Once a week, Mark Craig will get on and off the field quickly, then focus a spotlight on a player and a coach.
On the field with ...
Harrison Smith, Vikings safety
Question: Do you worry about “friendly fire” playing in the same secondary as fellow safety Andrew Sendejo, who’s been known to fly in and blast anything and anyone that’s between him and the ball?
Answer: “Friendly fire is actually something you have to look out for. I’ve been friendly-fired by ’Dejo a bunch. That’s his game. He’s a great player. He’s coming in 100 mph and looking to hit something. He plays violent within the rules. Or tries to. I just have to keep my head on a swivel with that guy.”
Off the field with ...
Anthony Harris, Vikings special teams leader
Question: What made you decide to open the cryotherapy business — CryoRVA — in your hometown of Richmond, Va.?
Answer: “Once I added cryotherapy to my training regimen, I was sold on it. It speeds up the recovery process. I knew I wanted to invest in that business because it’s going to keep growing. We do neck-down full-body cryotherapy and the nitrogen hoses to shoot a specific area. It drops the body temperature down and forces the body to heat itself up, so that’s how it can help stiffness, soreness, flushing out old blood and getting new blood in there. You come out feeling great, refreshed.”
Spotlight player and coach
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta
Good news for the 2016 league MVP: He won’t have to play the Eagles this week. In back-to-back games against Philly, he posted 12 and 10 points while exiting the playoffs last year and starting this season 0-1 with a 48.8 completion percentage and a 57.4 passer rating. Ryan needs to return to form as the Falcons return to Atlanta to face a 1-0 Panthers team that’s fourth in yards allowed (232.0) and third in points allowed (8.0). Ryan is 12-8 with 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions against this NFC South opponent. He has beaten the Panthers three straight times at home.
Doug Marrone, Jaguars coach
In a rematch of the AFC Championship Game, Marrone’s Jaguars play host to the Patriots. In that last meeting, Marrone chose to take a knee while leading 14-10 with 55 seconds left in the first half at New England. The Patriots came back to win. In his book “Fearless,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson ripped Marrone for taking a knee, saying that’s why the Jaguars lost. Will Marrone change his approach when he gets another crack at Brady and Belichick, albeit with far less on the line? It will be fun to watch to see if Marrone calls a more aggressive game this time.