Black Quarterback: The Chess not Checkers Episode
By Brandon Simmons
Is the NFL too in Love with the Quarterback?
One of the main criticisms of the NFL is that the game is being too lenient towards the quarterback. In the past 20 years, there have been rule changes to help the offense as well the quarterback. Think of the “tuck rule”, the defensive holding call, or regulating any hit that comes to the quarterback. The latter has caused quite a bit of controversy lately, especially with new additions to the roughing the passer penalty this year. The rule has been modified where a defender is held responsible for avoiding to put his weight on the body of a quarterback once they sack or hit them. If you feel confused, don’t think it’s a football thing you won’t understand, because Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews doesn’t understand it either. The defensive star has been hit with the controversial penalty twice in the past 2 games. But there’s two ironies to the whole thing. This rule comes a season after Matthews’ teammate – quarterback Aaron Rodgers – was hit by a Minnesota Vikings linebacker and missed a significant amount of time with a collarbone injury. The second irony to this ordeal, is that last week, Rodgers was defending Matthews’ anger about the penalties.
The league will tell you this is about player safety but it all goes back to the NFL’s financial safety. The quarterback is one of the most coveted positions in all of sports. Even a guy that might not be that talented still garners up some sort of shine from the position he plays in. If a team’s franchise quarterback goes down, nobody really wants to see the backup who is likely to make costly mistakes and not put together that many wins for a playoff run. The league wants the Brady’s and Rodgers healthy, and in the postseason, because that brings in ratings. They lead offenses that can put points on the board, which is exciting. It’s fun to watch Khalil Mack get 3 sacks in a game, but a better story would be if Bears QB Mitch Trubisky threw (hypothetically) 3 touchdowns.
The NFL still needs to get off the gas with protecting quarterbacks for the sake of football’s future. In the pursuit of protecting that one position, many other players are being neglected as well. Yesterday, Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes tore his ACL while trying to avoid putting his body weight on the quarterback after a sack. What good is a rule set to prevent injury if it’s going to cause even more injuries? Defensive players have long complained about adjusting the skillset drilled into their heads since Pop Warner. Offensively, why should a quarterback have to develop skills such as pocket presence or getting rid of the ball on time, when he knows one simple hit can put his team in the red zone for an easy score? The NFL has to protect itself from being too protective and sack this new rule.
Patrick Mahomes has the Juice…for now
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been lighting up defenses. Mahomes has already set the NFL record for 13 touchdown passes in 3 games, which is an NFL record. He has already revived a Chiefs passing game that did not look like it existed with Alex Smith as the QB last year. Mahomes may very well be the best quarterback in the league right now but the narrative might be changing in the upcoming weeks. Next Monday, the Chiefs will be on the road against the Denver Broncos, who have been playing pretty good defense themselves to start the season. The following week, Mahomes will have to face the Jacksonville Jaguars who have been playing great defense this year and all last season. After that, it will be another road game taking on the New England Patriots.
Patrick Mahomes is the best player on this Chiefs because he must. While he has lobbed 13 TD’s, his defense has been getting posterized giving up 11 touchdowns and 8 of them coming through the air. In 3 games, they have given up 92 points and have not held an opponent to under 25 points; but it helps when the offense has not scored less than 30 points this year. A lot of people are sold on Mahomes having a great NFL future, but his upcoming present will be probably help shape that prediction.
What should the Niners do?
San Francisco 49ers suffered a huge setback when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL in their loss against the Chiefs. What looked to be a promising season, has now turned to a looming decision for the Niners: should they go out and get a quarterback or tank with what they have? The latter option is really their best bet. Garoppolo is still an inexperienced QB that has not proven to win big with lesser talent around him. Tanking would get this team a high pick in the draft they could use to continue to build the offense or defense with. In fact, it’s not an option, it’s their only option. There have already been reports of them bringing QB’s such as Tom Savage, which will unintentionally land you in that spot anyway. Sure, the trade deadline is only a few weeks away and they could go after a quarterback, but why go after another team’s backup QB when you could just give yours a shot at playing the year out?
Kaepernick is Hot in the NFL Streets…Again
This is the second season that Colin Kaepernick has been out of the league but his name is still just as relevant. After the 2016 season – in which he began his protest of police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem – Kaepernick was unable to get signed by a team in 2017 from fear of backlash of his protest caused by certain fans. Fast forward to 2018, and Kaep is almost on the brink of a renewed NFL career. Just a few weeks from being announced as part of Nike’s new 30th anniversary, there seems to be a campaign to get him back in the league.
As teams have played into the season, and quarterbacks have not fared out so well, there seems to be a renewed interest in bringing the former 49ers quarterback. This week, it was reported that the Dallas Cowboys fans have not only called for the benching of QB Dak Prescott but have suggested that he is replaced by Kaepernick. There was also reports that fans wanted to see him back in a Niners jersey in the wake of Garoppolo’s injury. There might be some legal obstacles that could prevent his return, given the fact that Kaepernick is suing the league for allegedly colluding against him to keep him from being signed. His attorney, Mark Gallegos, told the media last week that a couple of teams were interested, including the Oakland Raiders.
Fans have been down this road before of wanting to see Kaepernick get a job in the league but nothing has ever came about it. He tried to get on with the Seahawks and they were petty weary of bringing him on. The Baltimore Ravens had a whole town hall meeting about bringing him in and that turned into a negative for him. The protests themselves have kind of died down with the exception of a few players here and there; and fans have seem to view them more favorably than when they first started. The Niners would probably be a great situation for him to jump in. He could start right away, but since they have their QB of the future, he could leverage it into an opportunity to show other teams what he is capable of. He’s only 31 and can give you quality play as a starter in this league.
Shout Out/Shut Outs
Shout out to the Pittsburgh Steelers for winning their first game of the season. They beat the Tampa bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football 30-27, despite Buccaneers QB Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for over 400 yards for the third straight game. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger helped pushed the team to victory going 30-38 for 353 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception.
Shut out to the Denver Broncos, who got their first loss of the season Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. After taking a 14-7 lead, the Ravens scored 20 straight points, beginning in the 2nd quarter, to cap off a 27-14 win.
Shout out to Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen, who leaped into his first win Sunday, against the Minnesota Vikings. While on a scramble, Allen thought it would be a good idea to jump over Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr for some extra yardage. Allen finished the game uninjured, as well as with 196 yards and a touchdown.
Shut out to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who got rocked in Detroit by his former defensive coordinator. The Patriots lost to the Detroit Lions, who were led by former New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. It was a frustrating game for Brady who was held to 133 yards passing and the offense only having the ball for less than 21 minutes.
Shout out to Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas and his impromptu job interview against the Dallas Cowboys. Sunday, Thomas helped his team beat the Cowboys with a pettiest of performances, recording 6 tackles, 2 interceptions and some seemingly pleasantries with a few of his “future teammates”. Thomas is in the midst of contract negotiations with the Seahawks but numerous reports have surfaced of the Dallas being one of the frontrunners to get him via trade. Trade deadline is still a few weeks away but not a bad way to get the
Shut out to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott who was sacked 5 times against the Seahawks, throwing for only 168 yards, 2interceptions and a touchdown. A lot of people have been harping on him throwing under 200 yards, which has been in the past 5 games. It’s only right they do, since there is so much of the rules in favor of the quarterback, but there are also a lot of struggles with that offense that do not necessarily fall on him.
Week 4 will have a lot of early game blockbusters so you can sneak in a nap for the afternoon. On Thursday, the Minnesota Vikings will visit the Los Angeles Rams but both teams could be missing key pieces to their defense. Rams cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters were both injured Sunday and might be missing for several weeks. The Vikings will be without defensive end Everson Griffen, as he has been barred from team facilities to seek mental health treatment, in the wake of an incident at a Minnesota hotel Saturday. The Kansas City Chiefs and their start QB, Patrick Mahomes will be going to Denver on Monday night to try and heave a couple of more touchdowns over the Broncos. It could be the first real test for Mahomes, who has been destroying secondaries for 3 weeks, but now will be set in the sights of Broncos linebacker Von Miller. But until then…I’ll holla.
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