Black Quarterback: The Moving Forward Episode
By Brandon Simmons
What were the Saints going to be with Dez?
The Dez Bryant era in New Orleans has came and has not went away; but it is in stall mode. Last week, the Saints signed the free agent wide receiver for the rest of the season, but on his first day of practice, he tore his achilles and is now out for the season. Bryant was signed after wide receiver Ted Ginn was placed on injured reserve, but the truth remains to be asked: would they actually need him?
When it comes to the Saints, do not have any pressing needs as far as offense goes. With running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, they have their ground needs covered, while wide receiver Michael Thomas is taking care of the air with Drew Brees at quarterback. You would think somebody can double cover Thomas by now but he is still chopping up defenses. Eventually, teams are going to be hip to the game and start forcing Brees to go to other targets, especially when the playoffs come around. As of right now, they’re not even attempting to put that in their gameplan with all the firepower that New Orleans offers. Sunday, the Saints beat the Cincinatti Bengals 51-17, without Bryant and without wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who they were expected to sign in wake of the Bryant injury.
Dez Bryant used to be the guy chopping up defenses and might not be that level coming into his new season; but he’s still a solid option. The team has already seemed to embrace after only a couple of days. After a touchdown run early in the game, Ingram celebrated with Dez’s signature “throwing up the X”. He explained that Bryant was already being embraced by the team and they did not want him to feel out of place with his injury. That’s saying a lot about a guy who has only been with a team for a few days, but also saying a lot about the guy who has been shown a bad light in relationship to his former teammates. The Saints might have been well on their way to become even more dangerous with a healthy Dez Bryant. Hopefully he heals and is able to rebound with this team next year to show the league what he has left.
Rams and Chiefs just like the Warriors and Rockets?
The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams are on a collision course heading into their Monday Night Football game next week similar to how the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets collided last season; so somebody has to be the latter. The 2017 Warriors and Rockets were two teams that everyone put in the Western Conference Finals. The Chiefs and Rams play in different conferences, but a lot of people have them either in the Super Bowl or in the championship for their respected conference. However, one of these teams must take the role of Houston. To clarify, the Rockets were one of the highest scoring teams but not quite as good as the Warriors, particularly when it came to defense. It’s eerily similar how these two teams reflect that antidote.
Could it be a bit of a stretch with this comparison? The Warriors and Rockets were more than just the WCF contenders, whoever advanced to the Finals was expected to win the title. It can be argued that the Rams and Chiefs each have their own obstacles. In the NFC, Los Angeles might have to go through the Saints again, whom they lost to last week. They are currently ahead of New Orleans for homefield advantage, but has the softer schedule moving forward. The Chiefs are actually on top of the of the AFC, but could see a potential rematch with the New England Patriots, who gave them their only loss. While the Patriots are 2 games behind Kansas City, please believe Belichick has something up his sleeve to shut down just about any opposing QB that he comes across.
It seems almost perfect that the Rams and Chiefs have picked this moment to meet during the season. Kansas City’s defense has been improving somewhat, but they will be getting linebacker Justin Houston back in the lineup. The Rams have also added some defensive help with defensive end Dante Fowler, whom they traded for from Jacksonville. Both additions will help get after the quarterback, who leads each team’s passing attack. Just like the Warriors and Rockets last year, the offense will carry these teams and the winner will only come down to who can make their stop or who doesn’t miss their shots.
The Bell has rung on Le’Veon
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’ Veon Bell is officially no longer a Steeler. The pro bowl runner did not report to the team facility by the required deadline, which was November 13, at 4pm central time. That was the time set for him in which he had to sign his $14.5 million franchise tag contract, but Bell obviously has other plans.
This contract saga has been going on for the longest time; possibly before last offseason. Bell held out before the 2017 season because he did not receive an extension, but he was signed to the franchise tag and eventually came back. This summer, the Steelers offered him another franchise tender and he stuck to his guns by holding out. Throughout the season, there were reports on whether or not he would return to the team, including a targeted date for Week 8 that obviously never happened. So now things have arrived to where Bell will see his eventual exit.
There is a team that is ready to throw some money on Bell and give him the multiyear deal that he has been waiting on for a minute. He turns 26 next season, which is an age where you can still get some prime years out of him. One team that really jumps into mind for snagging him up is the Oakland Raiders. They have been doing a garage sale of sorts through trades to clear cap room for next season. Wherever he goes, he’s done signing franchise tags. He’s seen other players get rewarded such as Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack and Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley. On the flip side of that, he’s seen Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas be in a similar contract situation but suffer a season ending injury and place his value in jeopardy. Bell has pretty much seen both sides of the coin and he’s just doing what he can to put that coin in his pocket.
Shout out to Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel for his amazing hurdle just short of the end zone. Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, Elliot broke through into the secondary and hurdled over a defender. The defender’s helmet only grazed him a tad bit, but enough to cause the running back to stumble way short of the end zone.
Shut out to the referees s in the Thursday Night Football game between the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers. The refs missed some calls as well as made some bad ones. Many people criticized them for not calling roughing the passer on Steelers defensive end T.J. Watt after he led with his helmet to make a hit on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. However, after Panthers safety Eric Reid made incidental contact with his helmet on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, they penalized him but ejected him after a few Steelers players got in his face on the field.
As everybody is gearing up for Thanksgiving, let these games hype you up into that short work week. Of course there is the Rams and Chiefs game – which has been moved from Mexico to L.A. because of field issues – that will have huge playoff implications, specifically for the top 2 teams of each conference. Sunday night, the Chicago Bears will host the Minnesota Vikings and try to maintain first place in the NFC North. It’s weird when a division has Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins actually has Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in 1st place; but here we are and here are the Bears with a 4th ranked defense competing heavily for their playoff spot. But until then…I’ll holla.
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