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An Interesting Thing for Everyone: South

Hello!  The Southeastern United States has football teams.  Now and then, they are discussed on the world wide web.  This An Interesting Thing for Everyone is just such a moment.

Atlanta Falcons

When the Falcons drafted Calvin Ridley, a 6-1″, 190 pound receiver out of Alabama, with their 26th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, reviews were mixed.  Not many doubted his talent, as Ridley was initially thought to have all the makings of a top-ten pick, and was tabbed as an “instant starter” by NFL.com.  He typically was compared with Amari Cooper, not only because of their similar build and play at the receiver position, but because they followed similar paths through college football.

However, while draft grades for the Falcons were generally high, and many touted the choice of Ridley, others called it an instance of the “rich getting richer,” and wondered why the Falcons would draft a position that seemingly wasn’t of need.  While a loss to the Saints in a high-scoring game does little to dispel those criticisms, one wonders if the Falcons would have been in the game without Ridley’s contributions.  The rookie had seven catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns.  His four touchdowns on the season easily lead the team, and help make up for the fact that Julio Jones has zero.  And never has many.  He’s bad at it.  Its more than a trend at this point.  Julio cannot catch touchdowns.  He is the anti-Cris Carter.  The Ridley pick was brilliant.

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers are 2-1, and head into their early bye week on a high note.  Quarterback Cam Newton has played well through three games, and they figure to be in the playoff picture come December as long as that remains true.  None of that is news, however.

What is news is the hot play of the Panthers’ cornerbacks.  Donte Jackson appears to be the third best rookie of the rookie class (behind Jaire Alexander, Packers, and Josh Jackson… oh look at that, also Packers).  Jackson (Donte) has three interceptions in three weeks, is second on the team with 19 tackles, and has forced a fumble.

James Bradberry and Captain Munnerlyn (slot) may not have such flashy numbers, but each has been solid through three weeks.   Pro Football Focus has Bradberry at CB 69, and a “good” ranking, while Munnerlyn is at CB 79, average.  Although Bradberry has not intercepted any passes he does have three passes defensed in three weeks.  If they continue their strong play and Kuechly does not enter the Twighlight Zone, the defense should be solid all year.

New Orleans Saints

In a way one hates to heap even more praise on Drew Brees, especially on such a high-profile website as fiveyardslant.com.  But this week, the Saints savior and Quarterback deserves all the recognition he can get.  Not only did Brees lift the Saints over the Falcons with an overtime touchdown last week (all while throwing for three other touchdowns and nearly 400 yards), he also obtained a new NFL record.  Specifically, Brees broke Brett Favre’s record for career completions, nabbing number 6,301 in the second quarter.  He found none other than new SuperStud Michael Thomas, a favorite target for good reason.

Brees now holds the following records and other notable achievments, per Wikipedia:

[T]he most consecutive 4,000 yard passing seasons (12), most 300+ yard passing games in a season (13), most consecutive games with 300+ yards passing (9, accomplished twice), most completions in a season (471) and the record for most consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass (54), surpassing Johnny Unitas‘ record of 47 straight games with a touchdown pass, a record that stood for 52 years.

Since joining the Saints, he has led all NFL quarterbacks in: total passing yards seven times (five of those over 5,000 yards). Brees is 3rd in touchdown passes, career passing yards & pass attempts[.]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The death of a “man”: