If a man built like a Transformer is running the ball, you don’t tackle him high, especially when you weigh around 50 pounds less.
Buffalo Bills cornerback Josh Norman learned the hard way.
One-on-one with 6-foot-3, 238-pound Derrick Henry, Norman thought he could grab Henry high and pull him to the ground. Instead, Norman was sent flying like Buzz Lightyear and traveled to infinity and beyond.
You have to applaud the effort, although it wasn’t exactly how you’re taught to tackle a guy such as Henry. Henry’s vicious stiff arm has claimed many victims over the years.
The Titans sideline went wild after Norman was sent flying toward it. Henry’s stiff arm made SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays, and it was the talk of the night on social media.
The stiff arm is Henry’s best move. Just ask Earl Thomas about last season or Shilique Calhoun in college. Or this poor kid from high school.
To Norman’s credit, he stuck his head right back in there and tackled Henry on the next play. He didn’t back down, but aiming lower is where he should tackle Henry next time if he doesn’t want to be sent into another galaxy.
Baseball is weird, and Jose Altuve’s ALCS defense is a great example of why.
Altuve is regarded as one of the elite defenders at second base, and he had zero errors in the 60-game regular season for the Houston Astros. Now, he already has three errors through three ALCS games.
His latest mistake was a bad throw short-hopped to second base that ended up in left field. It came with no outs in the sixth inning of Game 3 on Tuesday night, and the Tampa Bay Rays went on to score all five of their runs (four earned) in the inning.
Altuve’s problem appears to be mental. When the infield met with the pitcher for a mound meeting, Altuve stayed back in his own world, contemplating his mistakes. His two errors in Game 2 led to two runs, and the Astros lost by two. His bad throw in Game 3 contributed to another defeat. The series might be different if he was playing at his usual defensive level.
Many of baseball’s fans won’t feel sorry for Altuve, his mistakes or for the Astros' being down 3-0 in the series. The sign-stealing scandal made them one of the league’s most disliked teams.
Altuve’s throws haven’t been close. It’s almost like he has the “yips.” The yips caused Rick Ankiel to have just 11 appearances over a six-year stretch and switch from pitcher to outfield. 1982 NL Rookie of the Year Steve Sax got the yips in 1983 and didn’t have fewer than 20 errors in a season again until 1986. It’s a baseball player’s worst nightmare.
In Game 2, Altuve nearly had another throwing error on a ball he uncharacteristically lobbed to first base. Lobbing the ball is a sign that he doesn’t trust himself to make a strong, accurate throw.
Manager Dusty Baker said that he’s sticking with Altuve at second base. If it’s mental, that might be the best option, but again, you can’t risk those errors in the ALCS.
“We’re giving him all the support that we can,” Baker said. “Nobody feels worse than Jose. He takes it to heart. We’ve all been through this before. Not in this spotlight like this.”
It was only a couple of months ago when Le’Veon Bell wasn’t happy about Jamal Adams' requesting a trade out of New York, but now he’s in a similar position. Maybe seeing Adams thrive on an undefeated Seattle team has his bell ringing.
The Jets released the three-time Pro Bowl running back after a disappointing 17 games. Bell rushed for a career-low 3.2-yard average last season, and his 3.9 average this year isn’t impressive.
Now comes the moment of truth. If Bell signs elsewhere and thrives, the Jets franchise will become an even bigger laughingstock.
The Jets’ offensive-line play hasn’t been great, and Bell was paid too much for his production. He made $28 million while playing 18 games.
A team will likely take a chance on Bell, banking on a change of scenery and better offensive-line play. Bell believes he still has plenty of juice in the tank, and if he can get back to that Pittsburgh Steelers form, some team will get a steal.