My humble beginnings by Darrell Owens
My name is Darrell Owens. In my first article on WBLZ Sports, I’m sharing the humble beginnings of what my first opportunity to cover an NFL game was like.
It was 7:01 am, August 19, 2017 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was my last day of vacation and it was time to make the drive home. This ride normally takes anywhere from 5 1/2 to 7 hours. Now on this trip home, I was a little bit more determined to get home. This day would be the day I get my first opportunity to cover a professional sporting event as a bonafide sports journalist.
Fast forward six hours later.
Now it’s 1:37 pm, I’ve made it home, but there is no time to just sit around. So, I unpack my stuff, then re-pack some things for the next trip. The aforementioned trip would be to Landover, Maryland, to cover the Packers-Redskins preseason game. At 3:07 PM, the gas tank full, music blasting and now it is finally time to hit the road. After 4 1/2 hours of horrible traffic and finding my parking space, the first mission was accomplished and now it was game-time.
Washington started this game off with an three-and-out. On the next play, Washington would regain the ball on the only turnover of the game. Packers KR/WR Trevor Davis’ muffed punt would set Washington up for a 34-yard Dustin Hopkins’ field goal. Despite having the lead, Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense struggled on the first two drives, going 1-for-4 passing and only three yards rushing.
The Packers first offensive drive of the season with Aaron Rodgers behind center was a classic Packers drive — a 7 min 41 sec, 15-play drive netting 75 yards in total, capped off with what the Packers are hoping is a consistent thing all season, Rodgers to Martellus Bennett for the touchdown. The Packers were able to spread the ball around on this drive, and Rodgers managed to break loose for two scrambles good for 15 yards.
After two more non-productive drives by the Redskins offense and one by Green Bay, reserve signal caller Brett Hundley showed flashes of why people think he will one day be a starter in the NFL. Hundley went 4-for-4 on the drive, including a 38-yard pass to Jeff Janis, setting up a 5-yard TD pass to Aaron Jones, putting the Packers up 14-3.
Cousins got the Redskins rolling towards the end of the first half after a 78-yard drive, where he hit Vernon Davis for a 43-yard pass along the sideline. Running back Chris Thompson picked up a couple of receptions and the drive finished off with a Cousins-to-Crowder four-yard touchdown, putting Redskins down four 14-10 at halftime. Jamison Crowder will be a man to watch out for this coming season. Most people have him as a No. 2 wideout, but with Cousins so familiar with Crowder there is a strong chance he could end up being the No. 1.
Both teams struggled coming out of halftime. Midway through the 3rd quarter with Colt McCoy now in at QB for the Redskins, the former Longhorn lead the Redskins on 6-play, 40-yard drive with a nice dose of Samaje Perine and a Niles Paul 16-yard touchdown reception. Perine, who finished the game with eight rushing attempts and 45 yards on the ground, is another player on my watch list. Perine reminds me of a thinner Maurice Jones-Drew with his ability to move in between the tackles and his toughness. Don’t be surprised if by the end of the year Perine is the starting running back in Washington.
Going in to the 4th quarter, the Redskins had a 17-14 lead, but with 6:16 left, the Packers took the lead for good with the impressive mobility of QB Taysom Hill, who ran for 38 yards on six attempts, subsequently winning the game for the Pack with a 23-yard scamper for a touchdown — a nasty juke move by Hill on two Redskins defenders, along with a stiff arm that propelled him into the end zone highlighted the play.
Recapping this Game, the Packers still have glaring weaknesses at the running back & cornerback positions. It is my opinion that they must fix this to ensure a chance at a Super Bowl run in 2017. The Packers still have an offense that can compete with any team in the NFL. The front-7 of the Packers defense is solid and has room to grow. The Packers first-round pick Kevin King and veteran Davon House will be two players to watch in the secondary.
Now, the Redskins, on the other hand, have to find a way to continue to get better on defense. The development of rookies Ryan Anderson and Jonathan Allen will be crucial this season to see if Washington can keep pressure on opposing offenses. On the offensive side of the ball, Washington has to make sure they can get some production from the running back position, and Perine could be that guy.
So after a long day of running around from state to state and a small celebration to commemorate this life goal, I finally made it home at 3:26 am. This goes to show you if you want something in life and you have a goal or dream to fulfill, don’t let anything stop you from making it happen. The one thing I can say is this: these are humble beginnings for me and I certainly hope that there is more to come.