Good morning, folks! Welcome to the Water Cooler Sports’ Black, Blue and Ornery, your source for NFC North News on this Wednesday, September 11th, 2013.
When I think about other things that happened twelve years previous, it seems like it was so long ago. The attack on the World Trade Center, however, still feels like it was yesterday.
I’m nowhere near a competent enough writer to cover it in the way it deserves, so I’ll leave that for other authors today. What I’d like to do, though, instead of fun facts is share with you what I do every year when the anniversary of that horrendous day rolls around. After the initial shock, the attacks made me take stock in the people and things in my life that I cared the most about. It certainly put things in a new light.
So, that’s what I try to do every September 11th. It’s not really that hard, and it usually works out well for me.
Just because they were born on what became a day with negative connotations, that’s no reason not to wish these fine celebrities a Happy Birthday: singer Harry Connick Jr., Houston Texans safety Ed Reed, and rapper Ludacris.
NFC North News
I’ve got links, in different area codes . . .
Call off the dogs — the search is over! Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has identified his best throw of Week 1! During his weekly radio show on ESPN1000 on Monday, he shared it with everyone: the pass he threw to wide receiver Brandon Marshall “down the sideline late in the game. We finally caught man [coverage]. We had been dialing up man plays, and hadn’t caught man; finally got it. It’s just gratifying whenever you can hit one.”
The Cutler-to-Marshall connection looked like it was as strong as usual, but I was very happy to see some others get in on the action too: tight end Martellus Bennett, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, even running back Matt Forte. There’s nothing wrong with taking what the defense is giving you. If they gave Marshall that type of coverage on every play, Jay can throw it to Marshall every time. The problem comes in when Cutler ignores triple coverage.
ESPN Chicago also shared their “Stock Watch” to help us identify the Chicago Bears players that they consider “Rising” or “Falling” based on their Week 1 performances. The Risers were quarterback Jay Cutler, defensive tackle Stephen Paea and guards Matt Slauson and Kyle Long. The fallers had a few names Bears fans aren’t accustomed to seeing: defensive end Julius Peppers, defensive tackle Henry Melton, and safety Major Wright.
We’ll see if the Risers can keep up the good work and the Fallers can get back on track this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw his body in the fray to stave off a pick six by San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid.
Green Bay Packers
In a Journal Sentinel article that seemed to be mainly about the fact that Ryan Braun hasn’t called to apologize to Aaron Rodgers for lying to him, Rodgers discusses something that I found interested about a play in last Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.
On the play, Rodgers threw a pass to tight end Jermichael Finley, who apparently thought they were playing hot potato instead of football. He lost control of the ball and into landed in the hands of San Francisco safety Eric Reid for Reid’s first career interception. Reid would later be ruled down by contact, but initially he was on his way to a pick-six before Rodgers threw his body in the way and tackled him.
Rodgers explained his reasoning:
In my defense I would just say two things.
One, it’s tough to not be competitive when you are a strong competitor. I hate throwing interceptions. And a pick six is unacceptable. One in my career. I have made a few tackles inside the 10. Those are not what I want to do. But I would do anything not to give up a pick six because that is directly giving the other team crazy momentum.
Second, if you watch me on the play, I started walking the first two steps. That wasn’t sulking or lazy. That was I saw him (Reid) get touched down. I waited for the whistle. As he started running, I thought to myself you need to be in position. About two steps into that thinking I realized I was going to be the last line of defense. So I took an angle to meet him at the proper point. . . . I just tried to throw my body into him. It wasn’t pretty. Somehow my legs got tangled with his and he came down.
I understand, I guess, but that’s the same way the Chicago Bears lost Jay Cutler a few years back and giving up a pick-six is way better than losing your starter. Luckily for the Packers, neither happened.
If you saw the play on which it looked like linebacker Nick Perry was lined up as if to cover 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin, you probably wanted to fire defensive coordinator Dom Capers! Well, that wasn’t really his assignment, but ESPN Wisconsin did call him out for an unfortunate mistake on that play that led to a huge gain.
A trainer resets the dislocated thumb of Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush during Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Lions.
Not like he can’t afford it, but Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh may be getting a pretty hefty fine from the league for his low “block” on Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan, according to Jay Glazer on Twitter. The FOX Sports analyst claims the league is “considering a whopping $100,000 fine.”
I have two responses to this. First, that is a lot of money, but Suh is a multimillionaire. Honestly, I don’t think he’ll ever learn, but it’d probably have a lot more impact if his repeated dirty play cost him games instead of trivial amounts of money. Second, he’s supposedly a captain now. What kind of team makes this guy their captain? I guess when your head coach states that he doesn’t care about penalties that occur during play because they just mean his team is playing hard, that pretty much explains it.
Suh, of course, maintains that he did nothing wrong and his play was legal and warranted. Well, he could have horribly impacted (possibly ended) the career of a pretty talented center who was obviously out of the play and he cost his teammate a touchdown. Nope, nothing wrong with that.
UPDATE: Glazer was right and Suh was indeed fined $100,000.
Mlive.com’s Justin Peterson took a second look at the Detroit Lions game against the Minnesota Vikings to see just how it was they “bottled up” star running back Adrian Peterson.
Football’s a rough game, as running back Reggie Bush knows after leaving Sunday’s matchup suffering from a dislocated thumb and injuries to his hip and groin. The Detroit Free Press note that these maladies aren’t going to cause head coach Jim Schwartz to limit Bush’s workload.
Even when explaining something everyone assumes, Schwartz comes off sounding like a jerk, though: “That’s life in the big city. You’re a running back in the NFL, there’s going to be some Mondays where you’re not going to be feeling great. Feel a little bit better when you get the win and when you make the plays that he made. That’s what we’re looking for from him and not anything else.”
Actress Taraji Henson celebrates her 43rd birthday today.
Expect Bush to be fine when the offense faces off against a strong Arizona Cardinals unit.
It’s pretty obvious that the Minnesota Vikings live and die by the performance of running back Adrian Peterson. Most opposing defenses attempt to “stack the box” by leaving eight or more defenders close to the line of scrimmage to try to contain him. That should mean, theoretically, that the going would be much smoother for quarterback Christian Ponder. Unfortunately, 1500ESPN reports that this wasn’t actually the case on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
Author Kevin Seifert points out that the Lions sold out to stop the run on about 36 percent of their defensive snaps. In that time, Ponder “threw two interceptions” and “posted a 0.4 QBR.” 0.4! I’m pretty sure that girl from Iowa blew higher than that on her breathalizer! For comparison, the rest of the league’s quarterbacks “combined for five touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 51.1 QBR” when their opponents put eight men in the box.
I’m not trying to blame the Vikings loss on Ponder, but this sort of thing makes it tough to understand why the team is so committed to him as their starter.