This week, Marshall Faulk said, "To be GMC Professional Grade you must know your craft inside and out. On every team, there must be an established veteran presence, that with the work that he does, it doesn’t really show up in the stat sheet. It could be a veteran DB who give that jersey pull or a nice arm lock, so the receiver can’t catch the ball. Or an offensive lineman who’s crafty enough to get the hold real tightly to where the refs won’t call it, but the back, he’s off for a big run. Now, look at your team and analyze," and then asked us the following questions: "Tell me, who’s that crafty veteran on your team? And if you’re really paying attention, what’s the signature move that he uses?"
Well, I don't know how "crafty" I would call it, but something that won't show up the stat sheet but will surely impact the game between the Browns vs. the Bills this week will be the presence of SS Donte Whitner. Whitner was born in Cleveland and attended Ohio State University for college. In 2006, he was the 8th overall pick of the draft by the Bills, a team he played with through 2010.
In late June, Whitner took it upon himself on Twitter to instigate a bit in retaliation to comments made by Bills WR Sammy Watkins (which weren't really inflammatory at all). Whitner had also tweeted, "Wonder how you Bills fans gonna feel when the team is moved? LOL. Can you say Toronto Bills?!?" That even struck a sour chord with Browns fans, and this week, Bills RB Fred Jackson said he didn't take too kindly to it:
"I think it’s him just being an idiot and trying to ruffle feathers," said Jackson. "For him to say stuff about that, about the people we love in this organization, he’ll never get my respect."
After those comments, Whitner said that he was trying to instigate, and that if people are talking about him, "mission accomplished."
"I knew that it would, you know, get to them," said Whitner. "I knew it would ruffle a feather. And if they’re over there talking about this, maybe we are in their heads."
On Friday, Browns defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil acknowledged the inevitable confrontation:
#Browns DC O'Neil: "there'll be sometime in the 1st qaurter that Donte Whitner and Fred Jackson meet each other. We'll all see what happens'
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) November 28, 2014
Will it be the extra motivation that Jackson needs to have a big day, or could there be a situation where Jackson is so focused on spotting Whitner that he misses a hole or gets stripped from behind because he loses focus? Whitner's gameplay and leadership have grown as the season has moved along. Last week, he made a good read and dropped a pick six, but he was still in position for another big play.
Do you mind what Whitner said to Bills fans this offseason? Is it the type of bulletin board material that makes you more excited, nervous, or indifferent about what could happen on Sunday?