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The Drive Monday 1-14-13 -Trey Wingo talks with The Drive and Panthers WR Steve Smith about the NFL playoff games from this past weekend. They get into Russell Wilson and his rookie season, how Ray Lewis’ retirement has inspired the Ravens, and if he thinks Cam is responsible for the Zone Read offense that has taken over the league.
If anyone knows the NFL, it’s the host of ESPN’s ever-so-popular show NFL Live, and he explained why he thought this might have been the best weekend of football we’ve ever seen.
“It was the highest scoring weekend we’ve ever had in the playoffs… but it wasn’t just the points, it was the way they were scored. Three out of the four games were ridiculously good, and the one that wasn’t ridiculously good was still pretty good to begin with going into the fourth quarter. The way the Seahawks and Falcons game went back and forth, the way the Ravens and Broncos game ended, you can’t script stuff like that. Everybody always says the best weekend of the year is the divisional round of the playoffs, and I think these past two days were exhibit ‘A’ and exhibit ‘B’ as to why that’s true.”
With two rookie quarterbacks leading their teams into the Divisional round, and one still alive, there’s been a lot of talk around the NFL regarding these young players and Trey gave his thoughts as to who he thought should be Rookie of the Year among this most recent crop of quarterbacks.
“The official award for Rookie of the Year, voting is done after Week 17 of the regular season, so the postseason does not play into it all. So if you go by that, I really don’t think there’s a wrong answer… I don’t think anybody was asked to do more than Andrew Luck… So I think he had the most on his plate. I think RG III was the most electric, and I think that, perhaps, Russell Wilson was the most surprising. So if you go from where they started to where the finished, I think Russell Wilson had the most impressive season. And if I had a vote, and I don’t, I would’ve given it to Russell Wilson for that reason.”
The NFL seems to be trending toward the Read Option as a legitimate base for an offense. This really was not plausible prior to Cam Newton’s breakout season last year, therefore, is it possible that Cam and the Carolina Panthers are responsible for helping set this trend?
“I think (Cam) was the first guy that came in and proved that what you did run in college can be successful, in terms of offensive output, and this is a copy cat league… And if it works, everybody’s going to do it until they find a way to stop it… The thing that made Cam so unique, and continues to make him so unique, is the same thing that I think contributed to RG III getting hurt. Cam is a freak of nature. He’s 6’5″ lbs, 265, and can run 4.6. RG III is 6’2″, 205 lbs and can run a 4.2, but he’s going to get hammered if he does that. And you look at Colin Kaepernick, he has the same frame as RG III, but he’s taller and stronger. And those are the guys that can survive in that type of an offense.”
Finally, before saying goodbye, he touched on Baltimore’s win in Denver and the completely inspirational influence Ray Lewis has on that Ravens team.
“I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a single player who has more of an impact on his team by just being on the field… But he does so inspire his teammates. He does bring everyone along with him. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anybody in this league match that intensity for ten years, let alone 17 years. I mean, he’s been in the league two years longer than Peyton Manning. If you put it in that perspective, at the postion he plays, it’s really an amazing thing… That inspirational factor just oozes out of him, and if you’re not all in next to Ray Lewis, you should be playing chess. Because if that doesn’t do it for you, than you’ll never understand this game.”\
We thank Trey, again, for joining us on The Drive. You can find him on ESPN weekdays at 4:00pm ET for NFL Live.