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Ohio State has problems, but the red zone defense hasn’t been one

They take their jobs seriously.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

“Nobody in the Big Ten has been better and only one team in the nation has limited red zone touchdowns at a more successful rate than the Buckeyes”

- Austin Ward, ESPN

For everything that you could point out going wrong with the Ohio State Buckeyes on the gridiron, the red zone defense is one positive. While it’s not ideal to let teams get that close to scoring on you, it’s been fine. Eventually, the guys get it right and that’s all Luke Fickell wants to see. He told Ward, Things weren’t clicking as well [this past Saturday against Northwestern] and we kind of had to patch it together, gut it out, and that’s what I’m most proud of with these guys.”

Fickell added, “They didn’t quit, they didn’t panic, they still kept their confidence and they got it done when they needed to.” That’s promising to see in a young group that has some big games ahead of them, starting with Nebraska this weekend. In a similar fashion to last season, if the Buckeyes can figure out what needs to happen on offense, they’ll be just fine moving forward. The defense has been one constant the past two seasons. Guys like Tyquan Lewis take a lot of pride in what they do on their end, “When you get down there in the red zone, your level of play rises just a little bit more.” He and the rest of the Silver Bullets have shown as much this season.

“The NFL Network has suspended analyst Brian Baldinger for six months without pay for suggesting the Eagles put a ‘bounty’ on Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott”

- Michael McCarthy

The NFL Network understandably didn’t take comments Brian Baldinger made to a Philadelphia radio station before the Cowboys win over the Eagles this past Sunday very well. Baldinger suggested that the Eagles put a bounty on Elliott. The comments, in bad taste with or without it, immediately rang reminders of the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. Baldinger has been suspended six months without pay for his comments.

Bountygate was serious, and resulted in mass suspensions for Gregg Williams, Sean Payton, and Jonathan Vilma. Vilma’s sanctions were overturned by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The idea of suggesting a bounty is arguably one of the worst things anybody could suggest in terms of a strategy when it comes to the NFL. That holds extra true today, with players being bigger, faster, and stronger than ever, along with new research on concussions and head trauma as a result of playing football.

“The fourth pick in the 2016 draft is taking the NFL by storm.”

- Sports Illustrated

It’s that time of year. Sports Illustrated has posted their 2016 NFL Midseason All Pro Team. It should come as no surprise that former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott was a unanimous selection at running back. Elliott has helped carry the Cowboys to a 6-1 start, the best in the NFC. He leads the NFL in rushing with 799 yards, and has struck fear in opposing defenses with his bruising runs, delivering crushing blows to defenders who dare step in his way.

Another former Buckeye named to the Midseason All Pro Team was Joey Bosa. Bosa got his season started late thanks to a holdout, but he’s been more than worth the wait for the Chargers. Bosa already has four sacks, and is on pace to finish with 80 total pressures in just 12 games. When you consider all of the impressive defensive lineman that are in the NFL game today, it’s almost insane that Bosa is receiving this type of recognition. But Bosa, like Elliott has been damn impressive in his rookie season. It’s been a reminder just as to why there was so much hype around the Buckeyes last season.

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