ernon Davis, Redskins tight end — Once among the elite tight

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ernon Davis, Redskins tight end — Once among the elite tight

Мнениеот elaine95 » Пон Окт 08, 2018 6:44 am

BEREA Tanner Pearson Jersey , Ohio (AP) — Months ago, Desmond Harrison was confident he’d replace Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas.

The Browns only realized it in the past few days.

An undrafted rookie with a checkered past, Harrison will open the season as Cleveland’s starting left tackle — a position held down by Thomas, a future Hall of Famer, for more than a decade — on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I’m replacing Joe, so I know how big it is,” Harrison said.

It’s a remarkable jump for Harrison, who last season was pile-driving players at Division II Georgia State after not playing for three years following his dismissal at Texas.

To Harrison, it’s just football on a larger stage.

“It’s a big leap,” Harrison said Friday after coach Hue Jackson announced yet another transformation to his offensive line. “Kind of more people at the game, stuff like that. So that’s probably like the only difference.”

Well, there’s also blocking Cam Heyward and the other Steelers, who led the NFL with 57 sacks a season.

But you gotta admire the rookie’s swagger.

Harrison’s ascension up the depth chart is the latest wrinkle up front for the Browns, who have been tinkering with the left side of their offensive line for weeks. The team recently slid left guard Joel Bitonio to tackle and plugged rookie Austin Corbett in at guard.

However, after four preseason games, Jackson and his coaching staff didn’t like the line’s makeup. Determined to put the “best five guys on the field,” the Browns decided to go with the 6-foot-6 Devan Dubnyk Jersey , 305-pound Harrison who looks like he was engineered in a laboratory for left tackles.

“He looks like a left tackle in this league,” Bitonio said.

Jackson said the 24-year-old Harrison has played like one.

“He is very talented,” Jackson said. “He has earned it. He competed. When you put all of the different variables out there of what we could have done or would have done, and you look at it and you watch the practice tape and the game, he is the best left tackle for us to play right now.

“Obviously, Joel is the best left guard. We feel like we are heading in the right direction by far. I agonized over this decision because it is a huge decision. At the same time, I have confidence one, in our coaches, and in the player. He has worked hard. He wants this opportunity. He has demonstrated that.”

Harrison took a unique, unorthodox path to the NFL.

A big-time high school recruit, Harrison committed to Auburn but didn’t have the grades and started at Contra Costa (Calif.) Community College. He played two seasons of JUCO ball before transferring to Texas, where he played in seven games in 2013. But after reportedly failing multiple drug tests, he was suspended several times and eventually left.

He didn’t play in 2015 and 2016, explaining he “was just getting myself right mentally.”

Harrison started nine games last season at West Georgia, compiling a dominant highlight tape that looks like excerpts pulled from the movie “Blindside.” He missed the Senior Bowl because of a sprained knee and failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

He admitted the drug test probably cost him being drafted, but the Browns signed him as a free agent in May.

From the moment he arrived at rookie mini-camp, Harrison said he knew he would take over for Thomas Quinton Dunbar Jersey , the 10-time Pro Bowler who retired in March following a remarkable career that included never missing a snap — 10,363 straight — until an injury ended his 2017 season.

How did Harrison know?

“Just how confident I am in myself,” he said.

Bitonio likes everything about Harrison.

“It’s obviously going to be a big jump Sunday when you’re playing in front of 60,000 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a vaunted defense, but I think he’s ready,” Bitonio said. “I think the coaches and upper management have made that decision and they trust him and they know he’s going to get better every rep that he’s out there to improve. He’s a confident, kid, though.

“I know he feels like he belongs out there.”

Anyone who pays attention to the NFL knows that Tom Brady is 41 as he heads into the season. He’s hardly the only geezer, in football terms, still on the field or hoping to be when the season kicks off next month.

Indeed, Brady isn’t even close to the oldest guy suiting up these days. His former teammate in New England, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, is 45.

There are plenty of players currently on rosters who are older than Rams coach Sean McVay, now 32. Hey, that’s in the midst of the prime competing years for most positions.

Here’s a look at six 30-somethings who could be impactful this season. We’re steering away from the kickers, who tend to age a lot more slowly than anyone else.

Drew Brees Nikita Kucherov Jersey , Saints quarterback — There are no signs of Brees slowing down at age 39. He’s in the perfect offense, which he knows so well he could probably run it from a rocking chair.

Helping mightily are skill position players such as Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram when he returns from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances, Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., and Benjamin Watson (37 himself).

Also aiding Brees: A defense can’t throw anything at him he hasn’t seen — again and again.

“I understand that I don’t have a whole lot of time left,” says Brees, who’ll be 40 in January and whose contract expires after the 2019 season. “You’ve got to work and have high expectations and sacrifice and do maybe even more now than I ever have.”

Andrew Whitworth, Rams left tackle — Whitworth was a stud for Cincinnati for 11 seasons, but the Bengals must have believed he was through in 2016 because they let him walk as a free agent. Now 36, he comes off an All-Pro first year in which the Rams were dominant on offense.

Despite all those years in the trenches, Whitworth looks as sharp and powerful as the day he came out of LSU in 2006. He has a shot at his first Super Bowl with a supremely talented roster around him.

Julius Peppers, Panthers defensive end — Like Brees, Peppers will someday wind up with a bust in Canton, Ohio. At 38, he’s no longer an every-down player, but he’s an every-day leader.

Peppers can provide ample force as a pass rusher if he’s mixed in efficiently http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/taco-charlton-jersey , something Carolina is quite good at with its D-line. That’s essential in the league’s best division, facing Brees and Matt Ryan twice a season.

Peppers was placed on the physically unable to perform list in July, but the Panthers don’t seem too concerned about his availability — or production — when the games count.

Terence Newman, Vikings cornerback — Now this is really impressive: a DB who will be 40 before the season kicks off, yet can handle the speed- and agility-based duties in an increasingly fast-paced game.

Newman enters his 16th pro season — he was the fifth overall selection by Dallas in 2003 — and this will be his fourth year in Minnesota. The league’s oldest defensive player likely will see some time at safety on a game-changing defense. To see any time at all in an NFL secondary at such an advanced age is stunning.

“You have to figure out something else that you want to do, once you get to my age,” Newman said when he re-signed in May. “I think this will be my last year. No matter what happens, this will be it for me.”

Vernon Davis, Redskins tight end — Once among the elite tight ends of the NFL, Davis remains at 34 enough of a force on the field and a positive influence off it to be a factor for Washington. He averaged 15.1 yards a reception for the Redskins a year ago, third best in his distinguished career.

Alex Smith often targets his tight end — Travis Kelce became a star catching Smith’s passes in Kansas City — and Davis knows just about everything about playing the position.

L.P. Ladouceur, Cowboys long snapper — At 37, this is his 14th year with the Cowboys; how many fans would recognize the Canadian in Big D without his jersey on?

Long snappers always are unsung, fitting the cliche of only getting noticed when they mess up. Ladouceur almost never does, and he’s now the longest-tenured Cowboy with Jason Witten retired.

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