Time Out For Sports: Teddy Bridgewater, Trevor Lawrence And Dodgers' COVID-19 Woes
It's time now for sports. The Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater took a hard hit in the team's loss against the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night. Does he have the protection he needs? Clemson University's star quarterback Trevor Lawrence is recovering from the coronavirus. And the debate continues over how the L.A. Dodgers handled the coronavirus when they won the World Series. With "All Things Considered" host Gwendolyn Glenn to talk about these topics and more is Langston Wertz Jr., the longtime sportswriter for the Charlotte Observer.
Gwendolyn Glenn : Hi, Langston.
Langston Wertz Jr. : Hi Gwen, how are you?
Glenn: I'm good. Well, let's start with play-by-play from that Teddy Bridgewater hit in the third quarter that had a lot of fans in the team worried.
Wertz: That was an ugly hit. I mean, he was stumbling, had his back turned and took a hit right to the shoulder, neck and head area. I mean, it was tough. He showed a lot of mental fortitude to come back from that for sure.
Glenn: Yeah, and last week you talked about how Bridgewater is doing. Well, good passing completion numbers. GM Marty Hurney this morning said he thinks he's doing great, moving well, but he also talked about him getting the protection he needs. What do you think?
Wertz: That's an old problem with the Panthers protecting the quarterback. We saw the same thing with Cam Newton when Cam was here, they didn't protect him well. I think teams have kind of caught on to the Panthers' scheme a little bit, so they're blitzing a lot more, putting pressure on Teddy Bridgewater to get rid of the ball faster. And I think, you know, the Panthers are definitely gonna have to address the offensive line and in the next draft. In the previous draft, they looked at defense. This time, they definitely need to look at getting an offensive lineman.
Glenn: OK, so let's move to Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who's been out with a high ankle sprain since Week 2. What's his status?
Wertz: He's listed as questionable. Before the last game, you know, I didn't really think there's a chance he was going to play. He's got another week to rest and get ready and they're gonna play Kansas City. So maybe they bring him back to that game. The Panthers definitely do need Christian McCaffrey because offensively teams are starting to catch on to what they're doing and they have to have that ultimate weapon to make people pay attention. Christian McCaffrey, the key thing is when he goes back, not just to become Christian McCaffrey left, Chris McCaffrey right, use him as a decoy sometimes.
Glenn: Yeah. And I was going to ask you, they definitely need him against Kansas City?
Wertz: Yeah, well, Kansas City is one of the best teams in the league. Patrick Mahomes is on pace to become one of the best quarterbacks ever. They're going to put up a lot of points. The Panthers defense has been very poor. So it's going to take a Herculean effort from the Panthers just to stay in the game, much less win it.
Glenn: OK, well, let's switch to football on the college level. Clemson's head football coach, Dabo Swinney, talking about his star quarterback and top Heisman Trophy contender, Trevor Lawrence, who won't be playing in the upcoming Notre Dame game because of COVID-19. They want to make sure the virus has not affected his heart as it has some people. Langston, what does his absence mean for the number one Clemson Tigers in that game?
Wertz: Well, I mean, last week they got down by 18 points to Boston College and the backup quarterback, D.J. Uiagaleilei, he's the number one quarterback coming out of high school as well. But when your backup quarterback throws for 342 yards and two touchdowns, you still have the two time ACC player of the year Travis Etienne. I think you're gonna be OK. I think Clemson is "next man up" and they're gonna be "next man up" and keep rolling. They will need Lawrence when they get into the college football playoffs. I think right now they'll be fine.
Glenn: So Langston, let's move to the Charlotte Hornets. They did have a No. 8 spot, now the No. 3 spot in terms of the draft but I understand they want to move up even farther. What are your thoughts on that?
Wertz: Yeah, the ping-pong balls are nice to the Hornets this year. They got the No. 3 draft pick for the draft coming up on Nov. 18. There's some talk now that the Hornets may want to move up to No. 1 because they like James Wiseman, the freshman out of Memphis so much. Not sure they should do that and mortgage the future for this guy. You just never know with players. And you have the No. 3 pick. You're gonna get a good player either way. And Hornets aren't in any position right now to worry about center, power forward, guard they just need the talent, they need a star. And I think they can get a star at No. 3.
Glenn: OK, well, let's move to the World Series. Charlotte had two players in the World Series which the Los Angeles Dodgers won. Charlotte-area players Corey Seager and Alex Wood were on the roster. And there was a big controversy after the win when Justin Turner, who tested positive for COVID-19. And in that last game and he still was on the field when they won.
Wertz: Yeah, that's a tough thing. I mean, your teammates are out there celebrating. You've been pulled out of the game in the sixth inning. Three innings later, they're celebrating. You want to run out, rush out with your friends. You don't think in the moment about the COVID-19. Major League Baseball maybe should have somebody alongside of him. I don't know what happened on the sidelines. It did bother me. He was taking the picture behind the Dodgers manager who overcame cancer. He was back home on Sunday and it hadn't been a week yet. He didn't fly back on a team plane. But how did he get back to L.A.? First of all, there's a lot of questions about the whole situation.
Glenn: Langston Wertz is a veteran sportswriter for the Charlotte Observer.