Aaron Donald, Marshawn Lynch and other thoughts from the NFL Notebook
Aaron Donald for Rookie of the Year, keeping Lynch in Seattle and more from retired NFL defensive end Stephen White’s Notebook.
I know there will be a lot of debate over the Defensive Rookie of The Year award, but for me there is only one choice: Aaron Donald. I’ve already laid out my case for Donald as a Pro Bowler (he made it!) this year so I see no need to make the same case for the DROY seeing as how there isn’t another rookie on defense that I could imagine making the Pro Bowl this year just on the merits of their play.
At least not one that is still active.
There was one other guy who had strong a case for winning DROY as Donald, maybe an even stronger, case up until a few weeks ago and that was undrafted rookie free agent safety Tashaun Gipson of the Cleveland Browns.
You can’t hate on a kid leading the league in interceptions. You just can’t. And that’s exactly what Gipson was doing on the day the Browns decided to send him to IR this month. Unfortunately, he had already missed three games prior to this last weekend which, if my math is right, means he will have missed five games this season by the time it’s all said and done. That’s just too many games for people to still have him in consideration to win the award. I do wonder how the vote would have played out had he stayed healthy. Keep in mind Gipson started from day one, looked like a vet right off the bat and helped the Browns to one of their best records in recent history.
Still, I think the fact that he was undrafted might have weighed heavily against him. Some folks have been saying Khalil Mack was the DROY since the day he was drafted third overall, and it’s hard to overcome that kind of hype. Hell, Donald might not even be able to overcome that kind of hype, even though he was also a first-round pick. Not that Mack is all hype, the kid is legit. But if you watched him all year you know he got off to a slow start, and while he has come on strong the second half of the season, his production still isn’t close to the other two. I will say that I hope our memories aren’t so short that Gipson doesn’t get any recognition. His play in 11 games says he is legit. I imagine once he gets healthy next year he is going to go right back to balling out of control.
The only way to get to Dominic Raiola
How in the hell does Dominic Raiola make it through that whole game against the Bears after stomping on the back of Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson’s leg?! Watching this game and that play made me feel like Gunnery Seargant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket when he finds Gomer Pyle in the head after bed check holding an rifle. I wanted to ask every single guy on that Bears defense why weren’t they stomping Raiola’s guts out after every play.
Look, the league suspended Raiola for a game, cool story bro. There is no telling the kind of damage he could have done to Ferguson’s ankle, foot and or Achilles with that cowardly ass stomp. You want to talk about a defenseless player? It doesn’t get much more defenseless than playing off a block and while in the process of making a tackle having a guy purposely stomp on your ankle with some muthafuckin’ cleats. One game seems pretty damn light, in fact. But even if it weren’t, you are supposed to have your teammate’s back on this kinda shit so that it doesn’t happen again. Goodell can level all the fines he wants, but nothing will work better than a few guys beating the shit out of Raiola after every single play if he pull this type of shit again until the coaches or the referees kick them out of the game. This ain’t his first rodeo, and that damn sure was not an unintentional act.
I saw several fights this weekend that were started by much less than what Raiola did, so I’m still trying to understand how Bears defenders let him get away with it. Have some friggin’ pride next time. Defend your fallen comrade. One thing about it, next time it might be YOU Raiola is stomping on if cats continue to let him skate on this kinda crap. Enforce the damn code!
One thing for the NFL writers out there to ponder in my opinion is why does Raiola get to pull this kinda shit repeatedly without ever catching nearly the same kind of hell that as teammate Ndamukong Suh? If you come up with something, let me know.
– Ready for a steaming hot take? While everybody is trying to figure out where Jim Harbaugh might be coaching next year, a funny thought came to my mind: What if after Jon Gruden has been linked to every job in America over the last few years, he was really just waiting for the 49ers job to open up?
For a lot of reasons — the offense is what needs fixing, Gruden’s past history with the 49ers, defense is already set and no need to meddle at all, back on the West Coast — Gruden to the 49ers is the one job I actually believe could pull Gruden out of the Monday Night Football booth.
Or maybe I’m just stirring the pot.
Marshawn Lynch belongs in Seattle
Can somebody explain to me, slowly, why the Seahawks don’t want to keep Marshawn Lynch after this season?
If they thought for whatever reason he was going to slow down after winning a ring, it’s pretty fucking obvious by his play on the field this season that they were completely wrong. He is the engine for the whole team and gets everyone from the waterboys to the kickers crunk with the way he plays.
WITH A STOMACH VIRUS, the cat rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries last Sunday against the division rival Cardinals in a game the Seahawks had to win. On a day when he had reportedly been praying to the porcelain gods, the dude pulls off a run that actually rivals the #BeastQuake he set off a few years back at home against the Saints. And this is the guy they are trying to shove out the door?!
Hell, he is the very embodiment of everything a coach like Pete Carroll, or any good coach, would say he wants in a football player. So what gives?
I have marveled at a lot of the personnel moves the Seahawks have done right in the last five years or so to get their franchise set up as a perennial playoff contender. But this discarding Lynch stuff just has the feel of the front office trying to get a little too cute with its long-term plans. If Beast Mode isn’t back next year with the Seahawks, I’m predicting a major drop off for them, one that may take years to rebound from. Even if they could replace the yardage, they won’t soon replace the “attitude” that Lynch brings to that team.
That is something I hope they consider before reaching a final decision on what to do with him … for the sake of football fans everywhere who just love to watch the Seahawks these days because of how they play.