Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hunting with the Predator: The Only Reason You Need to Watch Chris Horton in 2009 (Plus 9 More) by Matt Wallace

If you’re reading predator48.com, you’re here for one of two reasons:
1) It’s September 13th or 14th and the Skins have just played the New York football Giants. In particular, you’ve just noticed the exceptional play of strong safety Chris Horton. You might know who he is, but not much about him, so you just googled his name and found this site. Congratulations. This is your first step in the right direction of following one of the most underrated players in the NFL. (It’s OK if you haven’t noticed him until now. Predators are usually invisible).
2) You know who Chris Horton is and what he did in the 2008 season. And you recognize his extreme work ethic and enormous potential. Again, congratulations, you know what’s up.
Either way, welcome to predator48.com
For both the newly initiated and long-time Skins fans alike, here is a brief list of why your eyes should follow #48 on every play this season:

10. 2009 is pivotal. The Skins have the building blocks of a great team, but the Tetris pieces need to fall in the right places. It’s crucial for the D to ease the pressure on the O so they can settle in and start lighting up the scoreboard. Horton will be making critical stops using his gifts of positioning and relentless closing speed. He is an essential piece of the puzzle.
9. The first day of Chris’s 2009 season started the day after last season ended. He is the definition of “professional” in his approach and preparation for the season. Chris is the professor, and the games are his classes. And Professor Horton does not go easy on his students.
8. Chris led the Skins in interceptions last year, two of them coming against top QB Drew Brees and the team from his hometown, the Nawlins Saints. Don’t hate the player…
7. Chris’s favorite films are NFL game tapes, which he watches while snacking on thoughts of crushing his opponents. In preparation for 2009, he’s been studying offenses like most guys study the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. He knows the subtleties in the play of each quarterback he will face as well as you know Marissa Miller’s curves.
6. Horton is very modest about his own play, so he would never make these comparisons himself. But #48 equaled the number of rookie-year total tackles made by the man he most looks up to: the late, great Sean Taylor. And for comparison’s sake, Horton doubled the number of total tackles by Troy Polamalu in his rookie year. And Horton did it playing 14 games instead of 16.
5. Horton’s performance-based bonus was third-highest in the league for the 2008 season, which nearly doubled his entire salary for the year. That didn’t stop him from taking $100 off Colt Brennan for being the first to intercept one of his passes this preseason.
4. When was the last seventh round draft pick (249th, fourth to last, to be exact) to be named NFL Defensive Player of the Week? In his rookie year? In the fourth week of the season?!? If I am adding this up correctly, it was… NEVER.
3. How is the leading NFC strong safety vote-getter not selected for the 2009 Pro Bowl? I’m not sure either, but you can ask Horton. His e-vite probably went to his spam folder or something. Just another example of the overlooking of #48.
2. Off the field, Chris is simply a stand-up guy and a solid role model. He’s fully engaged in the team’s humanitarian efforts, and he’s one of the leading spokesmen for Team TriFytt, a youth sports organization that focuses on character development. If I ever have sons, I’m sending them to the Chris Horton School For How to Be A Man.
1. As Horton builds upon a hugely successful first year, and people start recognizing him for the player that he is, you can say that you noticed his potential from the beginning. It’s not too late; the 2009 bandwagon is just pulling out of the station.


Anonymous said...

Horton is the man

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