The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Malik Zorrok’s Between The Numbers: Vontaze Burfict, Expectations For The Browns, J.J.Watt and More

Malik Zorrok’s Between The Numbers: Vontaze Burfict, Expectations For The Browns, J.J.Watt and More

NFL Between the Numbers

In this week’s edition of Between The Numbers, Vontaze Burfict was born in the wrong era of football, the Jets are historically bad and more!

Vontaze Burfict Just Does Not Get It

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was originally suspended the first five games of the 2017 regular season, due to a cheap shot on a defenseless player, but it was reduced to three games upon appeal.

Here’s a look at the hit:

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This play is eerily similar to one that Burfict landed on former New England Patriot, and current Green Bay Packer, tight end, Martellus Bennett during their regular season showdown last season.

The hit on Chiefs fullback, Anthony Sherman, is much worse. You can argue that with the Martellus Bennett cheap shot, Brady threw the ball over Bennett’s head to wideout Danny Amendola, but both of them are examples of what Burfict is looking to do on the football field.

He does not play with the safety of his fellow players in mind. He plays like a homing missile, just waiting for the next available cheap shot opportunity, and he will surely take it.

I said it after the hit that concussed Pittsburgh Steeler wideout Antonio Brown in the 2015 playoffs, Burfict needs to learn. And yet, he still hasn’t. The fact that the suspension was reduced upon appeal is disheartening.

If Burfict does not change his attitude towards the safety of players, in an era where discoveries about CTE in retired NFL players are worrisome for the health of the current players, hits like these need to be removed completely.

There was room for these types of hits back in the ’70s, 80’s and 90’s, but with new technology finding out what type of damage football concurs onto the brain, it is time for the sport to evolve, and the players to evolve with it.

DeShone Kizer Will Start For The Browns, And Here Is A Toast For His Success

If you are a fan of a team with a lot of talent, but none at the quarterback position, and yet, still believe your team can go far, I shall point to the Cleveland Browns.

Although the Cleveland Browns have rarely fielded a team with a lot of talent since 1999 (we will get to why that year is important), they had some good defenses and dynamic play makers within that span, and have not made the playoffs since.

They always lacked a quarterback though. Rookie quarterback, DeShone Kizer, will be the 27th quarterback to start for the historic franchise since 1999.

I think it is early to start him. I would have had Kessler, who is nothing spectacular, but he can provide something (I think) at the quarterback position and allow Kizer to watch some regular season football from the sidelines.

I like Kizer a lot. He is another one of those prototypical quarterbacks that can make all the throws, but he will struggle to transition to a pro-style offense. It’s a flaw in the college football system, as there are not many programs who help prepare quarterbacks for the NFL.

Kizer benefits from a terrific offensive line, at least on paper. Joe Thomas and Kevin Zeitler are at the top of their respective positions on the line, and add in Joel Bitonio and JC Tretter and you got yourself a line that can protect the passer and open up massive running lanes.

I still think it was a mistake allowing wideout Terrelle Pryor to leave for the nation’s capital, as he was truly dynamic as an intermediate/deep threat. Kizer could use a weapon like that to show off his incredible arm.

I have high hopes for the Cleveland Browns, and Kizer. Let’s see if my faith is rewarded or if they Brown it up.

Speaking Of Browning It Up…

This New York Jets team has to be one of the worst teams constructed in the past decade or two.

The offense is beyond putrid. I’ve always been a fan of quarterback Josh McCown, just for his pure effort and love of the game, but he is in no way a plausible answer at quarterback.

The weapons he has? Almost as bad. They salvaged it (a little), by trading for wideout Jermaine Kearse, but man they really have no one to throw it to. Most of the options are names you would expect a team to announce as part of their roster trim down to the 53-man roster and possible practice squad options.

The defense is not as bad, but it is still not good. I feel for Leonard Williams, who looks to be the next Geno Atkins/Gerald McCoy, and his talent is being wasted on the Jets.

I would be surprised if this team wins more than one game this year. This type of roster overhaul was overdue. The Jets had so many bad contracts on veterans that were leading them nowhere so it is good that they finally joined the NFL tanking party. Gotta start somewhere.

The Seattle Defense Is Scarier After Acquiring Sheldon Richardson, If That Is Even Possible

A defensive front that includes the likes of Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson, Jarran Reed, Cliff Avril, Frank Clark, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. That is scary, scary, scary.

I can not wait to watch this unit in action. Along with all the talent, it is the perfect situation for these guys. They love getting after the quarterback, playing aggressively and using their instincts.

Head coach, Pete Carroll, and defensive coordinator, Kris Richard, are the perfect coaches for this bunch. They will dial up different defensive looks and put this bunch in a position to succeed.

I question how quickly Sheldon Richardson can go from being a five technique in a 3-4 system to a three technique in the Seahawks aggressive 4-3 system though. If he can transition seamlessly, then watch out for this defense.

JJ Watt Shows What Being A Professional Athlete Can Do

People always ask me how I can love sports so much, and generally it is because of the product on the field. But what people like JJ Watt do for their community speaks many more words than his 20+ sack seasons do.

The city of Houston was destroyed by major floods, and instead of idly standing around, Watt decided to use the power of social media to raise some money in order to help the city he plays for.

He originally set the goal at $200,000, and he started it off by donating $100,000 of his own money. That goal was reached fairly quickly.

Watt then upped the ante, and raised the goal to $500,000. Again, it was reached quickly.

In about 24 hours, Watt raised $1 million for a relief fund to help the city of Houston.

By Monday morning, Watt has raised just under $19 million (!!!!!) for the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

It is truly refreshing to see in a league littered with players who are being suspended due to domestic violence, that a player with a platform like Watt uses his stardom to help a crisis. Feel free to donate and continue to help out the affected in Houston:

Quick Hitters

What a slick, slick move by Cincinnati Bengals punter, Kevin Huber. If you haven’t checked it out yet:

Video: Punter Kevin Huber's Tricky Behind-the-Back Move! | Bengals vs. Redskins (Preseason) | NFL

Punter Kevin Huber’s Tricky Behind-the-Back Move! | Bengals vs. Redskins (Preseason) | NFL

He ended up being tackled for a massive loss, no fault of his own, it was still awesome to watch.

If the name sounds familiar, it is because this happened to him before.

Punters are people too.

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