Posts Tagged ‘Antonio Gates’

Mike Tolbert congratulates Antonio Gates - Tolbert is under the radar but he could make a big difference today at WembleyI hope everyone has a magical day, and that the NFL message reaches thousands, even millions of new people thanks to both BBC and Sky tv coverage and those who are coming to see a game for the first time.

Here are a few lesser known players that I say will have some bearing on the outcome of the game (which I still have the Chargers winning 24-21)…..

Mike Tolbert (pictured left jumping on Antonio Gates) – San Diego Chargers fullback – #35 – He is a rookie that has had to step into the rater large shoes of Lorenzo Neal – who should go to the Hall of Fame as one of the greatest players in his position. Tolbert has made 10 catches so far, averaging 13.4 yards a catch, and with so much focus on LT it could be Tolbert that converts some crucial 3rd downs.

Eric Weddle – San Diego Chargers safety – #32 – He is another young player in only his second season, but surprising to some he is leading the Chargers in tackles with 59. He is able to sniff out where the ball is, and is on course for over 100 tackles in only his first full season starting. Weddle will no doubt cover every blade of Wembley grass today, so look out for him laying hits on the likes of Jeremy Shockey and Matt Campbell.

Billy Miller and Mark Campbell – New Orleans Saints tight ends – #83 and #80 – Now people all know Jeremy Shockey and for those at Wembley for the Giants win over the Dolphins they will be familiar with the ink armed warrior. It has been the likes of Miller and Campbell that have been moving the chains in Shockey’s injury absence, and helping Drew Brees to rack up those yards. Both are support acts, but both have great hands, and if the Saints go into a two TE formation they could find gaps in the Chargers secondary for crucial 10 yard gains. Miller in fact is averaging 15.1 yards a catch on his 16 catches which is over a third more than Shockey’s 9.6 on 21 catches.

Kendrick Clancy – New Orleans Saints defensive tackle – #71 – Clancy has bounced round the NFL having played for the Steelers, the Giants and the Cardinals, but he looks to have found a good home in Louisiana. He has started all 7 games this season, gaining 20 tackles and two sacks. Clancy will be one of the guys that fans new to the game will find hard to track in the pile of bodies each down, but Clancy plays hard and can do a great job getting his hands on LaDanian Tomlinson.

Lance Moore – New Orleans Saints wide receiver – #16 – Very quietly Lance Moore actually leads all Saints wide receivers in catches with 32 (for 341 yards) after 7 games. The likes of Marques will get the headlines because he is the stud and coming back from injury, and Devery Henderson has an eye popping 31 yards a catch, but it is Moore that comes up with the clutch catches time after time. With Reggie Bush out for Wembley Moore is also likey to return kicks, so look to #16 having a huge impact on the game as he will no longer be the focus of the Chargers star cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

Everyone going have fun – its gonna be like Christmas day for thousands of NFL FANS IN ENGLAND (and the rest of the UK and Europe).

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389 tackles in three NFL seasons is quite a respectable output for a linebacker, averaging almost 130 tackles a season. Problem is it wasn’t enough for the New York Jets to keep Jonathan Vilmaon their roster, and in February this year he was traded to the Wembley bound New Orleans Saints.

The Saints starting linebackers from 2007 were hardly the same class as the great Saints ‘backers of the late 1980s (the Dome Patrol of Pat Swilling, Sam Mills, Ricky Jackson and Vaughan Johnson) with Mark Simoneau, Scott Fujita and Scott Shanle all performing to their best ability, but lets be frank, not at a Pro Bowl standard.

Vilma on the other hand is already a Pro-Bowl veteran, having made the game as an alternate in 2006, following on from his outstanding 2005 season, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The big debate as far as Vilma goes is that he was playing in the wrong defensive scheme as a New York Jet, in a 3-4 defense, but has found a true calling with the Saints as the star inside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme.

Vilma’s 2007 season was a write-off after just 7 games, with  a bone defect. This means the Saints were taking somewhat of a gamble by picking up his tab.

I will be really looking forward to seeing Jonathan Vilma roam the hallowed Wembley turf for the NFL International game against the San Diego Chargers on October 26.

Vilma is no Ray Lewis, and he is certainly not the same type of defender as the Chargers 2006 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Shawne ‘Lights Out’ Merriman, as he is disciplined as a tackler, and does not spend his time trying to crush quarterbacks.

He has the opportunity with the Saints to become an instant fan favourite, and get around 110 to 120 tackles and maybe even three or four turnovers.

Lets hope Vilma’s road to recovery from his disappointing 2007 campaign runs through London, and over 80,000 fans get to see Vilma wrapping up the likes of LaDanian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates in the Red Zone of a most likely soggy Wembley Stadium.

I think Vilma will make a solid comeback and help propel the Saints to a wild-card and a record of 10-6.

How far the Saints can go if they make the playoff party is anyones guess after the Giants shocked the NFL world to lift the Lombardi Trophy in 2008 (via Wembley of course !!!) .

Will Vilma be a stud or a bust – give me your views…………