As we prepare for the new NFL league year, which officially starts March 17, the league will continue to follow the current Covid-19 protocols put into place in 2020, holding all NFL team meetings and press conferences virtually. Beat writers and major network journalists are limited to virtual interviews only, bringing the importance of social media platforms to a whole new level.
As we continue to face challenges due to the 2020 pandemic, the one thing that has become crystal clear is every sports super fan has started a sports podcast and sports page. So what (if any) impact does this have on those that spent their lives working and earning sports journalist degrees? I reached out to two sports journalists and asked them each the same question. One is from the good old print-only days, while the other is a little younger but can still remember newspapers.
Canceled combines. Delayed or canceled Pro Days. XFL and indoor football seasons gone or pushed back.
While football fans are reveling in the fact that free agency and trades for current NFL players are still happening (despite the situation our nation is in), we can’t forget about those players whose lives have been put on hold.
One of these players is Jarvis Courtney, or as most know him as, Tank. Tank is an indoor arena player who was hoping to catch the eye of the NFL this season. A man that has been fighting his whole life for his dream.
A dream he promised his grandmother he would never give up on.
For this edition of #PrideReport, I decided to try something new. Can’t say that it will happen every game, but I figured I’d try it out and see how you liked it. Hit me up and let me know what you think!
Aaron Freeman (@Falcfans) who is the host of Locked on Falcons Podcast and co-host of the @FalconsPFC podcast, was nice enough to chat with me, and let me ask him some questions about Sunday’s game against the Falcons. It is early, but at the same time, it’s a pretty good test for the Lions to see if they really are who we think they can be!
Me: What one thing do you think the Falcons have to do to get a win??
Aaron: Stick with their identity. Which is being aggressive on both sides of the ball. They have an explosive offense that thrives off pushing the ball down the field with play-action passing. And their defense is as fast and athletic as they come in the NFL, so not being afraid to get physical at the line of scrimmage with the Lions wide recievers and also mixing in a healthy dose of blitzes to help offset the absence of [linebacker] Vic Beasley are good ways to continue that aggression on defense.
Me: Yeah, good ol [Falcon’s Head Coach Dan Quinn] DQ is really turning your defense into a machine out there. The Lions defense really came around Monday night against the Giants. We know that the Falcons are a little but better, but…Do you see the Lions defense taking [quarterback] Matt Ryan off his game and maybe losing some of that identity???
Aaron: It’s possible given some of the question marks the Falcons have on the right side of their O-line. [Right tackle] Ryan Schraeder might miss the game with a concussion and the Falcons already were trying to overcome new starting [right guard] Wes Schweitzer after a rough performance in Wk 1 vs. the Bears. If Schraeder misses the game, his replacement (either right tackle Ty Sambrailo or right tackle Austin Pasztor) could cause the right side of the OL to be an area where the Lions choose to exploit with stunts and blitzes to catch the two least experienced starters on the team unaware, pressure Ryan and slow down this Falcons offense.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) will head to Soldier Field to make it a 3-0 start against the Chicago Bears (0-2), who look to overcome a horrendous outing last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Though sports media networks and sports writers have given their opinion and assessment of this matchup, it seems only right to ask fans how they feel about their team in this game.
To share their opinion on these two teams is Bear Fan extraordinaire and Editor at Windy City Gridiron, Lester Wilfong Jr., and Raymond Vega, Los Angeles Sheriff and Steelers fan.
Since the game is being hosted in Chicago, let’s start with Lester.
Q: Lester, as an Editor for WindyCityGridiron.com you try to be objective. But through the eyes and heart of a fan, did you expect the Bears to start off the season 0-2? L: As much as I thought the Bears would be an improved team over a year ago, I still had them opening up with a loss to Atlanta and a loss to the Bucs. Atlanta is the defending NFC Champ, and Tampa Bay was a 9-7 team last year with some good, young talent. I didn’t expect them to look as lost last week, however. Unfortunately for us Bears’ fans, this team may be looking at another double-digits in the loss column.