Rodgers Continues to Impress, Alualu and Sundberg Contribute
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Category: Sports > Fall > Football
Though it would be easy to do so, we will refrain from featuring the obvious choice, Jahvid Best, for this week's edition of "Bears in the Pros". But, since the performance and the numbers were so very eye-popping, we'll spell them out just one more time for you. Best still has fantasy football owners salivating after his performance of 232 total yards and three touchdowns. But it's time we move past the beautiful performance that Best turned in on Sunday.
Instead we will take a look at perhaps the most successful Cal player in the league right now (Aaron Rodgers), the other 2010 first round pick (Tyson Alualu), and one guy that you probably never knew played at Cal (Nick Sundberg).
For a guy that was stranded in the green room of the 2005 NFL Draft, having sunk 22 selections down the draft board, Aaron Rodgers has already made a fine career for himself.
Rodgers assumed the Green Bay Packers' starting quarterback position in 2008 after the same player, you know, that Brett Favre guy, had kept the job for 16 seasons.
Once thought an impossible task, Rodgers made all of Green Bay forget about Favre, and is now revered as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. In his first two games of the 2010, Rodgers has led the Packers to two victories and has thrown four touchdowns. A Pro Bowler last year, Rodgers is the primary reason that several pundits have picked the Packers to win the Super Bowl in 2011.
If his first two games as a pro are any indication of how Tyson Alualu will fare in the pros, Mel Kiper, Jr. should be spending less time grooming his hair and more time watching tape.
A four year mainstay along Cal's defensive line, Alualu shot up draft boards after an impressive Senior Bowl performance - yet was still considered a risky pick at No. 10 by Jacksonville last April.
So far so good, though. Alualu outshined local hero Tim Tebow in the Jags' home opener, recording his first career sack and even taking Tebow down for a limited one yard gain.
He has also shown the strong character that so impressed scouts and coaches during interviews. Alualu plans on using part of his $17.5 million signing bonus to fund his father's new church back home in Hawaii.
Most readers will read this name, put the newspaper down, scratch their heads, and then ask "who?"
Nick Sundberg, for your information, was Cal's long snapper and now has assumed the same duty for the Washington Redskins.
Sundberg spent four years in Berkeley snapping balls for punts and field goals, and by the end of his tenure was revered as one of the top long snappers in the nation.
Long snappers are probably the least recognized players on the football field, but their unique set of skills are imperative to the success of any special teams unit. Most fans throw their arms up in disgust whenever there is a botched field goal or if a ball flies over the punter. Little do those fans know that not only is long snapping a very specialized duty, but that those mistakes often come from replacements.
For a Redskins' special teams unit that was plagued with bad snaps, bad punts and missed field goals in 2009, Sundberg may be exactly what coach Mike Shanahan needs to solidify what has been a shaky special teams unit.
He probably doesn't care that fans don't know who he is, but like any long snapper, the succes of Sundberg often means the success of the whole team.
But now Sundberg needs to impress. Despite an error-free second game, Sundberg botched a snap in Week One.
Gabriel Baumgaertner is the sports editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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