Black Quarterback: The Defense is a QB’s Friend Episode
By Brandon Simmons
A Quarterback’s Best Friend
Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been enjoying some good success since starting his first 3 games but he has had some major help from his defense. How much help has he exactly gotten? In these 3 starts, the Bears defense have shut down opposing quarterbacks, allowing only one touchdown within this timeframe. Ironically, they have been making opposing QB’s look like their own.
It is understood that Trubisky is a rookie so the coaching staff is working through getting him comfortable in the system but some of these numbers are kind of awkward at best. Last week, against the Minnesota Vikings, he threw the ball only 16 times and had just 8 completions while this week it was 7 attempts for 4 completions. The 107 yards he added in with this stat line would normally be a problem, if it wasn’t for the defense scoring touchdowns off a fumble and an interception, courtesy of Bears free safety Eddie Jackson.
With rookie quarterbacks, coaches have very different approaches to how they handle them. Sometimes, particularly with a high draft pick, they might be a little cautious in order to prepare him to lead the team for long time in the future. Then there are those coaches who will put their QB to fire if they feel they are ready. In the case of the Bears, they probably resonate a little bit with the latter but also taking an on-the-job learning approach as Trubisky came in after the team went 1-3 and everything seemed hopeless. At 3-4, there’s no guarantee this team could make the playoffs, but it doesn’t seem to be any pressure on them to make any real noise either.
The way the Bears defense is playing right now, it will definitely benefit Trubisky’s learning experience. This unit will be able to keep games close and teach the young quarterback how to win, especially close games. The NFC North is a competitive division in which the teams draw blood with each other, no matter the record. The Chicago Bears defense is certainly the iron that will sharpen Trubisky’s skillset.
The Ravens Have been Clipped
Since starting the season 2-0, the Baltimore Ravens have been purified trash, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. They are near the bottom of the league in total yards and dead last in passing yards. For whatever reason, this team just cannot seem to get it together. They should have no worry on finding a problem because there is much blame to go around but it all starts woth the quarterback. Joe Flacco has thrown at least 2 interceptions per game in the past 4 games. In addition to that, he has only gone over the 200 yard passing mark just once, which was a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. His INT’s have stalled the offense form making an real plays or scores. In that Steelers game, Flacco threw for a TD but failed the 2 point conversion. What makes matter worse, is that they are struggling a little bit on the defensive side, as they are dead last in stopping the run. Hard to get anything going when opposing running backs are contributing to keeping them on the field forever.
The main takeaway from these games is that when Flacco isn’t on, the Ravens aren’t flying. In the game against the Jaguars, he was shut down for 3 quarters and held to 28 yards and 2 picks as Baltimore took their 44-7 beatdown. Flacco also had 2 picks in losses against the Steelers and last week’s matchup against the Bears. This could be an issue of the team not finding its energy from that error or him losing confidence in those moments. The good news is that their confidence should be showing back up soon. The Ravens will be facing the Dolphins, Packers and Titans in the next few weeks so they should have some sort of boost to eradicate their offensive woes.
The 2017 trade deadline is next Tuesday at 4pm eastern, and it might have its share of action that day. We have already seen running back Adrian Peterson get moved to the Arizona Cardinals last week but now there might be more headlines. Players such as Houston Texans left tackle Duane Brown, Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Martavius Bryant and Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcel Dereus could all be in different uniforms b the time that Week 9 hits.
Brown has been holding out with the Texans since the offseason but made his return on Monday; however will he be with the team for long? The Texans offensive line did struggle in the season opener but have played pretty good without him since then. Bryant has been reportedly echoing sentiments of wanting to be traded through various internet antics such as tweets and leaving comments on random articles. Deresu was reportedly set to be traded in the offseason until the Bills moved wide receiver Sammy Watkins and linebacker Ronald Darby.
Now that we’re moving into the beginning of the playoff chase, there are definitely some teams who could use these guys’s services right now. Brown could be sent to the Philadelphia Eagles after they lost their starting left tackle, Jason Peters, to injury. Bryant’s playmaking speed will certainly be welcomed as a apart of the Vikings, Bears, or any other team in need of a deep threat. Ironically, Dereus could be traded to the Texans in exchange for Brown so Houston can supply their damaged defensive line and pass rush.
The Eagles Have not Met Their Challenge Yet
The Philadelphia Eagles are currently the best team in the league but they have yet to meet their challenge: the bye week. Last season, they stormed to a 3-0 record behind rookie quarterback Carson Wentz and was considered early favorites to win the NFC East. But after their bye week, they crashed going 3-6 to finish the season. They are in sort of a similar predicament right now, except they have played a few more games this time around. The Eagles’ bye week will not happen until Week 10 but it is right before their big game with the Dallas Cowboys. Last season, after their bye week they lost the Cowboys, as well as contending teams such as the Lions, Falcons, Vikings, Seahawks, Giants and Packers. This season, it is a similar setup as they face the Cowboys twice, the Seahawks and the Raiders. The Eagles might struggle with Dallas because they are division rivals but they seem to be up to the challenege of actually getting the division crown and making a ton of noise in the postseason. Not only is Wentz a year older and wiser, but he is playing as better. The Eagles just might be flying higher than what many expected of them this season.
Wentz doges pileup – Speaking of Wentz, the 2nd year Eagles quarterback made a spectacular play in which it appears he is almost sacked but then breaks away.
Palmer can’t dodge injury – Shut out to more injuries as Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer broke his arm in Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Palmer will be out for the rest of the season.
This weekend, the first half of the 2017 season will be wrapping up with quite the bang. The Washignton Redksins and Dallas Cowboys will be continuing their rivalry as they fight for 2nd place in the NFC East and try to position themselves to go at the Eagles for the division title. If two 3-3 teams does not get your competitive juices going, then you should wait for the Pittsburgh Steelers to go to Detroit later that evening and take on a Lions team coming off their bye week that followed a 52-38 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Monday, the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs will be beating each other down if you’re still hungry for a rivalry matchup. Both teams have been in a pretty bad slump lately so this game should get either squad back on track. But until then…I’ll holla.
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