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 ...
Laquon Treadwell, Vikings wide receiver
Question: Blocking isn’t something that shows up on the stat sheet. And receivers aren’t picked in the first round for their blocking ability. But you seem to have embraced the blocking assignments that come with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo’s scheme. What goes into the kind of block you had to help Dalvin Cook break free for his 70-yard run last week?
Answer: “Just doing my job. You don’t have to do much when a guy like Dalvin is running the ball. On that [70-yard run], I was on my guy, in front of him, and it happened so fast. It surprised me. I looked over and Dalvin was out the gate. It’s good to have him back. When you have to block, you just do your job.”
OFF THE FIELD WITH ...
Brett Jones, Vikings backup center
Question: Well, not too many NFL players head NORTH from Minnesota during the bye week. But you’re going to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, your hometown, and will go to Sunday’s playoff game between Winnipeg and Saskatchewan. Having spent two seasons in the CFL with Calgary, what is the one CFL rule you would like to see the NFL adopt?
Answer: “Well, I think the ‘waggle’ would be pretty cool. That’s when receivers can move toward the line of scrimmage pre-snap without a penalty. That would be fun to see. There’d be some real high-scoring games in the NFL with the kind of talent and speed at receiver. Take that kind of talent and that kind of speed and let them get a head of steam going at the defense, that would be tough to defend.”
SPOTLIGHT PLAYER OF THE WEEK ...
Melvin Gordon, Chargers running back
Gordon has 245 yards and four touchdowns on just 34 carries (7.2 yards per carry) in the past two games. And now the Chargers head to Oakland as 10½-point favorites. The Raiders, of course, are an utter mess. Their sunken ship has many holes but none bigger than a run defense allowing a league-worst 144.5 yards per game. They did, however, hold Gordon to 58 yards on 19 carries in Week 5. Four of the Chargers’ six wins have come against the Bills, 49ers, Browns and Raiders.
SPOTLIGHT COACH OF THE WEEK
Paul Pasqualoni, Lions, defensive coordinator
He’s a 46-year veteran of the college and NFL coaching ranks. He has had five NFL stints with four different teams going back to his first job as Cowboys tight ends coach in 2005. He’s never stayed in one NFL job longer than three years. Now in his first year as Matt Patricia’s defensive coordinator, he and Patricia have struggled while installing a new system. The Lions can’t stop the run and sometimes look hopeless trying (see Dalvin Cook’s 70-yard run). They rank 30th in yards allowed per game (142.5) and 31st in yards allowed per carry (5.14). Now comes a game at Chicago against the Bears’ seventh-ranked running attack (128.4).