay Packers best running back is a former wide receiver in Tye Mongotmery…still. After Eddie Lacy went horribly wrong, this team has not grasped the concept of finding a true running back to use carry the load of moving chains and wearing down opposing defenses. They definitely were not able to slow down the Atlanta Falcons defense on Sunday who smashed Rodgers for 3 sacks, including a fumble return for a touchdown. They can’t have Rodgers playing Russell Westbrook out here; you need to get him some more pieces on one of these sides of the ball in order to get his game right.
Shout out to Detroit Lions’ kick returner James Agnew. Monday, against the New York Giants, Agnew ran a punt back late in the 4th quarter for a touchdown. When he caught it, he was a second away from being tackled but managed to break through a multitude of defenders to seal the 24-10 victory for Detroit.
Shut out to the New York Giants’ offensive line, in particular, left tackle, Erik Flowers. The poorly-blocking unit gave up 5 sacks, including 3 by ions defensive End Ziggy Ansah; Flowers just so happen to have responsibility on Ansah all night.
Shout out to Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch for his sideline dance and debut touchdown. During the game against the New York Jets, Lynch scored his first rushing touchdown of the season in the 2nd quarter. Later in the game, Lynch decided to celebrate with the crowd along some to some hyphy music. By then, the Raiders were well on their way to their 45-20 win.
Shut out to San Diego Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo. In Week 1, Koo missed a game winning field goal that would have saw the Chargers beat the Denver broncos. This week, he did the same and lost the opportunity to beat the Miami Dolphins. He is 1 for 4 with FG on the season.
Shout out to the Denver Broncos defense who held Ezekiel Elliot to 8 yards rushing. The young Dallas Cowboys running back met his match on Sunday and ended up with a career low in rushing yards.
Shut out to the New Orleans Saints defense, who are still trash. Sure they went up against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the present epitome of offensive football, but letting Brady throw 3 touchdowns in the 1st quarter – something he’s never done in any quarter – does not help your case to get any slack.
Shout out to Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce for his touchdown jump. Kelce took a shovel pass from quarterback Alex Smith, then ran 16 yards and dived right over 2 defenders into the endzone.
Shut out to the Seattle Seahawks and their field goal woes. The problems is not them missing any, rather it is all they have made after 2 weeks. The team has yet to score a touchdown on offense, defense or special teams so far this season.
This weekend, a couple of teams will be figuring out early how strong they are. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be coming off their first win of the season to go play the Minnesota Vikings and their strong defense. The Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts will be fighting to escape their early season woes. The game of the week just might be the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions. Both teams are coming off impressive national television wins and they also have offenses capable of running up the numbers on the scoreboard. It will be a fun matchup to see Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford outhrow each other to the end. But until then…I’ll holla.
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