By: Barry Barnes, Founder
Week Four of the NFL was totally owned by the kicking specialists from the NFL Regional Combine.
Kicker Greg Zuerlein kept the Los Angeles Rams up right after nailing seven field goal attempts through the uprights, while Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus helped to keep the game out of the reach of the Oakland Raiders.
The Rams and Broncos are fortunate to have kicking specialists who make their teams stronger, especially the Los Angeles squad with the power duo of Zuerlein and three-time All-Pro punter Johnny Hekker.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (2-2) VS. LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-1)
The Rams will need their kicking duo against the Seahawks as the battle for field positioning will be paramount for either team to win. The Seahawks were struggling to put points on the board before Week Four against the Indianapolis Colts when they put up 48 points.
The Rams rank 28th in total defense, and the Seahawks may be loaded with confidence offensively as the 14th best in the league.
Hekker is averaging 54 yards per boot, second best in the NFL, and the Rams defense will need him to help pin the Seahawks at least half a football field away from the goal line to have a chance at slowing down quarterback Russell Wilson.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-2) VS. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (3-1)
For Week Five, there is another duo to watch in Jacksonville where Jaguars full back Tommy Bohanon and rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole are slowly, but efficiently, becoming solid components of the Black and Teal.
Bohanon is a hard-nosed veteran who played for the New York Jets prior to signing with the Jaguars this season. He has been a battle axe since entering the league as a seventh round pick by the Jets and his Pro Player Combine trial in Arizona.
Here’s that #Jaguars touchdown. Great play call. Great execution on the play action. Stunning.
— Big Cat Country (@BigCatCountry) September 10, 2017
This season, Bohanon has contributed to the Jags passing game, having caught four passes for 23 yards, including his first NFL touchdown in Week One against the Houston Texans.
Cole has been the talk of the Jaguars’ camp since he signed in the summer.
“He’s (Cole) been impressive since day one,” said Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns during training camp. “He’s been making plays. Not just normal plays, it’s been plays that have grabbed everyone’s eyes. He is doing a tremendous job right now.”
Cole has been targeted 15 times, but has hauled in four passes and is averaging nine yards per catch. He did have a shot in the endzone against the Baltimore Ravens in Week Three only to have rookie cornerback Marlon Humphrey wrestle the ball away.
Cole will have more shots in the endzone and will eventually become one of the surprises later in the 2017 campaign. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Minnesota-held RC attendee is looking to make his presence known even sooner.
“Keelan has done a tremendous job of making plays and he’s been consistent with it,” Hurns said. “That’s a guy that’s going to raise a lot of attention in this league.”
THE RC RUN THROUGH
- If New York Jets linebacker Julian Stanford had some advice for one of his NFL Regional Combine brothers this week, it would be for Cleveland Browns rookie linebacker B.J. Bello. Bello is doing well on special teams, where Stanford excelled for years. Bello has three tackles so far this season, and he will definitely earn more. The rookie from Illinois State will learn a lot from Stanford and his other teammates as he brings down some Brownies this weekend.
- Can Los Angeles Chargers linebackers Jatavis Brown and rookie Nigel Harris keep making plays to give their team a chance to win? No question about that, especially since the Chargers need just one win to build their confidence to move forward.
- Along with teammate defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who is always in attack mode, Cowboys defensive end Benson Mayowa had some success against the Green Bay Packers. Dallas will need to pin back Mayowa’s ears to get to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
- The last time Oakland played the Baltimore Ravens, Raiders wide receiver Seth Roberts had a solid outing and caught the game-winning touchdown. The Ravens may want to take that into account this time around.
- Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen is leading his team in receptions with 24. The Vikings will need him to continue his leadership against the Chicago Bears.
Welcome to the second quarter of the season!