There are 31 Bears in The National Football League. Not only does Cal produce a prodigious number of professionals, they’re staring to produce Pro Bowl caliber players at a much higher rate. From time to time (hopefully weekly) I’ll rank our top Cal alumni and provide updates on their professional endeavors.
1. Marshawn Lynch: Statistically, Rodgers should be ranked first. From a yards per carry standpoint, Marshawn has struggled this season. However, the Bills are 3-0 and Marshawn has scored 4 touchdowns already. Last week Beast Mode ran for 83 yards and 2 scores while catching 4 passes for 31 yards. The run blocking hasn’t been there thus far, but Buffalo’s new offensive coordinator Turk Schonert has started to take advantage of Marshawn’s pass catching ability. In the end, although the asendency of Trent Edwards has likely taken the Bills to the proverbial “next step,” it’s Marshawn who changed the team’s attitude.
2. Aaron Rodgers: The former Brett Favre backup is attempting to follow the Great Favre and is doing so in Favreian fashion. Though, even Brett favre would tell you that there’s no reason to get all googly eyed when there are still 13 games left in the regular season. Still, Rodgers has a 102.9 quarterback rating. completed 64.6% of his passes and has yet to throw an interception. A-Rod had a tough game against probably the best team in football last week, the Cowboys, but he was still efficient and mistake free.
3. Nnamdi Asomugha: Through 3 games he has 10 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 3 pass deflections and rarely challenged by opposing quarterbacks. Nnamdi did an excellent job limiting Buffalo’s receivers to underneath routes and was in shutdown mode for the first three quarters. At 6′ 2″ and 210 Lbs. Nnamdi is one of the most physical corners in the NFL.
4. Desean Jackson: First rookie wide receiver sincewell before the merger to start his career with 2 straight 100 yard games. Desean has also racked up the return yardage with a 60 yard punt rerutn against the rams in the season opener. Unfortunately, much of Desean’s early success has been overshadowed by his bonhead play against the Cowboys, erasing what would have been his first NFL touchdown. Nevertheless, DJax is 11th in receptions and 7th in yards after 3 games.
5. Langston Walker: A Raider castoff, Walker has found a home as the starting RT for the Bills. Walker has been especially dominant in pass protection. Most of the rush Edwards faced last week was due to poor protection from Jason Peters and Derrick Dockery. Walker on the other hand has been pretty consistent and has routinely locked opposing LE’s down.
Honorable Mention: Brendan Mebane, Andre Carter, Scott Fujita, and Tony Gonzalez, in no particular order.