Pot Roast Versus Skittles: Former Temple Star Terrance Knighton Enjoying Super Bowl Spotlight

Today’s Super Bowl Report is powered by the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society

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By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Former Temple and Denver Broncos start defensive lineman Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton taking questions at Super Bowl Media Day. Photo by Chris Murray.

Former Temple and Denver Broncos start defensive lineman Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton taking questions at Super Bowl Media Day. Photo by Chris Murray.

JERSEY CITY, N.J. –Former Temple star and Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton has spent a year in unfamiliar territory and it’s not because he was playing with a team in a new city.

In his fifth year in the pros since playing his college ball in North Philadelphia, Knighton is experiencing what it’s like to be on a winning team after playing for losing teams at the collegiate level and for the first four years of his NFL career.

Playing for a Denver Broncos team that is gearing up for their Super Bowl XLVIII matchup against the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday at MetLife Stadium, Knighton has enjoyed the season and relishing the opportunity to play for a championship.

“You dream about it, you pray on it, you hope it happens,” Knighton said. “I’m just glad take advantage of the moment.  … It was frustrating (playing for losing teams), but looking back on it now, it makes me cherish this moment even more. Adversity builds character. A lot of time people forget about the downs. But I remember it at times like this.”

This season, Knighton has made the difference in the middle of the Broncos defense. He has 31 tackles, three sacks, five tackles for a loss, seven quarterback hits and one interception. In the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, Knighton had four tackles, including two for a loss and had one sack.

“We are very excited to have him. He has been a real stalwart up front, especially inside in both the run and the pass. We are pleased in the growth and development he made this year, but I attribute it to him,” Broncos head coach John Fox.

Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said Knighton really increased the level of his play when several Denver defensive lineman went to down to injury.  He was called upon not just improve his own game, but to also to be a leader of the defense.

“Basically it became, ‘Look we really need you to step up and not just play well. We need you to step up and lead, help Sly (Sylvester Willliams) be comfortable next to you, talk with him,” Del Rio said.  “He’s really taken that and run with it. He’s really embraced the role. He’s played well and he’s done more things behind the scenes aside from playing well, in terms of leadership and helping Sly, the young D-tackle playing next to him play at a better level.”

At 6-foot-3, 335 pounds, Knighton has become popular with his Denver teammates who affectionately call him, “Pot Roast.”  He said the name came when he ordered pot roast on a six-hour flight back to Denver.

“Plane is dark and the lady is walking down the aisle saying, ‘Pot roast, pot roast’, and I’m like, ‘Right here, right here’. My teammate behind me was like, ‘You’re saying that like that’s your name. I’m going to call you ‘Pot Roast,’’ Knighton said.  “And then it stuck with me. It was either that or ‘shrimp Alfred,’ so I’m glad I got that.”

Coming into their Super Bowl matchup with Seattle, Knighton will be among the players on the defensive line expected to slow down Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, who gained 1,257 yards rushing and scored 12 touchdowns.

“I’m ready for the challenge,” Knighton said. “Our group is ready for the challenge. We have to play gap sound football and make we tackle him and knock the pile back because their offensive line does a great job of pushing the pile and finishing guys.  We want to be that force on the field.”

Oddly enough, some observers are billing this matchup as “Pot Roast versus Skittles.”

During his college days, Knighton excelled for a Temple team (2005-2008) that wasn’t very good. In his first year at Temple in 2005, Knighton played for a Temple team that went 0-11. He played under then-head coach Al Golden for three years and never had a winning season.

In three seasons as a starter with the Owls, Knighton accumulated 184 tackles (105 solo), seven sacks and 26 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and four blocked kicks. He said playing at Temple made him mentally strong despite all the losing.

“You’re playing in the heart of North Philadelphia, it’s a rough area,” Knighton said. “You gotta be tough. That’s why we take pride in being Temple-made and being Temple tough with two Fs.”

Though Knighton said he was blessed to be a third-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he still experienced losing.   When he became an unrestricted free agent, Knighton said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to finally play for a winner.

“You can’t pass up playing for a Super Bowl contender,” Knighton said. “Playing next to a (linebacker) Von Miller, Champ Bailey behind you, Wesley Woodyard, you can’t pass up on things like that. I had the opportunity to play here and I jumped on it.”

Student of the Game: Seattle’s Richard Sherman Says He’s the Best because of His Intellect

Today’s Report from Super Bowl 48 is fueled by the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society

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Sherman says He Regrets Postgame Interview with Fox

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Richard Sherman addresses reports during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Photo by Chris Murray

Richard Sherman addresses reporters during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Photo by Chris Murray

NEWARK,N.J.—Even if you thought Richard Sherman’s bombastic postgame interview with FOX’s Erin Andrews was unsportsmanlike, loud and the obnoxious immaturity of a 20-something athlete, he did give you something think about.

When he proclaimed himself the best cornerback in the NFL, you have to ask yourself is he lying?

In his three years with the Seahawks, Sherman has certainly put in the work to make that claim. The former Stanford star has 20-career interceptions including a league-leading eight in 2013. Sherman is a two-time All-Pro including the 2013 season.

Since his rookie season in 2011, Sherman’s interceptions are more than Tampa Bay’s Darelle Revis and Cleveland’s Joe Haden—the other two cornerbacks who also believe that they are the best in the game.

“We know that Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the league and we believe in that,” said Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson during Tuesday’s Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day at the Prudential Center. “In terms of what he does on a regular basis, he puts in the work. … He’s one of the best. He backs it up by his play, his actions and everything he does.”

The six-foot-three, 195-pound Sherman is more than a guy with tremendous athleticism with a penchant for talking trash. With all his physical ability to keep wide receivers from making big plays, Sherman is also a solid student of the game, a trait not often associated with African-American athletes.

“A lot of people do have that misconception that athletes don’t think the game through and that it doesn’t take a ton of intelligence to play this game because it’s such a brute sport because of guys running into each other,” said Sherman, who had a 3.99 grade-point average in the class room at Stanford. “It takes a lot of intelligence and quick thinking. You have to think on your toes, study the concepts and you have to be able to translate what you learn in the classroom onto the field and that takes a tremendous amount of talent.”

Perhaps the biggest edge that Sherman has as a cornerback was that he played in 37 games as a wide receiver and accumulated 81 receptions for 1,340 yards during his days at Stanford. He said his understanding of the receiver position has enabled him to play the cornerback position well.

“That’s given me a tremendous amount of insight just being able to understand route concepts, understand formations, tendencies and things that they like to do,” Sherman said. “It’s situational football. When receivers split outside the numbers, what they’re trying to do inside the numbers. It really helps, especially in the West Coast offense.”

Sherman also credits his coaches at Stanford-Vic Fangio, now the defensive coordinator with the 49ers and Derek Mason, former Stanford defensive coordinator and new Vanderbilt head coach for helping him to understand the Xs and Os of the game.

Denver wide receiver DeMaryius Thomas said he considers Sherman to be among the league’s best corners and is looking forward to going up against him.

“He’s a great player, I’ve watched him on the field and he’s smart,” said Thomas, who caught 92 passes for 1,340 yards and 14 touchdowns during the regular season. “He knows a lot that’s going on. I’m looking forward to a good game.”   

During the course of Super Bowl Media day interviews, Sherman was inevitably asked about the postgame interview and the things he said about San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, he admitted that it was something he wished he could take back.

 “Last week I felt like I was just attacking a man—attacking it and taking away from teammates,” Sherman said. “You never want to talk down to a man to build yourself up and things like that. So I regretted that and I regretted taking away from teammates. That’s the one thing that I wish I could do again.”

Sherman said the viscerally racist reaction to his post-NFC Championship on the social media site Twitter may have been a blessing in disguise in terms of generating a dialogue on race.

“I feel that anytime you can restart that conversation and you get people past that,” he said. “You get people on the other side of that conversation to be accepting and have no color lines.

“Understand that everybody ought to be judged for who they are as a person and what they do for the community instead of just how they look and their appearance, regardless men, women, child, whatever their religious beliefs are. People should be judged by their character and who they are and not by anything else.”

 

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NFC Championship: 49ers Receivers Will Be The Difference

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

With a healthy Michael Crabtree along with tight end Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin, 49ers might have it what it takes to win against a tough Seattle squad.  Photo by the Bleacherreport.com.

With a healthy Michael Crabtree along with tight end Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin, 49ers might have it what it takes to win against a tough Seattle squad. Photo by the Bleacherreport.com.

When you look at the raw numbers for Sunday’s NFC Championship game, everything seems to come up roses for the Seattle Seahawks chances to get to Super Bowl XLVIII.

Over the last two years, the Seahawks are 16-1 at Century Link Field including two wins over the San Francisco 49ers—their opponents in Sunday’s NFC title tilt. They have the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL overall — No. 1 in scoring defense and against the pass. On offense, they have quarterback Russell Wilson and a force at running back in Marshawn Lynch.

But I wouldn’t completely count the Niners out of this one.

I think the 49ers have a good shot of going up there and beating the Seahawks, even in that noisy cauldron of a stadium. It won’t be easy, but I think they can pull it off because of their weapons on offense and how they have been playing coming into this game.

The Niners three main receivers are better than any of Seattle’s wideouts. Since Michael Crabtree joined tight end Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin back in week 11, quarterback Colin Kaepernick has completed 64 percent of his passes.

In the Niners win over the Green Bay Packers, it was Crabtree who came up huge with eight receptions for 127 yards.  In the win over the Carolina Panthers, Boldin caught eight passes for 136 yards.  Davis had a touchdown pass that put the 49ers ahead to stay late in the first half.

“It’s Boldin and [WR Michael Crabtree] Crab both. They’re doing a great job getting open. [Quinton’s [Patton] making plays, Vernon’s making plays, there is a lot of people getting open on our team,” Kaepernick said earlier this week.

 If the 49ers can get running back Frank Gore going, it could be a long day for the Seahawks. The last time San Francisco and Seattle met on the Niners’ homefield, Gore gained 104 yards rushing on 17 carries including a big 51-yard run.

“I think the hardest part is because since he’s a smaller guy he gets real low, and he’s downhill. He runs downhill and behind his big tackles and guards,” said Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor.

 “It’s just a matter of being gap sound because as a defense if you’re not gap sound good running backs like Frank Gore will find that hole. So we just have to be gap sound on defense and learn from the mistakes that we’ve had in the past.”

Perhaps the biggest reason that I can give the 49ers a chance to win is the struggles of the Seattle offense, especially the passing game.  Over the last five games, the Seahawks have averaged just 144 yards in the passing game.

In last Sunday’s win over the New Orleans Saints, Wilson was 9-of-18 for just 103 yards. But the Seahawks say they’re not all that worried about their issues in the passing game.

“I’ve said numerous times that we’ve played some terrific teams,” said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. “They’ve done a nice job on us and we haven’t been able to take advantage of some of the opportunities that we have. But all in all, when we take care of the football and we run the ball really well and manage the game like we have been, that gives us a great chance to win.”

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks passing game has struggle over the last five weeks. Photo by USAToday.com.

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks passing game has struggle over the last five weeks. Photo by USAToday.com.

Meanwhile, Wilson said there’s nothing overly complicated other than he just has to put the ball in his receiver’s hands.

“I think the biggest thing is to  be more accurate on a couple throws I normally make,” Wilson said. “That’s what it comes down to. It’s nothing I need to search deep down for or go study a whole bunch for. It’s just put the ball on the money right where you need to be.”

When you have Lynch in your backfield, Wilson may not need to do as much in the passing game. Lynch gained 140 yards on 28 carries in the win over the Saints including a game-clinching 31-yard touchdown run.

This game will no doubt be a physical game because both defenses are capable shutting the other team down. Seattle opened the playoffs last week by keeping the explosive Saints offense off the scoreboard until late in the game despite allowing over 400 yards of total offense. The Seahawks held highly-touted Saints tight end Jimmy Graham to just one catch.

In their battles against the 49ers in Seattle, the Seahawks defense have shutdown Kaepernick and the Niners’ offense.  The last time San Francisco played at Century Link Field, the Seahawks intercepted the former Nevada star three times and sacked him three times.

“Just playing ourselves, playing discipline, sound football. If you’re playing man-to-man, you’ve got your man,” said outspoken Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. “Guys just playing discipline, sound football and not allowing them to scramble. That’s on our front four and front seven. Scheming it up, making sure he stays in the pocket.”

Meanwhile, the 49ers had two interceptions of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and sacked him five times while shutting down the Carolina running game.

 The last time San Francisco saw Lynch they held him to under 100 yards on the ground. Niners linebacker Patrick Willis said his team has to focus on shutting down the Seattle offense whether it’s Lynch on the ground or Wilson running to buy time in the passing game.

“[Lynch] is just a tough guy to bring down. There’s no question about that,” Willis said. “Russell Wilson, he’s able to scramble and able to throw the ball as well. So, we just have to play a complete game.”

It’s hard to pick against the Seahawks in their house with that defense and Lynch on offense, but I think the 49ers receivers will be the difference in this one. Look for the Niners to spring the upset, 27-23.