Connect with us

If hurdling football players in full pads were an Olympic sporting event, Todd Gurley might be going for gold in Pyeongchang right now. The Los Angeles Rams‘ star running back has turned heads numerous times for his ability to leap professional athletes in a single bound, especially while on his way to being named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2017.

It doesn’t surprise those who know him best.

Gurley was a star hurdler at Tarboro High School in North Carolina. He was so good, so natural, that his track coach, Andrew Harding, used to think he could someday medal in the Olympics. Instead, Gurley utilized those talents on the football field. He doesn’t ever plan to hurdle opponents. “It just happens,” Gurley said. It’s instinctive — and yes, it’s also dangerous.

Asked about his hurdling while on Fox Sports 1’s “Undisputed” show last month, Gurley smiled and said: “I don’t know why I do it, man. … One day, it’s probably going to end bad. But until then, I’m going to keep jumping. For the most part, it’s more DBs. Most DBs are not going to hit a running back high, especially if they’re going a hundred miles per hour fast at them. It’s kind of just a reaction, and for the most part, it’s been working.”

Has it ever.

Below, we ranked five of Gurley’s hurdles from the 2017 season and assigned them a judge’s score. (Clips of the plays are linked to the “outcome” section.)

Hurdle No. 5

Situation: Second-and-11, ball at the Rams’ 19-yard line with 9 minutes, 9 seconds left in the fourth quarter of Week 14, leading 35-34.

Human hurdle: Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins.

Outcome: Jared Goff spins out of a sack and dumps it off to Gurley as he streaks across the field. Gurley then leaps over Jenkins as he crouches to make the tackle and picks up 5 or so extra yards for a total gain of 9. Two plays later, however, Goff coughs up a fumble for the key turnover in an eventual loss.

Score: 7.6. Gurley cleared Jenkins, but he didn’t have to jump as high to do so. He also changed his landing foot midair, which caused him to slip when he hit the turf. Gurley gets extra points for having to reach across his body to make the catch moments before hurdling a defender, but this was his least-impressive leap of the season — and that’s saying something.

Hurdle No. 4

Situation: First-and-10, ball at the opponent’s 47-yard line with 9:23 left in the third quarter of Week 4, trailing 24-16.

Human hurdle: Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath.

Outcome: Gurley darts through a hole to his left, picks up a first down, then is confronted by Heath, who barely manages to bring Gurley down on his leaping attempt. Gurley picks up about 3 extra yards with his jump and 17 total yards on the play, getting deep into Cowboys territory to eventually set up a field goal.

Score: 8.1. Gurley didn’t stick the landing on this one. Heath’s head got just enough of Gurley’s groin to interrupt what would’ve been a superb hurdle. Had he not, Gurley might have gained an extra 30 yards for a touchdown. He still would’ve had to outrun linebacker Jaylon Smith, who was creeping up from behind and ultimately helped secure the tackle. But Heath was acting as the last line of defense.

Hurdle No. 3

Situation: Second-and-10, ball at the Rams’ 32-yard line with 7:09 left in the second quarter of Week 2, trailing 13-7.

Human hurdle: Washington Redskins cornerback Kendall Fuller.

Outcome: Gurley could’ve been stopped at the line of scrimmage, but his leap instead turned this into an 8-yard catch and run. That play was negated, however, because of a holding call on another Redskins cornerback, Josh Norman, prompting an automatic first down that helped set up a field goal in an eventual loss.

Score: 8.9. Gurley cleanly cleared the defender, then stuck the landing so well that he was able to immediately whip around the corner to get past another defender in linebacker Mason Foster. That’s huge. But the degree of difficulty wasn’t as high because Fuller was coming low and at an angle.

Hurdle No. 2

Situation: First-and-10, ball at the opponent’s 23-yard line with 10:41 left in the second quarter of Week 16, leading 6-3.

Human hurdle: Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard.

Outcome: Gurley runs a drag, makes about a 3-yard catch, runs toward the left sideline, then hurdles Byard and picks up a first down on an eventual 16-yard gain. It extended an eventual 16-play drive that absorbed more than eight minutes. New kicker Sam Ficken couldn’t finish off the drive, missing a field goal. But the Rams won the game and thus clinched a division title.

Score: 9.2. There was a lot of traffic on this jump, but a closer look makes you really appreciate what Gurley did. Immediately after he regained his momentum after catching a throw that was behind him, he cleared Byard, then, as he was coming down, used his right leg to propel himself off the body of linebacker Wesley Woodyard to pick up even more yardage. All with very little room to work with.

Hurdle No. 1

Situation: First-and-10, ball at the opponent’s 18-yard line with 8:53 left in the third quarter of Week 2, trailing 20-10.

Human hurdle: Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland.

Outcome: Gurley turned what would’ve been a modest 8-yard gain into an 18-yard touchdown off a screen pass. After hurdling Breeland, he burst toward the end zone and stretched out his left arm just far enough to cross the plane before Deshazor Everett could push him out of bounds.

Score: 9.9. In the annals of football hurdling, this one should stand as the model. Breeland was barely even crouching, probably because he saw what Gurley did to his poor teammate in the prior quarter of this game. But Gurley still cleared him cleanly with a jump that must have taken him about six feet off the ground. That it led directly to a touchdown because of another impossibly athletic play takes it to another level.

Source link

NFL

Why Robert Saleh will be a re-Pete (Carroll), not a repeat, for New York Jets – New York Jets Blog

Published

on

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets‘ decision to make Robert Saleh their head coach was predictable in that it followed a popular formula: He’s completely different in style and substance than the guy they just booted out of the building.

In other words, he’s the anti-Adam Gase.

That’s how it works in the NFL. If a team fails with one kind of coach, it usually goes in the opposite direction for his replacement — a hiring pendulum, so to speak. In this case, it works. It’s the right move.

The former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator is a passionate, energetic coach who exudes positivity. He’s a lot like one of his mentors, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who, ironically, was run off by the Jets 26 years ago because his style was deemed too player-friendly.

For Pete’s sake, the feel-good vibe is back with the Jets. And they need it. Man, do they need it. After five straight losing seasons, including a 2-14 stinker under Gase, they need a coach whose glass is half full.

A coach who can galvanize the entire locker room, not just one side.

A coach who can motivate and inspire.

A coach who can connect with the fans.

None of which Gase did.

Saleh was a successful coordinator in his four-year run with the 49ers, highlighted by the NFC championship in 2019. The 49ers fell to 6-10 this season, but it might have been Saleh’s best coaching job. His unit was decimated by injuries, but the defense managed to finish fifth in total yards. He runs the Carroll scheme, meaning a 4-3 base front with a lot of Cover 3 zone.

MORE: ‘Jets got a great one’ in Robert Saleh: Richard Sherman, Quinnen Williams, others react

The Jets need a face-lift on defense, but that’s not Saleh’s primary job. No, his assignment is to bring hope back to One Jets Drive, home of the NFL’s longest playoff drought (10 years). Saleh was an assistant linebackers coach for the Houston Texans the last time the Jets made the postseason. From there, he served a three-year apprenticeship as a quality-control coach in Seattle, where he rubbed elbows with the celebrated “Legion of Boom” defense that won the Super Bowl after the 2013 season.

Now it’s on Saleh to change the culture, to bring some of that Seattle swagger to the moribund Jets, who have a leadership void. This is a tough charge for any coach, let alone one with no head-coaching experience. That he has no previous working relationship with general manager Joe Douglas also adds to the risk, but there’s risk in every hire.

play

1:36

Rich Cimini breaks down the Jets reaching agreement with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to be their new head coach, and why he fits what the organization is looking for.

Saleh and Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith were the Jets’ top two candidates; they also were coveted by just about every team looking for a coach. Smith would have been intriguing because of the Titans’ rise as an offensive power over the past two seasons, not to mention the rebirth of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. In the end, the Jets opted for Saleh because of his leadership and communication skills.

His first order of business is to hire an offensive coordinator, and according to ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter’s sources, Saleh is expected to name 49ers passing-game coordinator Mike LaFleur to that role. LaFleur is the brother of Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur, who was the best man in Saleh’s wedding. The families are close. Presumably, they would run the Kyle Shanahan system, which is quarterback-friendly — run-heavy, lots of motion and a moving pocket. It fits Sam Darnold‘s skill set; he actually played in a Shanahan-style scheme as a rookie.

Saleh will have significant input in the Jets’ quarterback decision. Does he want to ride with Darnold, who struggled in 2020, or will he endorse a new quarterback via the 2021 NFL draft? Before facing the Jets in Week 2, Saleh said Darnold “is getting a lot better. … He’s a very talented quarterback.” Then his 49ers’ defense, crippled by injuries that day, went out and held Darnold to 179 passing yards and a meaningless late touchdown pass in a 31-13 win.

Make no mistake, Saleh inherits a bad roster. He will rely on Douglas to fix that; his job as head coach is to change the attitude in the building, to make football fun again. The Jets have been laughed at for too long. It’s time for them to enjoy a few yuks.

Source link

Continue Reading

NFL

Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson wants to give input on offensive coordinator search

Published

on

SEATTLE — Russell Wilson didn’t want the Seattle Seahawks to move on from Brian Schottenheimer as their offensive coordinator.

He does want some say in their next one.

Wilson made the latter point known to coach Pete Carroll and to reporters on a video conference Thursday.

“I think it’s vital, it’s critical, super significant obviously that I’m a part of that process,” Wilson said. “Coach and I have definitely been talking about that, [general manager John Schneider] to as well. We’ve had some … great dialogue about the thought process of who we want, the leader … the innovator, all that kind of different stuff that you want. I think that’s the super critical thing, obviously at this point in my career because you spend every day with that person … As many hours as me and Schotty spent together, I’m going to miss the guy because we spent so much time together and worked so hard.

“The next person, whoever that is, it’s really critical that we’re on the same page at all times and always talking and vibing and really, really on the same page.”

The Seahawks announced Tuesday that Schottenheimer was out after three seasons, citing philosophical differences. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Carroll and Schottenheimer met Monday evening and mutually decided separating was in the best interest of both parties.

“If you’re asking me if I was in favor of it, no,” Wilson said, choosing his words carefully. “It wasn’t my decision to change [from] Schotty. But I think that Coach Carroll made that decision. I trust his decision.”

Schottenheimer’s departure came after the end of an odd season in which the Seahawks scored the most points in franchise history but regressed heavily over the second half of the season. Their struggles continued last weekend in their wild-card loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Wilson led the NFL in touchdown passes with 28 over the first nine weeks of the season while Seattle led the league in scoring at 34 points per game over that stretch. But Wilson threw just 12 touchdown passes over the final eight weeks of the regular season while Seattle’s scoring dropped to 22.6 points per game.

Wilson lauded Schottenheimer as a coach, leader and friend, saying he became close with Schottenheimer’s family.

“I think that he’s going to be an amazing coach for somebody else, for some other team here so hopefully,” Wilson said. “I think he’s going to be a head coach. I think he has that type of leadership ability. Unfortunately for us, I think that in coach’s eyes, it was kind of time to see if we could make a change. We were the best offense in football for the first middle part of the season. He was a major part of that.”

If Wilson has a specific name in mind that he’s hoping the Seahawks hire, he didn’t offer many clues. When asked what he’s looking for in his next OC, Wilson mentioned leadership, passion for football, teaching skills and an ability to find the strengths of all 11 players.

Source link

Continue Reading

NFL

Why Jets’ new coach Robert Saleh will be a re-Pete (Carroll), not a repeat – New York Jets Blog

Published

on

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets‘ decision to make Robert Saleh their head coach was predictable in that it followed a popular formula: He’s completely different in style and substance than the guy they just booted out of the building.

In other words, he’s the anti-Adam Gase.

That’s how it works in the NFL. If a team fails with one kind of coach, it usually goes in the opposite direction for his replacement — a hiring pendulum, so to speak. In this case, it works. It’s the right move.

The former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator is a passionate, energetic coach who exudes positivity. He’s a lot like one of his mentors, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who, ironically, was run off by the Jets 26 years ago because his style was deemed too player-friendly.

For Pete’s sake, the feel-good vibe is back with the Jets. And they need it. Man, do they need it. After five straight losing seasons, including a 2-14 stinker under Gase, they need a coach whose glass is half full.

A coach who can galvanize the entire locker room, not just one side.

A coach who can motivate and inspire.

A coach who can connect with the fans.

None of which Gase did.

Saleh was a successful coordinator in his four-year run with the 49ers, highlighted by the NFC championship in 2019. The 49ers fell to 6-10 this season, but it might have been Saleh’s best coaching job. His unit was decimated by injuries, but the defense managed to finish fifth in total yards. He runs the Carroll scheme, meaning a 4-3 base front with a lot of Cover 3 zone.

The Jets need a face-lift on defense, but that’s not Saleh’s primary job. No, his assignment is to bring hope back to One Jets Drive, home of the NFL’s longest playoff drought (10 years). Saleh was an assistant linebackers coach for the Houston Texans the last time the Jets made the postseason. From there, he served a three-year apprenticeship as a quality-control coach in Seattle, where he rubbed elbows with the celebrated “Legion of Boom” defense that won the Super Bowl after the 2013 season.

Now it’s on Saleh to change the culture, to bring some of that Seattle swagger to the moribund Jets, who have a leadership void. This is a tough charge for any coach, let alone one with no head-coaching experience. That he has no previous working relationship with general manager Joe Douglas also adds to the risk, but there’s risk in every hire.

Saleh and Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith were the Jets’ top two candidates; they also were coveted by just about every team looking for a coach. Smith would have been intriguing because of the Titans’ rise as an offensive power over the past two seasons, not to mention the rebirth of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. In the end, the Jets opted for Saleh because of his leadership and communication skills.

His first order of business is to hire an offensive coordinator, and according to ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter’s sources, Saleh is expected to name 49ers passing-game coordinator Mike LaFleur to that role. LaFleur is the brother of Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur, who was the best man in Saleh’s wedding. The families are close. Presumably, they would run the Kyle Shanahan system, which is quarterback-friendly — run-heavy, lots of motion and a moving pocket. It fits Sam Darnold‘s skill set; he actually played in a Shanahan-style scheme as a rookie.

Saleh will have significant input in the Jets’ quarterback decision. Does he want to ride with Darnold, who struggled in 2020, or will he endorse a new quarterback via the 2021 NFL draft? Before facing the Jets in Week 2, Saleh said Darnold “is getting a lot better. … He’s a very talented quarterback.” Then his 49ers’ defense, crippled by injuries that day, went out and held Darnold to 179 passing yards and a meaningless late touchdown pass in a 31-13 win.

Make no mistake, Saleh inherits a bad roster. He will rely on Douglas to fix that; his job as head coach is to change the attitude in the building, to make football fun again. The Jets have been laughed at for too long; it’s time for them to enjoy a few yuks.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending