ESPN Sport Science shows former Arizona Wildcats TE Gronkowski could have made catch



New Orleans Saints sign Trevin Wade to active roster

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The New Orleans Saints signed cornerback Trevin Wade, formerly of the Arizona Wildcats, to the active roster Monday following the potential season-ending knee to Jabari Greer suffered Sunday against San Francisco.

Wade is a second-year NFL player who was taken in the seventh round of the 2012 draft by the Cleveland Browns, who released him in August. Wade (5’10” and 190 pounds), played in 13 games for the Browns as a rookie, with 17 tackles and one pass deflection. Wade will join Greer’s backup Corey White, No. 1 cornerback Keenan Lewis, Chris Carr and rookie Rod Sweeting.

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ESPN’s Sport Science segment on “SportsCenter” this morning examined Monday night’s game-ending play regarding whether former Arizona Wildcats tight end Rob Gronkowski could have made a play on the ball thrown by Tom Brady at the end of Carolina’s 24-20 victory over New England.

Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly clearly made contact with Gronkowski before the throw reached the end zone. A flag was thrown and later waved off because the refs determined that Gronkowski was too far removed from the ball to make a play.

The Sport Science segment indicates that Gronkowski, running at 16 miles per hour into the end zone, begins to decelerate nearly a full second before the ball arrives. Kuechly makes contact with him a third of a second later, meaning contact happened two-thirds of a second before the ball was intercepted.

Sport Science projects that untouched, Gronk would have been able to decelerate from 16 mph to 0 mph in roughly a half-second. That would have given him time to use his 8-foot-3 reach to make a play on the ball. He still would have had safety Robert Lester, who ultimately intercepted the ball, to contend with, but that should not factor into the equation.

Gronkowski was not allowed the chance because of Kuechly’s contact. The ref’s ruling that the play was “uncatchable” would become obsolete if Kuechly was not in Grokowski’s way.

A couple of former Arizona Wildcats offered their commentary about the play. Fendi Onobun, a former UA hoops player who is a tight end on Chicago’s practice squad, wrote in his blog “Fendi Onobun — Bears Legend” that he understood the refs’ non-call.

“I feel like Gronk would not have been able to make that play before the ball was intercepted,” Onobun wrote. “Weird for the ref to throw the flag then pull it, but according to the rules, I understand the call.”

Former Denver Broncos cornerback Randy Robbins, an All-Pac-10 performer for the Wildcats in the early 1980s, wrote on my Facebook wall:

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NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told the NFL Network that the referees used the right protocol on the field to make the ruling on the play.

“It’s a judgment call,” Blandino said. “There was contact, but there is contact on a lot of passing plays downfield.

“The issue isn’t the contact; the issue is the restriction. Does it occur prior to the ball being touched? At full speed, the officials made a tight judgment call and they determined that the restriction occurred just as the ball was being touched. Again, at full speed you could see why they made that call.”

Nick Folk made his first 23 field goal attempts for the Jets this season before missing from 48 yards Sunday

Nick Folk made his first 23 field goal attempts for the Jets this season before missing from 48 yards Sunday

Nick Foles has not thrown an interception for Philadelphia this season. Nick Folk did not miss a field goal for the New York Jets until Sunday.

With how they have played and garnered national attention this season, can we combine them to “Nick Folkes”?

Folk made his first 23 attempts, one short of Jay Feely’s team record for consecutive field goals, before missing from 48 yards Sunday against Buffalo. He was 19 shy of Mike Vanderjagt’s NFL record of 42 straight.

Folk, a sixth-round pick of the Cowboys in 2007, leads the NFL in field goal percentage (.958).

“The way I look at the whole thing is the only important kick is the next one,” Folk told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram before his miss Sunday. “We can talk about the past, but the only important one is the opening kickoff of the next game if that’s what it is or the first field goal or the first extra point, whatever we kick next. That’s kind of the way I’ve been approaching this season is just trying to worry about the next one, and put all the rest behind me.

“It’s good to build off that stuff. At the same time, you’ve got to keep moving forward, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”

This site will periodically run statistic updates on former Wildcats who are active in the NFL throughout the season. The stats below are through Sunday’s games.

FIELD GOAL STATISTICS

Player (Years at UA) Team 1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+
Nick Folk (2003-06) N.Y. Jets 0-0 3-3 8-8 11-12 1-1

PASSING STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team Att Comp Yds Comp% Yds/Att TD Int
Nick Foles (2009-11) Philadelphia 162 103 1554 63.6 9.6 16 0

RUSHING STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team Pos. Att Yds Yds/Att Long TD
Nick Foles (2009-11) Philadelphia QB 30 123 4.1 16 2

RECEIVING STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team Pos. Rec Yards Yds/Rec Long TD
Rob Gronkowski (2007-08) New England TE 24 343 14.3 34 2
Juron Criner (2008-11) Oakland WR 3 32 10.7 20 0

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team Pos Tackles Solo Assist Sacks FRec
Lance Briggs (1999-02) Chicago LB 64 47 174 2.0 2
Brooks Reed (2007-10) Houston LB 36 28 8 1.0 0
Earl Mitchell (2006-09) Houston NT 30 20 10 1.0 0
Robert Golden (2008-11) Pittsburgh S 10 7 3 0 1
Antoine Cason (2004-07) Arizona CB 4 4 0 0 1
Spencer Larsen (2005-07) Tampa Bay LB 2 2 0 0 0
Trevin Wade (2008-11) New Orleans CB 0 0 0 0 0

An overall list of UA players active in the NFL:

Lance Briggs, LB, Chicago Bears
Eben Britton, G, Chicago Bears
Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona Cardinals
Juron Criner, WR, Oakland Raiders
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Nick Folk, PK, New York Jets
Robert Golden, S, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Spencer Larsen, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Earl Mitchell, NT, Houston Texans
Brooks Reed, LB, Houston Texans
Trevin Wade, CB, New Orleans Saints

List of former UA players on practice squads:

Dan Buckner, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Fendi Onobun, TE, Chicago Bears
D’Aundre Reed, DE, San Francisco 49ers
Matt Scott, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.



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