Category Archives: NFL

Mike Glennon barely hanging on as last of ’13 draft-class QB starters

It’s possible, by the weekend, that not one quarterback from last year’s draft class will remain an NFL starter.

Five up, four down — with the sole remaining starter hanging on for dear career life.

As expected, the New York Jets on Monday benched Geno Smith. Michael Vick will start for the Jets on Sunday in Kansas City.

And Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Lovie Smith didn’t rule out replacing Mike Glennon with 35-year-old veteran Josh McCown, who has now fully recovered from a thumb injury that had sidelined him for more than a month until Sunday.

Buffalo’s EJ Manuel got benched at the end of September. He, Geno Smith and Glennon were the first three quarterbacks selected in the 2013 draft — in the first, second and third rounds, respectively.

Last year two other rookie passers, both undrafted — Jeff Tuel in Buffalo and Matt McGloin in Oakland — earned starts. Neither impressed. They’re third-stringers now.

Drafted 2013 QBs who remain in the NFL are second- or third-string bench-warmers: Matt Barkley in Philadelphia, Ryan Nassib with the New York Giants and Landry Jones in Pittsburgh (all fourth-round picks), as well as Zac Dysert in Denver and Sean Renfree in Atlanta (seventh-rounders).

Many draft experts last year warned it would be a forgettable quarterback class. But, good heavens, I don’t recall anyone predicting they’d all be toast before the end of Month 2 of Season 2.

 

MORE ON GENO:

Jets head coach Rex Ryan unsurprisingly said the decision to bench Geno Smith was “a team decision.” He added that it might be for only one week.

“I am not looking past this week,” Ryan said. “It truly is about this week, and it’s not any long-term deal or whatever. I guess right now, the long-term is this week. That’s how I am looking at it.”

Smith was asked what his reaction was to learning he was benched.

“There was none. I just went on with my day,” he said.

Sure.

Ryan was asked if he wishes Mark Sanchez were still on the Jets roster.

“That’s going to be a rare ‘no comment,’” he cracked.

 

MORE ON GLENNON:

Behind Glennon, the Bucs offence is just bad. Against Minnesota on Sunday, Glennon directed an attack that mustered 72 total yards by halftime, and he completed his only pass to top wideout Vincent Jackson in the fourth quarter.

Here’s what Lovie Smith said Monday about his QB situation:

“We stand exactly where we stood last week. We have two quarterbacks we feel good about playing. Josh was able to go through practice last week.

“If we were going to make a change I wouldn’t talk about it an awful lot. But the plan isn’t for that. I thought Mike did some good things yesterday. You’d always like to have a couple of plays back. But the first thing I thought about as far as improving our ball club wasn’t, ‘God, we’ve got to make a change at the quarterback position.’”

 

COACHES SAFE FOR NOW:

At his pre-planned mid-season news conference, Jets GM John Idzik accepted blame for his team’s 1-7 record. He praised Ryan but would not promise Ryan would keep his job through season’s end.

In Atlanta, just-as-beleaguered Falcons head coach Mike Smith said he had no concerns — “none whatsoever” — that owner Arthur Blank might fire him after Atlanta blew a 21-point lead for the first time in franchise history against Detroit.

 

CUTLER A ‘3-5’ QB:

GM Phil Emery said of his Chicago Bears and mistake-prone QB Jay Cutler, “Obviously, we’re a 3-5 team, and he’s a 3-5 quarterback right now. There’s a lot of things he’s got to get better at. There are a lot of things we’ve got to get better at.”

 

EXTRA POINTS:

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday he doesn’t expect the left hamstring injury QB Aaron Rodgers suffered Sunday night to affect him when the team next plays Nov. 9 against Chicago … Lions DT Nick Fairley will only miss about a month after spraining two right knee ligaments (MCL and PCL) against Atlanta, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports … The Rams have lost LT Jake Long (torn right ACL) and WR Brian Quick (torn rotator cuff and separated shoulder) for the year.

 

Historic performance by Big Ben tops a day in which the old-guy QBs showed how much better they truly are

If ever one day’s games contrasted the ocean-sized gulf that separates the NFL’s elite quarterbacks from all the ham-and-eggers, Sunday was it.

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and New England’s Tom Brady had historic, incredible games. Especially Big Ben. Most of the other QBs — mostly twentysomethings — were lucky to move their teams as far as field-goal range.

Seriously. Seven of 12 teams playing in the early-afternoon games on Sunday hadn’t scored a touchdown into the third quarter. Seven wound up scoring no more than one offensive touchdown.

Roethlisberger and Brady, by comparison, combined for 11 touchdown passes.

We told you the contrast was stark.

Big Ben had the best passing day of his 11-year career, and in Steelers history, by completing 40-of-49 passes for 522 yards and six touchdowns in the Steelers’ 51-34 win over Indianapolis. Only three quarterbacks in NFL history ever have thrown for more yards in a game.

New England’s Tom Brady completed 30-of-35 for 354 yards and five scores in the Patriots’ 51-23 blowout of Chicago. Right, he threw as many touchdowns as incompletions in one of the best days of his 15-year career.

Neither Brady nor Roethlisberger threw an interception. Geno Smith of the New York Jets threw three in the first 10:11 against Buffalo.

Arguably the most dramatic pass of the day was completed by Arizona’s Carson Palmer, a 13-year veteran.

Trailing Philadelphia 20-17 with 1:33 left, and facing a 3rd-and-5 from Arizona’s 25, Palmer found dynamic, diminutive rookie wideout John Brown streaking between Philly’s deep safeties and launched a rocket that hit him in stride for what turned out to be the winning score.

However you categorize Palmer, almost all of the elite passers in today’s NFL not only are wise, they’re old. After Sunday night’s game, five teams in Week 8 had scored as many as 35 points. They’re all quarterbacked by thirtysomethings: Pittsburgh (by 32-year-old Roethlisberger), New England (by 37-year-old Brady), New Orleans (by 35-year-old Drew Brees), Buffalo (by 31-year-old Kyle Orton) and Denver (by some 38-year-old named Peyton Manning).

What’s more, divvy Sunday’s QBs into two camps — thirtysomethings and twentysomethings — and the stats say it all:

– The 17 twentysomethings combined for 19 TD passes, 20 interceptions, a 60% completion percentage and an average of 1.6 TD drives produced.

– The 11 thirtysomethings combined for 32 TD passes, 5 interceptions, a 71% completion percentage and an average of 3.8 TDs produced.

In the Sixties, young people’s motto was never trust anyone over age 30. In today’s NFL, with few exceptions, never trust a quarterback under age 30.

No thanks to 1 and 7, Jets fall to 1 and 7 as Bills cruise to 43-23 win

JETS

Geno Smith and Michael Vick, 7 and 1, quarterbacks for the 1-7 Jets. (AFP)

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It’s not so much that the feeble New York Jets and their turnover-machine quarterbacks gifted the ball six times to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

It’s that they did so in their end of the field — every embarrassing time.

The Bills’ offence sure wasn’t the reason they blew out the Jets 43-23 at MetLife Stadium; they gained all but 280 yards.

Rather, it was because of Buffalo’s suffocating defence and the inexplicably bad quarterbacking of the Jets — first by Geno Smith (who wears No. 7), who might have made his last start in New York, then by veteran backup Michael Vick (who wears No. 1).

On three consecutive possessions in the first quarter, the lost second-year Smith tossed terrible interceptions. At that point he’d thrown eight passes: two caught by Jets receivers (for just five yards) and three by Bills defenders.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan had no choice but to bench Smith, which many Jets fans have been shouting for since last year.

Vick took over for the final three quarters and was practically as bad — fumbling four times (losing two), throwing one interception and luckily having another interception overturned by video replay.

It was the first time since 1991 that an NFL team had two quarterbacks turn it over three times apiece in a game.

The Bills cashed in all those short fields for 20 points.

“I was happy about that,” Bills head coach Doug Marrone told reporters afterward. “We had potential to get some other (turnovers) out there.”

In each of their previous three trips to MetLife Stadium the Bills gained considerably more yardage than they did Sunday, but lost each time. Maybe garbage yards should be discounted 50%. It’s never about how many yards you gain or allow but when you do so.

Buffalo improved to 5-3 heading into its bye week. New York plopped to 1-7.

“I’m getting sick and tired of losing,” Ryan said. “One thing we know, it can’t get a whole helluva lot worse. I mean, we’re 1-7.

“We’ve got to take care of the football better … Our execution is just awful.”

Ryan tried to not throw too much of the blame onto the shoulders of the pouty Smith.

“He just seemed off,” Ryan said. “I believe this young man has the ability … Time will tell.”

Ryan said he had “no idea” who will start at quarterback when the Jets visit Kansas City next Sunday.

“We’ll look at that later,” he said.

For his part, Vick said he’d be up for it: “I would love to start. I don’t mind that at all,” he told reporters, via NFL Network and New York Daily News.

Kyle Orton was deadly effective when he did throw. Four of his 10 completions (in 17 attempts) went for touchdowns.

In the second half the Bills went ultra-conservative offensively, obviously just waiting for the next Vick cough-up. On 18 first- or second-down plays after halftime, the Bills ran it 16 times. Of the other two plays, Orton was sacked on the first snap of the second half, then in the fourth quarter Orton found rookie phenom receiver Sammy Watkins for a 61-yard touchdown.

Watkins should have had another TD in the second quarter, but he slowed up to celebrate and was tripped up at the Jets’ 5.

Bills centre Eric Wood told ESPN’s Mike Rodak that it was “insulting” that the 4-3 Bills had been underdogs to the 1-6 Jets.

That surely won’t be the case when the teams play again, Nov. 23 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Kyle Orton passes for 105 yards on Bills’ game-winning drive to beat Vikings in a miserably played game otherwise

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – For 57 minutes, the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings jointly conducted a How To Play The Crappiest Football Game Ever clinic.

And largely succeeded.

Sunday’s game at Ralph Wilson Stadium was dreadful stuff — one of the sloppiest, shoddiest, sackingest NFL games you’ll ever see.

Eight sacks in the second half alone!

But trailing 16-10 with 3:07 left, the Bills offence dramatically came to life. Quarterback Kyle Orton masterfully drove the Bills 80 yards in 15 plays, throwing the winning two-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Sammy Watkins with one second left, as Buffalo won 17-16.

About a quarter of the 68,477 at the Ralph missed it, having already headed for the parking lots.

Buffalo improved to 4-3. With five beatable teams on the schedule over the next six weeks, this unlikely comeback victory keeps the Bills from yet another pre-November start to their playoff deathwatch.

All thanks to as clutch a mid-season, end-of-game drive as the Bills have mustered in some time.

“That whole first three-and-a-half quarters felt like we couldn’t get going, couldn’t get in sync, and it felt like the past four years,” veteran Bills tight end Scott Chandler said.

“That last drive wasn’t the past four years. We’re a different team this year. I don’t know, we’ve just been leaning on each other more and getting huge plays from guys down the stretch.”

Indeed, the Bills have eked out three of their four wins either in the final four seconds of regulation (Detroit and Minnesota), or overtime (Chicago).

Orton actually threw for 105 yards on the game-winning drive. That’s because the Bills kept moving backward — twice because of penalties (for -15 yards), and twice because of sacks (-10 yards).

The key play was a 4th-and-20 at the Buffalo 40-yard line, with 1:27 remaining. One play earlier, Orton hit Chandler in the hands on a deep out, but Chandler dropped it.

Orton didn’t hesitate to go right back to Chandler on the make-or-break fourth down, finding him in a seam for 24 yards.

“Nobody blinked,” Chandler said of the play. “We just believed we were going to get it.”

Bills running back Anthony (Boobie) Dixon, who played the entire second half after Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller went down with significant injuries, said Orton was dynamic in the huddle on the winning drive.

“He was poised. He even came in there and cracked a smile at one time and was like, ‘C’mawn, guys, we got this,’” Dixon said. “He made us feel comfortable, he kind of relaxed us. We settled in and got the job done.”

Orton kept firing away, on dropback after dropback, amid a ridiculously overwhelming Vikings pass rush. They sacked him six times on the day, including five in the second half — and two on that drive.

The play that set up the winner to Watkins was Orton’s completion to Chris Hogan for 28 yards, down to the Minnesota 2. Twenty-five seconds were left when that play began. Hogan made a fantastic grab of the aerial between two Vikings defensive backs, near but at the sideline.

The clock kept running down.

With no timeouts, Orton hurried the Bills offence to the line and spiked the ball — with five seconds left.

On the next play, Orton perfectly hit Watkins on an out pattern in the end zone, and the sure-handed rookie snared it and tapped both feet down before going out of bounds. He’d scored Buffalo’s only other touchdown in the second quarter, on a 26-yard pass from Orton.

Dan Carpenter drilled the extra point to win it.

“When we execute the plays, execute our responsibilities, we have a lot of success,” Orton said. “We have to do a better job of doing that on a more consistent basis.”

Or even just more frequently than hardly ever.

On their previous four drives of the second half, the Bills gained but 73 yards. Wretched stuff. Buffalo’s patchwork offensive line now features two overwhelmed rookie starters: left guard Cyril Richardson and right tackle Seantrel Henderson.

The Vikings pass rushers — especially Everson Griffen, who had three sacks and two QB hits — made not only both of them look silly, but the entire Bills O-line.

Beyond just that barometer, the Bills for 57 minutes played as poorly as the Vikings — turning it over three times in the first half for the second consecutive week, taking too many penalties at crucial times, missing far too many tackles and blowing pass coverages — at times making Minnesota’s passer, Teddy Bridgewater, not look like the rookie he was making his first career road start.

The Bills’ designated kickoff specialist, Jordan Gay, couldn’t even squib-kick it properly at one point in the first half.

That’s why Bills head coach Doug Marrone was miffed, not jubilant, afterward.

“To come in here to you guys and B.S. you — come on,” he said. “We’ve got to get some things done.”

And earlier than just in a game’s waning moments.

 

Bills have barely led under Orton, but have 2 wins

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – In three games with Kyle Orton as starting quarterback, the Buffalo Bills have led in the second half for exactly five seconds. Yet they’ve won two of those games.

Who says baseball boasts all the crazy stats?

In Orton’s first start for Buffalo at Detroit two weeks ago, the Bills never led until Dan Carpenter nailed a 58-yard field goal with four seconds left, for a 17-14 victory.

Last week, the New England Patriots never trailed the Bills in a 37-22 win at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

On Sunday at the Ralph, the Minnesota Vikings trailed only for a period of 3:06 in the second quarter, then led throughout the second half, until Orton engineered an 80-yard, game-winning drive that culminated with his touchdown toss to Sammy Watkins with one second left, in a 17-16 Buffalo win.

 

This time the Ralph chews up Fred and C.J.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Ralph Wilson Stadium continues to devour top-tier NFL running backs this season.

This time, the hometown team’s.

The Buffalo Bills’ top two runners — Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller — went down in the first half Sunday against Minnesota, both with apparently serious injuries.

Jackson suffered a groin injury so bad, he needed help to walk slowly and gingerly off the field. He was soon carted to the locker room.

Late in the second quarter, Jackson’s replacement — Spiller — busted loose on his first long run in weeks, only to fall hard at the sideline upon being tripped up.
Spiller was quickly carted off from that spot, with a trainer holding his left wrist against his body — a bad, bad sign. Usually means a serious shoulder or collarbone injury.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said there was “no timetable” on Jackson’s return, while Spiller will be out an “undetermined amount of time.”

Less than an hour later, ESPN reported that Spiller suffered a broken collarbone.

Those injuries thrust Anthony (Boobie) Dixon into a first-string role. After four years as a backup in San Francisco, and limited action so far with the Bills, he said afterward this is his first legit starting opportunity of his career.

“Oh, man, it’s time to step up and be great. It’s an opportunity I’ve been waiting on for a long time,” Dixon said.

“I’ve been prepared all my life for that, working on the little stuff, and working on making plays for this team.”

Dixon rushed for 51 yards against the Vikings and caught three passes for 15 yards.

In the Bills’ home opener in Week 2, Miami’s Knowshon Moreno dislocated his left elbow on his first carry. Last week he returned but tore and ACL is out for the year.

In Week 3 at the Ralph, San Diego’s Danny Woodhead suffered a severe high ankle sprain and fractured fibula and is out for the year.

A week ago New England’s Stevan Ridley tore both the ACL and MCL in his right knee and is gone for the year.

Kansas City next plays at the Ralph, Nov. 9.

Cowboys’ no-name defence quietly riding high and confounding experts

Dallas

So what if the star power is gone from the Dallas Cowboys defence? The stopping power is up — way up — from the league’s worst unit in 2013.

At 5-1, the surprising Cowboys are off to their best start in seven years, tied atop the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles heading into Sunday’s home game against the 3-3 New York Giants (4:25 p.m. EDT, CTV).

CrawfordIn a telephone interview on Tuesday afternoon, third-year defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford — from Windsor, Ont. — said the defenders in Big D realize they’re confounding all the experts who predicted they’d be downright dreadful again.

And they’re just fine with that.

Low expectations were understandable considering Dallas not only lost its two top defensive linemen in March (edge rusher DeMarcus Ware, who signed with Denver after he was cut in a cap move, and free agent Jason Hatcher who signed in Washington) but also top linebacker Sean Lee, who was lost for the season after blowing out an ACL in the spring.

“We have guys now who aren’t huge names in the NFL, so people aren’t looking at us like, ‘Oh, they have this guy and that guy,’” Crawford said. “But we’ve got guys who should be names in the NFL. Our whole defensive squad is looking great right now.”

Well, if not great, then at least adequate — trending toward good. With Tony Romo passing efficiently and running back DeMarco Murray off to a historically prolific start — a record-tying six games of 100+ yards to start the season — the Dallas D hasn’t had to be great.

If you’ve forgotten, the Cowboys ended 2013 with one of the most worst defences on NFL record. The unit surrendered 6,645 total yards, worst in the league last year and third worst in NFL history. Dallas was equal-opportunity awful: almost as bad against the run (ranking 27th) as the pass (30th).

Rod Marinelli had taken over for Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator last year, and the transition from Ryan’s 3-4 to a more traditional 4-3 employing conservative pass coverage proved a huge flop. Proficient offences shredded the Cowboys. Marinelli, though, was retained.

This year he has taken the leftover no-names, worked in the additions provided by owner/GM Jerry Jones, trashed the conservative cover-2 he learned to love under Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay and Lovie Smith in Chicago, and has produced a defence that, entering Week 7, ranks 15th in total yards per game allowed, 17th against the run, 12th against the pass, 16th in third-down efficiency, tied for eighth in points allowed per game and second in first downs allowed.

“Even before (Lee’s injury) there were people saying we weren’t going to do much on the defensive side this year,” Crawford said. “They were going off what we did last year.

“We definitely try to make it our goal to play our best, stick to the plan and good things will happen. And it’s been working out.”

Not that it did in the first half of the first game. The visiting San Francisco 49ers carved the Dallas defence in jumping out to a 28-3 halftime lead. Looked like the same old same-old.

But Colin Kaepernick and the Niners couldn’t score another point in a 28-17 win.

Dallas then defeated Tennessee 26-10. In Week 3, regression: St. Louis burst out to a 21-10 lead behind little-regarded quarterback Austin Davis in only his second career start. But Romo, Murray and the offence found a groove and Dallas roared back to win a wild one, 34-31.

Since then the Cowboys have won three games in which the defence has played progressively, impressively better: in a 38-17 Sunday night blowout of New Orleans, in a 20-17 overtime win against cross-state rival Houston and, this past Sunday, in perhaps the No. 1 statement victory of the young NFL season: 30-23 over the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks, in Seattle no less.

Just as impressive as winning at ear-blasting CenturyLink Field was the way in which Marinelli’s defence shut down the smashmouth Seattle attack. The Cowboys held Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks to only 80 yards on the ground, 126 through the air and just nine first downs.

A key player for the Cowboys has been linebacker Rolando McClain, acquired in July in a trade with Baltimore after he’d announced his retirement last year.

Few linebackers in the league this season have made as many big plays as McClain. His interception of Wilson in the final minute last Sunday sealed the victory that shocked everyone in America but America’s Team.

“We proved what we wanted to prove,” Crawford said, before correcting himself. “I mean, we haven’t proved anything yet. But it was a big win for us.”

Just two days after that win, maybe it was understandable that Crawford would add that he and his defensive teammates are having a blast this season; that personalities really are meshing.
“It’s a great vibe right now,” he said.

“We’ve got guys like Rolando, who will wake you up at 4 o’clock in the morning on Sunday and already be ready for the game. I just love to be around guys who love football like this.”

Four o’clock? Seriously?

“Yup,” Crawford said. “It’s like Christmas morning for him. He just can’t wait to play the game.”

The question asked around the NFL this week is whether the Cowboys are for real — whether they’re a legit threat to win their division, or even the NFC championship.

Wariness is justified. With this team, this century, every short stretch of success usually starts dissolving the nanosecond Jerry Jones start crowing about it.

That said, and that understood, it’s undeniable what these Cowboys have done since halftime of the opener against the Niners. In the five-and-a-half games since, they’ve outscored opponents 162-98 and tallied 18 touchdowns, and allowed only 11 — two per game.

Next up for the Cowboys are the Giants, a divisional nemesis that got walloped 27-0 in Philadelphia last Sunday night. Under head coach Tom Coughlin, and behind quarterback Eli Manning, the Giants always seem to bust out of a slump when they visit the Big D; they’re 4-1 at AT&T Stadium.

Can the Cowboys avoid the natural letdown after Sunday’s big win? Yes, Crawford said. And beyond.

“I feel like we’ll be pumped every Sunday for the rest of the season.”

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The Cowboys’ unheralded defence:

LDE: George Selvie, Jack Crawford

DT: Tyrone Crawford, Nick Hayden

DT: Henry Melton, Terrell McClain

RDE: Jeremy Mincey, Anthony Spencer

LB, strong side: Bruce Carter, Kyle Wilber

LB, middle: Rolando McClain

LB, weak side: Justin Durant, Korey Toomer

LCB: Brandon Carr

RCB: Orlando Scandrick

FS: Barry Church

SS: J.J. Wilcox

 


After move to DT, Canada’s Crawford still effective

Three games into this season, Tyrone Crawford switched positions.

Born and raised in Windsor, Ont., Crawford felt he was just beginning to flourish as a pass-rushing 4-3 defensive end in his third year with the Dallas Cowboys.

CrawfordBut Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli felt Crawford had enough power and talent — if not enough weight at 275 pounds– to still be effective inside, at defensive tackle. Crawford bought in.

Three games later, the move appears to be a success.

“At first it was going a little slow,” the 6-foot-4 Crawford said in a telephone interview from Dallas on Tuesday. “But I’m growing into it now, and I’m improving daily. I just need to continue getting coached up, and keep doing the things they ask — reading blocks and things like that. It’s working out pretty well for me.”

The Cowboys selected Crawford in the third round of the 2012 draft. He proved an ill fit in Rob Ryan’s 3-4 defence. He progressed slowly and mostly watched from the sideline.

Last year, he figured to be more impactful as an edge rusher in the switch to Marinelli’s 4-3. But early in training camp Crawford tore an Achilles and missed the 2013 season.

“I feel like I learned a lot last year,” he said. “I had a lot of time on my hands. I learned the game of football more. I talked to coaches I’ve had in the past, not just about football but about life, too. It helped me out a great amount. And then in the weight room too. As soon as I could start lifting, I did. I got stronger.”

Crawford started the first game of his career in the opener last month against San Francisco (That’s him smacking Colin Kaepernick, above, courtesy AFP). A week later at Tennessee he was credited with five quarterback hurries, and logged three more the following week at St. Louis.

Then the position switch.

As a defensive tackle for the first time, he hurried Drew Brees twice and knocked down one of his passes in a big win over New Orleans.

A week later against Houston he led all Cowboys defensive linemen with four tackles, a tackle-for-loss and a quarterback hurry.

And in last Sunday’s enormous win in Seattle, Crawford officially was credited with hurrying quarterback Russell Wilson three times, but ProFootballFocus.com — probably the most respected NFL analytics website — listed him with two hurries and one sack.

So three games into his new career, not only has the 24-year-old Crawford been effective but ProFootballFocus.com ranks him as the 28th most productive player defensive tackle in the league.

Crawford said the move looks permanent.

“They may move me outside sometimes in different packages, but that’s not because we’re moving back in another direction,” he said. “It’s just that we have a different scheme going on.”

How is a 275-pounder standing up to the pounding from all those 300+ pound interior offensive linemen, especially that of the tough-as-nails Seahawks?

“Yeah, I probably should start to put on more pounds,” Crawford said, chuckling. “I was trying to wait to see if it was going to be permanent or not. I’ll probably jump up 10 pounds, to 285 or something.”

Even so, Crawford has not been overmatched physically.

“Other teams probably are figuring because I’m smaller for a (4-3 defensive tackle) that I’ll use a little bit speed more than power to move guys,” he said. “But I’ve been pretty effective with the bull rush.”