Former NFL defensive end and current NBC and NFL Network analyst Akbar Gbaja-Biamila dropped by The MoJo Show on Monday night to discuss a little fantasy football and a little reality football.
Up first? Fantasy football – specifically Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler, who had two very different games Sunday night.
Kaepernick couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. Following a blocked punt by the 49ers, he threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtee and looked as though he was well on his way to a big night against the Bears. Instead, he finished 21-of-34 for 248 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
“That hurt a lot of people,” Gbaja-Biamila said of the interceptions, “but you know what? It’s okay. Kaepernick, he’s coming around. What I like abut Kaepernick is he’s starting to learn to stay in the pocket. Once he’s able to dice you up in the air – of course we know what he can do on the ground – he’s going to be that complete guy. Hold onto him.”
Kaepernick carried nine times for 66 yards, but Cutler – with five carries for 25 yards –was no slouch, either. He also finished 23-of-34 for 176 yards, four touchdowns and zero turnovers.
It was a masterful performance for the Vanderbilt product.
“It really was,” Gbaja-Biamila said. “He’s going to be a matchup guy. Hopefully you’ve got better quarterbacks, but he’s a matchup guy that you can play. If you don’t like the matchup of your elite quarterback, you can play (Cutler).”
All right, all right. Enough fantasy. Back to reality.
The NFL gave us several surprising upsets this past weekend, including the Cleveland Browns’ 26-24 win over the New Orleans Saints.
“That one was a shocker to me,” Gbaja-Biamila said. “I couldn’t get my head around how a team (that has) so much power with the Saints could go down to the Cleveland Browns. But you talk about parity in the NFL. Everybody just kind of washed their hands because (Brian) Hoyer is your quarterback. What are they going to do without Josh Gordon (and) Norv Turner? What is the (offensive) identity going to be? I think they showed there’s talent on that team.”
Yes, and it’ll be interesting to see how the AFC North shakes out. The Bengals (2-0) are atop the division, as the Browns, Steelers and Ravens are all tied for second at 1-1.
“I didn’t have (the Browns) wining more than two or three games,” Gbaja-Biamila said, “and the New Orleans Saints wasn’t one of them, that’s for sure.”
In other AFC upset news, the San Diego Chargers stunned the Seattle Seahawks, 30-21. It wasn’t just that the Chargers beat the defending Super Bowl champions that was so impressive; it was the way in which they went about it.
“I thought it was impressive,” Gbaja-Biamila said. “Here’s what I love more than anything: I loved the fact that the Chargers didn’t shy away. To see them go out there and not be afraid to throw the ball at Richard Sherman, to see the way Antonio Gates worked the nonsense out of Kam Chancellor – wasn’t it brutal? That was cool to me.
“I don’t know that we can just write off that the Denver Broncos are going to just run away with the AFC West,” Gbaja-Biamila continued. “The San Diego Chargers are going to put up a legitimate fight.”