LATE HITS – Beasts, Jocks and the Unluckiest Man in the NFL

Marshawn’s return, JJ Watt’s impressive pain tolerance, an inevitable injury to the number one fantasy player and the unluckiest man in the NFL all feature in the first Late Hits of the 2017 season…

The NFL is back and is as wacky and wonderful as ever. Here are some storylines that grabbed my attention in week one…

“Just busted the bone through the skin, nothing bad” 

Full disclosure; I don’t like JJ Watt although I’m not entirely sure why as he seems like a stand up guy. It’s probably the same reason I don’t like his team-mate Brian Cushing. They come across like the big dumb jocks who always pick on the nerd in the movies. (See also Matthews, Clay).

I see JJ and I immediately think of the kid who gets crane kicked into the middle of next week by Danny Larusso at the end of the first Karate Kid movie, while Cushing is just one of the other goons from the dojo who got whupped by ‘Daniel san’ in an earlier round”

Watt is the ultimate Jock, in fact JJ may as well stand for Justa Jock, while ‘Cush’ is the annoying sidekick who is always trying to impress him. Cushing seems like the kind of guy who’d kick sand in someone’s face at the beach just on the off chance he might get an ‘attaboy’ from Watt.

I see JJ and I immediately think of the kid who gets crane kicked into the middle of next week by Danny Larusso at the end of the first Karate Kid movie, while Cushing is just one of the other goons from the dojo who got whupped by ‘Daniel san’ in an earlier round.

Seeing them in Hard Knocks a couple of years ago did little to change that perception. Cushing was exactly how I expected him to be and although Watt seemed fairly likeable, he always appeared to be showing off whenever there was a camera around in some forced attempt to come across as ‘fun loving’.

Nevertheless, he deserves a lot of praise for all that he’s done for the people of Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. That impressed me, but nowhere near as much as this quote after Sunday’s loss to the Jags did. “I messed up my finger a little bit, but other than that my body felt fine. Just busted the bone through the skin. Nothing bad.” 

Oh is that all it was? Just busted the bone through the skin a little bit? He’s dismissing that like I would a blister on my heel. Ok, that’s not true. I wouldn’t dismiss a blister, I’d complain and look for sympathy, and if my finger bone ever busted through the skin I’d dine out on that ‘war story’ for the rest of my life. So fair play, big man.

Cushing, meanwhile, is set to miss Thursday’s game with the Bengals with a concussion. Probably sustained by running head first into a locker, without his helmet, just to impress JJ with how hard nosed he is. And you just know he calls it a ‘conCUSHion’ and wears it like a badge of honour.

Interestingly, while JJ was struggling to shake off the rust against the Jaguars, his younger brother, TJ, was having himself a day on his NFL debut, recording two sacks and an INT for the Steelers. Being outshone by your kid bro has to be a jock’s worst nightmare.

I just can’t wait until CJ, DJ, OJ and BJ show up in the NFL.

Disclaimer: those names may not be accurate, I haven’t checked, but there has to be a good chance at least one of them is right.

Update: So I checked and there is another brother, who goes by the name Derek. Sorry, not buying it, his middle name has to be James or John…

Further update: There you go, Derek John Watt. So he is DJ, I knew it! Presumably he’s rebelled against it because he no doubt wants to be seen as his own man.

Beastmode is back, and he’s still running through MF’ers faces and flipping people off

I’m a big Marshawn Lynch fan so it was great to see him back on Sunday. It’d be nice to know what he thinks of being back, but there’s more chance of him giving up Skittles as there is of him ever talking to a reporter. Still, that’s one of the things I like most about him, he just doesn’t give a you know what about how he is perceived.

It’s a shame though, because ’Beastmode’ is a funny and engaging guy when he does open up. The NFL is a more interesting place with Lynch in it and even though I’m not a Raiders fan I feel like the league is better when the Raiders don’t suck, so if Lynch helps them continue their revival led by the exciting Derek Carr then I’m all for it.

Marshawn looked great and his first carry looked like he’d never been away. He was also caught on camera giving the double bird to a Titans linebacker. Welcome back, son, we’ve missed you.

I can’t ever think of Marshawn without instantly wanting to watch this video though. You’ve no doubt seen it before, but it’s worth another watch anyway. And if you haven’t seen it before, you can thank me later.

Kevin White might be the NFL’s unluckiest man

Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White looks like he’s done for the year, and perhaps even for good as you have to wonder just how patient the Bears are going to be with someone who is rarely on the field, and when he is generally may as well not be.

Poor old Kev must have murdered a black cat by smashing it over the head with a mirror while chasing it under a ladder. Seriously, has there ever been a more unlucky player than this kid?

The 7th overall pick in the 2015 draft missed his entire rookie season with a stress fracture of the shin. He worked hard to get back and played four games to start the next year before ending up back on season ending IR with an ankle sprain and fractured fibula.

This year, he got through training camp and pre-season (not that anyone noticed, so inconspicuous was he) only to fracture his collar bone in the Bears’ week one loss to the Falcons and head back to IR.

It’s terrible news for White and you’d need to have a heart colder than Lambeau Field in December not to feel sympathy for him. Without wanting to kick the man while he’s down though, the truth is that it really doesn’t make much difference to the Bears as White is just not very good. He had two catches for six yards on Sunday before getting hurt and he seems destined to be one of the biggest busts in Chicago sports history.

For perspective, former 3rd string QB Matt Barkley has caught more TD passes for the Bears than Kevin White.

David Johnson is hurt? Figures.

The countdown to David Johnson getting hurt began the moment I got the number one draft pick in both fantasy leagues I participate in. I hate picking first as it’s not an advantage when it’s a snake format draft. The difference between the player taken at 1 and the player who goes 5 or 6 isn’t huge, but if you pick first and your next pick comes after 22 more players have gone off the board, there’s a huge drop off.

I took Johnson in my first draft because 1) he’s great, and 2) I didn’t want to pick Le’Veon Bell in case he gets busted again. I reluctantly took the Steelers RB in my other league because of the sad inevitability that I’d jinxed Johnson.

The upshot of all this is that you should probably expect Bell to either get hurt or get discovered smoking a J in the bathroom before the Steelers play this week.


Dave Usher


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David Usher
Site Editor / Bears, Bulls & NFL Correspondant
Day job is writing about footy for 'the Liverpool Way' and ESPN FC. Love the Bears and Bulls too though, which is why I'm here.
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