Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bye Week = Reflection and Lists

Jay Heater of the Contra Costa Times posted on his blog his top 5 Cal players since 1994 (when he started covering the Bears) excluding this year's team. Here are his choices:

1. Tony Gonzalez. The guy was an unbelievable tight end and he will eventually be an NFL Hall of Famer.
2. Todd Steussie. An absolute mountain. Stong, tough, funny. A good guy with great talent. A top notch NFL lineman.
3. Andre Carter. He cut the field in half. Opposing offenses didn't even try to run at him.
4. Ryan O'Callaghan. He could cave in the left side of a defense, both the lineman in front of him and the linebacker behind. He was awesome.
5. Aaron Rodgers. His accuracy was uncanny. He took Cal to new heights.

Honorable mentions.

Linebacker Jerrott Willard, quarterback Dave Barr, wide receiver Geoff McArthur. All three were phenomenal when healthy. Unfortunately, injuries limited them during their Cal careers. Willard had an incredable closing kick to seal the deal. When the game was on the line, nobody was better than Barr. McArthur got all the attention and still made the plays.

Also, Deltha O'Neal was tremendously gifted. Duane Clemons was a monster. Regan Upshaw was just about as good as Carter. Bobby Shaw was one of the most acrobatic wide receivers I have ever seen. Kyle Boller had incredible gifts and not much support his first three seasons.

I have been covering the Bears since 1997 and wanted to share my top 5, including this year's team.

1) Deltha O'Neal - First team All American, led the nation with 9 picks and return 4 of them for TD's in his senior year. O'Neal carried the team on his back. In fact, he led the team in scoring that year as a DB and returner.

2) Marshawn Lynch - If he finishes the season strong, he gets the top spot.

3) Aaron Rodgers - He would have been a lock for the top spot if he came back for his senior year. Strong arm, accurate, mobile, and poised.

4) Andre Carter - More than just stats, he was the heart and soul of the defense. Here are the stats anyways: Sr year - 59 tackles (2nd on team), 19 for loss, 13.5 sacks, 2 time All Pac 10.

5) Bobby Shaw - You could make a case for McArthur here or an offensive lineman, but Shaw was great on a terrible team. He caught everything that was thrown his way and was a natural playmaker.

Honorable Mentions: Geoff McArthur, Ryan O'Callaghan, Marvin Phillips, Kyle Boller, Desean Jackson, Sekou Sanyika (remember the "Hit Squad"), and JJ Arrington.

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