Falcon Points

Here's why Dana White and the UFC deserve some praise

Photo by Getty Images.

It has not been the easiest couple of months for UFC President Dana White. Fighters are "retiring" over money and there is clearly a rift going on within the organization.

Those are other topics for another time.

This is about how White also faced significant criticism for putting on fights during the Rona epidemic. For all of that, the cards have gone off smoothly and his organization has provided a blue print for bringing back other sports.

They did a card on March 13 with no fans, then stepped back. Since then, there have been five fight cards and just two positive tests, both from the first event back where a fighter and his cornerman test positive and were quarantined. The event went off without a hitch beyond that. The four since then have gone smoothly. That is enough of a sample size to call what White has done a success.

For all the criticism that White was risking lives to make money, he was simply ahead of the curve. Other sports are trying to come back now, and they have an inspiration.

It might not work for everyone else, because fight camps keep contact with others low, and the actual fight involves just two people and a ref. Basketball, hockey and soccer bring a lot of people into contact and close proximity, so the risk will be higher.

But these sports should come back to give us distraction in a world that is falling apart around us. The economic impact they have will be helpful as well. White has shown them the way.

But it was not just the UFC. Horse racing has been going full bore without fans the entire time. Very few cases have been reported. The no fans policy has had zero impact on the televised product and in fact, record betting has taken place at many tracks due to online wagering. There are a lot more people to come into contact with at a racetrack, and so far, that has been a success as well. No one has really criticized the tracks. That burden fell on White.

As the other sports come back, they should thank White for being the first and absorbing all the criticism that came with it.

White was determined and had a vision, and he followed through with it. So far, it has to be called a complete success.

Now maybe the same will happen for the other sports.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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