Flashback to the 2012 draft, as Mike Mayock pronounced a troubled prospect from Arizona State “non-draftable” due to various concerns about his play and extremely poor Combine results. Now compare that with today — Burfict, through seven weeks of play, leads the league in tackles with 74.
Now, to be fair to other defenders in the league, many have already had their bye week whereas the Bengals have not, so that stat may be a little inflated by having one more game, but it shouldn’t diminish the accomplishment. A player that analysts had already had thrown on the garbage heap before ever playing a snap in the pros is turning out to be more of a diamond in the rough.
More than, he’s turning into one of the league’s best defenders. If Burfict can continue to improve as both a player and a leader he may go down as the best undrafted defensive stars since fellow linebacker James Harrison entered the league.
The Cleveland defense, a unit that had a very strong start to the season, has been unmasked somewhat over the last two games giving up a combined 62 points and 623 yards to the Lions and Packers. Those are two prolific squads, ranking 7th and 2nd overall on offense, so it isn’t as bad as the numbers would indicate, and the ineffective Weeden-led offense hasn’t been doing the defense any favors over that two-game stretch. Yet, even with those caveats thrown in, defensive coordinator Ray Horton expects better, much better.
“I think this next four-week period for us, you’ll see kind of a different Cleveland Browns defense, and you’ll start seeing the names that everybody thought,” Horton said during a news conference. “But I like where we’re sitting at right now, and I think at Thanksgiving when we sit in here, you’ll say, ‘Wow, you were probably right in what you said back then about getting better.’ ”
Over the next four weeks, the Browns will face the 19th ranked Chiefs offense, the 21st ranked Ravens, the Bengals who currently sit at 12th but are trending upwards, and Steelers at 20th who also seem to be getting better.
Even with some of those squads on the rise, this will be one of the easier stretches of the season for the defense, who should look a lot better over the next month. If Jason Campbell can string together drives with any consistency, it still might yet be considered one of the elite defenses in the NFL.
Thar be sunken treasure at the bottom of the Chesapeake, me maties! Too bad it’s not “talk like a pirate” day, that was last month, but treasure seekers may want to detour to Maryland instead of seeking Spanish gold in the Caribbean.
One of the many diamond-encrusted Super Bowl XLVII rings has found its way to the murky depths of Middle River, which is an offshoot of the Bay. So, grab your scuba gear, wet-suit and underwater metal detector. Even though the ring is a size of a small moon, it will be covered by a layer of silt making it nearly impossible to find just by looking.
You’ll need to keep it on the down low however if you do find the ring as by law you are required to notify the owner, Toni Lekas, who is the Ravens’ receptionist (yes, even team’s receptionist got one).
William Gay found very little success as a Cardinal, so expectations weren’t too high for the cornerback when he rejoined the team this season, but whatever his shortcomings were in red and white they don’t seem to be showing up when he wears the gold and black.
Gay, who was part of a defensive secondary who ranked 5th worst against the pass a year ago, with many Arizona fans blaming him as a major reason as to why they couldn’t stop the pass, has been remarkably solid in his return and a major contributor to the Steelers 4th ranked pass defense.
In an effort to reward Gay’s solid return without demoting Cortez Allen they have been named co-starters on the Steelers most recent depth chart.