It was hidden beneath the pure organizational debaclizations of the St. Louis Rams and the Detroit Lions, but a very strong candidate for Tackle of the Year occurred in St.Louis' 17-10 win last Sunday. With 13:51 left in the game and a 10-10 tie on the board, the Lions kicked off after a Matthew Stafford(notes) rushing touchdown. Rams receiver Danny Amendola(notes) took the ball at the St. Louis 5-yard line, started upfield, and ... well, as Dan and Keith used to say on the Big Show, "He got the sheep knocked out of him." (Note: Despite the lame video title, Amendola was NOT paralyzed. Sheesh.)
Yeah, that'll leave a mark -- hat tip to Yahoo's own Mike Silver for the link. The tackler, Lions rookie linebacker Zack Follett(notes), has a pretty unique way of looking at the world. I've covered the last three Scouting Combines, and of all the press conferences I've seen, Follett's was the most fun. For one thing, while he's a fan of Brian Urlacher(notes), his real hero is a bit more of a downhill force who plays much better indoors.
"Growing up, Terry Tate, No. 56, the Office Linebacker, he was my hero watching those commercials. I tried to emulate him when I was out there. ... Junior year of high school, I went to Champs Sports and they sold a Reebok Terry Tate number 56 jersey, and I bought one immediately. We watched all his YouTube clips and he's bringing the 'Pain Train' and doing the 'whoop-whoop' sound and I used to do it in high school, and I used to blow the horn. It kind of stuck with me a little bit."
Follett also hopes to get a little side business going.
"I make things out of wood. My dad taught me when I was little ... When I was a senior, I took it to the next level. I started making wood cutouts. I did one of myself, kind of experimenting. My other linebacker partner painted it. It was a life-size replica.
"I did one of (fullback) Lorenzo Neal(notes) because we used to train together (when Follett was at Cal). He's the only pro player I knew at the time. Hopefully, from an investment standpoint, I'm going to open a little wood shop wherever I move and I'll make them of teammates because I know they have a lot of money to waste."
If Follett keeps hitting like he did on the play above, he'll find a place in the NFL in the long term. As for Amendola, maybe he'll remember to put the cover on his TPS report next time!