Jerry Hughes’ emotions boil over, but that earned my respect.
While most fans are searching for answers and trying to find a scapegoat I want to avoid all of that negativity. Yes, as fans we are all disappointed with yet another season out of the playoffs. As frustrated as we are, imagine how the players feel.. During the week most fans will check the Bills website, read other articles on our team etc. But not many hours are really invested in getting ready for Sunday, until Sunday.
It’s a different story for the players. EVERYTHING they do on a daily basis are preparations for the game Sunday. How long they sleep, what time they wake up, what they eat in the morning, the morning workout, studying the game-plan, practice, ice baths, lunch, media segments, studying, eating, studying and sleep all over again. Things that blue collar people like us do without much thought, they have to alter their behavior based on the game of football. They sacrifice a lot to prepare for the games on Sunday, so you get my point.
So when our team comes out and gets totally out played in that game of course we are livid. We want to find someone to blame, we want to find out the reasons for our team getting trounced. The way the team came out in that first half, I personally felt that the team had mailed it in. But then I saw a couple players’ hustle and emotion and realized that I was wrong. One of those guys was Jerry Hughes.
I am totally impressed with Hughes the second half of the season. I thought he should have been benched for his antics early in the year. The personal foul penalties, complaining to the media about the scheme etc. But since then he only has had a couple off-side penalties, but I can live with those. He has done everything the coaches have asked of him and done it well. Dropping into coverage, rushing the passer, whatever…
His hustle in todays game stood out more than anyone else. He didn’t pack it in and you could tell. Whereever he lined up he gave 110% on the play. That kind of play led to 7 total tackles and 1 sack. The effort was there and when you play like that your numbers will also shine through. Since the week 8 bye, Hughes has had 4 (5 total) sacks (including today), 25 (40 total) QB hits not including today, 25 (37 total) solo tackles including today, 18 stops (28 total) not including today according to PFF.
So when I heard he flipped a table I wasn’t surprised, I was impressed. As fans we were frustrated, so as a guy who has prepared all week showed his frustration. He didn’t do it on the field to hurt his team, he did it near the players’ benches. Where the frustration should be. If the City of Buffalo is feeling the frustration, then the players should feel it as well. I am not saying they don’t, I am just pointing out moments when players start taking control of the locker room. Start taking responsibility for their play or lack there of.
Last week it was Richie, Hughes and Lawson. Richie manning up for getting owned by Cox. Jerry taking responsibility for his penalties. Then Lawson saying that the players have had trouble adjusting to a new scheme. I find that these small gestures will go a long way in the locker room, but maybe not to most fans.
The emotion and hustle that Jerry Hughes showed me today, really solidified my respect for him. As far as I’m concerned, he has earned his money this season. His sack numbers may not show it, but the other stats and the eye test does….