Dov Kleiman is a special guest columnist for Pro Football Network. In this article, Dov discusses NFL topics including New Orleans’ keys to winning with their star quarterback out, Antonio Brown’s social media interactions, NFL referees, New England’s defenses’ impact in past seasons when it came to Super Bowls, and Jacoby Brissett winning in Indy.
The Kamara Factor
The Saints walked into CenturyLink Field this past Sunday without their eventual NFL Hall of Fame QB, facing the possibility of a losing record after three weeks in the 2019 season, and the potential realization they may have invested too much in their backup QB Teddy Bridgewater. They left Sunday with a win.
The Saints traded a third-round pick to the Jets in 2018 for Bridgewater because they knew Drew Brees, age 40, is nearing the end of his career. They wanted a plan prepared for when Brees walks away from the game. That was the right decision. The question, however, remained if they made that decision on the right player.
Bridgewater failed as a starter with the Vikings largely because of injuries but also because he simply did not show that he was good enough after playing 29 out of 32 games in his first two seasons. The Saints made him the highest paid backup in the league this past offseason with a fully guaranteed, $7.25 million contract. However, it was not based on anything he has shown on the field. In his lone start for them in 2018, Bridgewater lost 33-14 to the Panthers and only completed 14 of 22 passes for 118 yards [5.4 per attempt], a touchdown and an interception to go with his 73.7 QB Rating.
On Sunday, the Saints’ faith in Bridgewater finally paid off. He walked onto the Seahawks’ home field and was unafraid of the extremely hostile stadium as he passed for 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions and finished with 112.7 QB Rating in a 33-27 win.
Bridgewater was able to walk into CenturyLink Field confidently because he knew he wasn’t walking alone. He had a lion with him in the name of Alvin Kamara, the YAC king of NFL RBs.
Kamara finished the game with 161 total yards and 2 touchdowns. In a game where Bridgewater only threw for 177 yards, the biggest factor was what Kamara did after the catch. Kamara had 104 yards AFTER the catch on Sunday, which was the most in the league among RBs.
Together the two will probably be able to keep the Saints afloat until Brees returns.
Antonio Brown Idle Time
The 2019 season journey for former NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown has been well documented. Now that the ex-Steelers/Raiders/Patriots/ [Bills?] WR is out of the league, he has even more time to cause self-harm to what is left of what was once considered to be a hall of fame legacy.
Brown is now picking fights with NFL players who are employed in the league via social media. It started with Rams All-Pro safety Eric Weddle on Thursday. The two played each other several times when Weddle was on the Ravens, and Brown was on the Steelers. Brown often did what he does and got the best of Weddle in those matchups.
Bro I don’t even know you don’t call me AB that’s my NFL name dummy ! I’m not on your team never been shut your mouth Jabroni https://t.co/d729eTVleh
— AB (@AB84) September 26, 2019
Brown punched out several tweets towards Weddle who took the high road at the end [even though it was Weddle who made the first comments and Antonio Brown aggressively responded]. One of the many tweets Brown delivered on Friday was even directed towards me while covering the story.
U peep ? https://t.co/lww5Sm0Ffx
— AB (@AB84) September 26, 2019
It didn’t end there. Browns QB Baker Mayfield took to Instagram on Friday to take shots at Brown, and of course Brown responded.
Brown’s response to Mayfield:
Should of never been drafted before Lamar Jackson what a big scam https://t.co/4Egf0Z05G2
— AB (@AB84) September 28, 2019
In the end, these Twitter fights are not making Brown [or Baker] look any good. They’ll also keep teams away from Brown because they can see he has little to no self-control. You add the sexual assault allegations and Brown’s age , and perhaps him catching a touchdown from Tom Brady in Week 2 against the Dolphins is the last we’ve seen of him on an NFL football field.
NFL and the NFLRA reach a seven-year collective bargaining agreement
This is very much a case of should we be or shouldn’t we be happy. Every fan base is mad at the refs; actually, every fan base of every sport is mad at the refs. Refs making mistakes is part of every single sports game. So hearing the NFL and the NFLRA reached an agreement on a seven-year deal isn’t much of a reason for celebration. But I have two words for you “Fail-Mary” – look it up if you don’t remember. It happened by the hands of the replacement refs during the 2012 NFLRA strike. Yeah, just remember, things can always get worse.
The Patriots’ GOAT Defense
The Patriots have the best QB in NFL history playing offense for them. Tom Brady has made it to nine Super Bowls, winning six times, while also earning seven total MVPs [three regular season, four Super Bowl], every single postseason passing record and tops the all-time wins list. He is unquestionably the best to have ever done it.
However, many people will tell you that Brady wasn’t the focal point of the team early in his career. The Patriots won three Super Bowls in the first four years of Brady starting [2001, 2003-2004] and their defense was the highlight during those years even though Brady led the league in touchdowns in his first full year starting .
After the 2004 season, however, many veteran defensive players either left in free-agency, retired, or suffered injuries and from 2005 on, it has been Brady’s team. He led the league in passing in 2005 and won his first MVP with 50 TDs – 8 INTs in the perfect regular season in 2007. However, this year, the defense is making a comeback.
The Patriots’ defense has yet to allow a single touchdown in three games as well as a Belichick era record low in yards. The Patriots this season is what the 2000 Ravens could’ve been if they had the GOAT at QB instead of Tony Banks and Trent Dilfer [the 2000 Ravens went five consecutive games without scoring a touchdown]. Watch out NFL.
Jacoby to the Rescue
Colts fans booed Andrew Luck when he suddenly announced his retirement during the preseason. A lot of those fans regret their decision now, and a lot of those fans were only scared of what will happen to their beloved franchise. Step in Jacoby Brissett, a former third-round pick by the Patriots, who was traded after his rookie season to the Colts for former first-round pick WR Phillip Dorsett.
Brissett started for the Colts in 2017 when Luck was surprisingly injured for the entire season. Brissett didn’t perform well on a bad team that he had no time to get to know, but this season is much different. Brissett has the Colts 2-1 and was a better Adam Vinatieri kicking day away from going 3-0. He started the last game against the Falcons 16 of 16 passing for 178 yards and a touchdown.
Brissett now has 7 touchdowns, 1 interception, 646 yards, and 112.0 QB Rating in 2019 and the Colts future is bright.